Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New books and year end totals

Yikes!  How did it get to be Jan 10?  I didn't get to wish you, my dearest Gentle Readers, a Happy New Year!  

I do know that one reason I wasn't posting was that I was trying to pick my book of the year.  I am finding that I don't have just one.....and the other reason is I am distracted by my upcoming surgery next Monday. In trying not to worry think about it, I end up not being able to do much else in the way of focusing my attention!

2011 book totals
I read many very good books last year. I read 97 books in all, my best year ever for reading. And I was so close to my goal of 100, that it's now my annual goal until I get there!  I'm going to try for 10 books a month, to see if this will help me get to my goal this year.

I also had the goal of reading 50 mystery books last year.  I didn't make it - I read 38 only.  I was  a bit mystified at what  I had read instead, until I realized that I had read an astonishing 15 horror books last year!  Here is the breakdown:
mystery: 38
horror: 15
graphic novels: 7
non-fiction: 6
poetry: 4
fiction: 3
classics: 1 *hangs head in shame at this total!*
children's/YA: 2/4

Looking at these totals, the biggest jump is horror.  I can only explain this by saying it was one of the most difficult years of my life so far, and it looks like at the worst of it, I turned to my old standby, horror.  Possibly because the terror of the characters and thrilling of the horror makes my life not seem quite so bad?  Or, possibly I found some new horror that was very good, after a long stretch of the awful slasher books in the genre.  There is good horror, and ghost stories, and I'm happy to be reading them again.  I do still want to read more of everything, though.  Especially mystery and fantasy.  So I'm going to try again for 50 mysteries this year, and 25 fantasy novels. Classics:  at a minimum, 5. I'd prefer 10, but considering the year ahead of me, which I have to take in small leaps ahead: surgery next week, more surgery possibly late in the year, and at some point a final decision on what to do about the state of my separation from husband.   I can see a few horror books creeping in again!

So that was the year that was, 2011.  I don't know about you, but I am so happy to see the end of 2011, that I think if I could have touched the year, I would have kicked it into the back of beyond. Goodbye, 2011! *wipes hands off*

Another round of binge buying

Yes, you read that right!  I went to Nicholas Hoare (I can't link  to them, their site is down tonight) on Saturday, looking for a hard to find first book in a new mystery series set in 1950's Scotland:  A Small Death in the Great Glen by A.D. Scott. They had it!  I was so delighted.  I also found in my hands a copy of:
Mind's Eye - Hakan Nesser (Swedish mystery series, book one)
How to Live - A Life of Montaigne in One Questions and Many attempts to answer - Sarah Blakely (biography of Montaigne, using his twenty questions in his essays to attempt to show his life, and the influences on him, and how Montaigne influenced so many others.  I'm making this sound boring, when it's a fascinating book on how ideas, and thoughts, in essay form, came to influence Western thinking all the way down to the form of personal essays we use on blogs, here.)
The Country Diaries - edited by Alan Taylor - (journal entries from the past several hundred years, in the British countryside, for almost every day of the year.  Fascinating)
(I'm sorry, but Amazon isn't letting me in right now.  I can't query any titles with them.)
Lots to dip into with these books, while I recover next week.

Gift Cards are the next best thing to books
I also used two gift cards to pick up books that I badly wanted, so now I feel able to cope with the surgery next week.  I'm not sure if I will read all of these while I'm home next week, though these books do make me feel like I won't mind being housebound for a few days.   I have the week to recover, so unless the pain is very bad, I plan on reading every day!
Among Others - Jo Walton (yes! finally! I'm so excited....)
The House at Sea End - Elly Griffiths - ditto.  (Not sure which one I will read first.  I think I will read The House at Sea End this weekend, though I do have The Snow Leopard (Harry Hole!!!!) also vying for my attention.)
Snow Angels - James Thompson (set in Finland, getting rave reviews)
The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz (special mention to raidergirl3, who mentioned them to me on a post somewhere that I can't find now.  The character is like Bridget Jones Diary as a detective, only a tiny bit more together.  It looks hilarious.  I will need to laugh next week to help me in my healing, so I look forward to this one! )
A Florentine Death - Michele Giuttari (one of the things I want to do is read more mysteries set - and translated from - other countries.  This is another new series, set in Italy, and getting very good reviews.)
Bellfield Hall - Anna Dean (described as if Jane Austen wrote mysteries....this would be it. Set in 1805 England,  spinster Dido Kent must solve a mystery or two....billed as a regency mystery, it looks delightful and fun. )

So now that we are in to week 2 of 2012, how are you finding it, Gentle Reader?  Are you happy that 2011 is over with now?  have you found anything good to read yet in this new year?

I am also hoping to catch up on some of my reviews from last year, so that I can name my best of the year books.  Before we are too far gone into 2012....Happy belated New year, everyone.


Anonymous said...

Wishing you all the best in your surgery, Susan. I know 2011 was not kind to you. Yay for all the new books and I'll just mention that THE HOUSE AT SEA'S END was very good. I love that series. Take care and hope all goes well and you can feel much better soon!

Memory said...

I'm so glad you got AMONG OTHERS! It's a wonderful book, especially for a hardcore bibliophile like you. :)

I wish you the best of luck with your surgery, and with everything else coming up for you this year. *hugs*

Kailana said...

I really hope 2012 is a good year for you, Susan! You deserve it even though there are a few difficult things to tackle.

Enjoy your new books!

Cath said...

Wishing you all the best with your surgery, Susan. Let us know how you are.

*Fabulous* list of books you have lined up. I can only echo what Kay said about The House at Sea's End. I have Among Others on my list of books to get too.

Take care.

raidergirl3 said...

Good luck with your surgery. Glad to see you are making the most of your recovery time with lots of books lined up. Great haul you've had there.

I'm looking forward to hearing what your top book will be!

Susan said...

Kay: Thank you so much for all your lovely thoughts.

Between you and Cath below, I am so anxious to read this book! We are expecting snow on Friday, and I keep hoping it will be so much that I can't get to work, and so I can start reading it earlier! lol

Memory: I like that, 'hardcore bibliophile'. That's quite a compliment! I love it! lol I think it describes me perfectly :-)

*hugs* back to you, thank you. I'll let everyone know how it goes, after Monday. Maybe I can get caught up on my book reviews!

Kailana: Thanks so much for the thoughts, Kelly. It would be lovely to have a better year than last year. I'm hoping my knee will return to almost as good as new, which would be fantastic.

Are you enjoying your new books you vlogged about at Christmas?

Cath: thank you so much! I will let you all know when I get home on Monday (if my knee will let me get on), or failing that, as soon as I can.

I know, it's a list of new books to drool over, isn't it? I feel like I'm preparing for a long hibernation period. I love the selection I have too, between my box and what I've just picked up. Like I said to Kay above, between you and her, and how much you loved The House at Sea's End, it is going to be read very shortly! I love the title, too. Wouldn't it be fun to live in a house with that name? Almost as nice as living in Rose Cottage, say. :-)

raidergirl3: Thank you so much! it is a lovely haul, isn't it? And it does help me face going in for the surgery, knowing all those books are waiting for me.

I was thinking about my top books today, too :-)

Onesimus said...

Best wishes for the surgery.
I had time in hospital several years ago and had the very rare opportunity to do nothing but read for a few days. That turned a potentially unpleasant situation into something I enjoyed.

Susan said...

Onesimus: thank you for your kind words. It's not nice to go through surgery, although we can hope things are better after. I'm all for books pulling me through! I'm glad it worked for you. Thank you for sharing!

Care said...

Happy New Year! I can't recall the last horror book I've read. I really don't think you can count Frankenstein.

Susan said...

Care: I know, I was rather shocked that I had read that many! Frankenstein is horror and sci fi, it counts as both for me!