Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Great Booking Year: Kari's 2009

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Ah, 2009. It's been the year of Kari and books, so it seems. First off, I started this blog—a project during my phase of unemployment. I'm happy to say that shortly after, I did find gainful employment and at a publishing company, no less. And on top of that, I broke my own reading record for the year...and by a looooong shot! I've kept track of every book I've read since about the 8th grade (you know, just one of those things), and I'd guess that my average books read per year since 2000 has been about 30. Riding the subway everyday to and from work gives me a lot more time to keep my nose in a book without other distractions, so my goal for this year was 50. And I broke that record and read 60. I sort of have a feeling that will be a hard number to reach again because, well, I like to do other things too, but yay for a new personal best! So a break down reads like:

60 Books
12 Nonfiction (of which 8 were memoirs)
5 YA (only?)
2 Children's (the result of a babysitting weekend)

I attempted AND completed three challenges, one of which I hosted and all of which I enjoyed [this means it's time to find new ones]. I'll post about those later.

Now with what I was really getting to...my favorite reads of this year! I rarely read books I don't think I would enjoy (who would??), so I was pleased with the majority of what I read this year. But these few really stuck out (click for original review):

5. Ferris Beach by Jill McCorkle — You may have already gathered that I love Jill McCorkle, and this is my favorite kind of novel. You follow this character as she grows and changes, and the author does such a good job of setting the mood of the environment. It makes you want to know more once you've finished the last page.

4. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips — The characters are so rich that I just want to spend an ordinary day with them to understand their way of life. Issues of society are subtly woven in the plot, so you get a full understanding of what the Moores experience day in and day out.

3. Eli the Good by Silas House — The style is similar to that of Ferris Beach (though I read this one first), but we're hearing from a 10-year-old boy. His observations and analysis of the world around him really reminded me of what it's like to be a kid when there's a lot more going on in your head than people may think. I also think I have a thing for books set in the 1970s South.

2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley — What an amusing narrator! Flavia has the spunk that reminds me of Harriet the Spy (which is still one of my favorite movies ever). The mystery is light and fun, but it's the sophistication of Flavia that makes this story worthwhile.

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett — Who doesn't vote this one of the best of the year? It was just a recommendation to me from a library friend, and I had no idea it'd be such a hit. Pretty much anything Southern hits home for me just because I feel like I have a connection to it. I loved the variety of voices and the multiple perspectives. It's about the gray areas that don't show up in history books and the lives beyond the historical facts. One of my favorite things was getting my mom to read this and then talk with her about her experiences in the 1950s/60s South.

I had the idea for a book blog just to get my group of friends together to discuss the books we all read, since something like a book club would be out of the question with our busy schedules that are so different. I'm so excited that it's opened up to a much larger audience that can get in on the discussion, too, and has led to such fun opportunities like author interviews, contests, and challenges. 

Thank you so much for visiting and reading and commenting and even just lurking (though I do love to hear your voices and opinions! You can start by telling me your favorite reads of the year!). 

Happy Reading and Happy 2010!

5 comments:

Salvatore said...

Nice list, although I haven't read one of those! And congrats on breaking all your records. I must admit that I only tracked my reading habits once, in 2007, and due to how many books I actually read I stopped doing that.

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

I enjoyed The Help too. I have heard so many great things about Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Well and the Mine. I'm keeping an eye out for them in 2010.

Happy New Year!

softdrink said...

I didn't know you worked at a publishing company...that's so cool!

It's nice to see The Well and the Mine on your list. Did you read Mudbound this year? Along with The Help, those are my top three "southern" novels.

Erica said...

you are going to LOVE a book that we have coming out from harper perennial this april called the queen of palmyra. takes place in the 60s in mississippi, from the point of view of a young girl caught between her mother and father and between the various people of different races in her town. very the help-esque.

novelwhore said...

It's so ironic that you also started your blog during a bout of unemployment and now work in publishing! Yes, definitely reread THE BEST OF EVERYTHING - so much has changed but you'll still recognize many aspects of the business.

THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE has been on my TBR list for awhile, and after your comparison to the beloved Harriet the Spy from childhood, I'm moving the title to the top.

Congratulations on having kept track of all your reading since 8th grade! I only started four years ago, and I wish I had a list of all that I'm missing...