A year in books

In 2009 I read 33 books (including 9 over 500 pages) and beat 2008's total by five, which really surprised me as I also spent alot more time writing and taking pictures. It just confirmed that I continue to be a bookworm and probably always will be!

So below is what I read, a good mix of genres and none that I didn't enjoy.

Marriage most scandalous - Johanna Lyndsey
She's all that (Spa Girls 1) - Kristin Billerbeck
A girl's bestfriend (Spa Girls 2) - Kristin Billerbeck
The Irish devil - Diane Whiteside
Cool, calm & adjusted (Spa Girls 3) - Kristin Billerbeck
Undead and unwed (Queen Betsy 1)- Janice Mary Davidson
A bend in the road - Nicholas Sparks
Two for the money (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich
Three to get ready (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich
Plum Lovin' (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich
Four to Score (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich
Lots of Love - Fiona Walker
Kiss Chase - Fiona Walker
This Lullaby - Sarah Dressner
Austenland - Shannon Hale
The Good Sister - Diana Diamond
A Week in Winter - Marcia Willett
Echoes of the Dance - Marcia Willett
Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
Shelter Me - Juliette Fay
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
In Like Flynn - Dorien Kelly
The French Connection - Tracy Kelleher
The Wednesday Sisters -Meg Waite Clayton
Certain Girls - Jennifer Weiner
Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
Keeping Up Appearances - Jennifer McKinley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer
The Tea Rose - Jennifer Donnelly

Now comes the hard part, my thoughts on what I'd recommend, enjoyed the most and least. There are some very good books amongst this list and so after a real struggle to decide, here's what I thought.

The books I enjoyed the least, but REALLY tried hard to get into, were the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. I gave them a good go, reading the first four, but despite their generally huge popularity they just aren't for me I guess!

I finally late in the year gave way to pressure and read all the Twilight books and I enjoyed them all, even the final one! They're not the greatest literary works, but they're different, pure escapism and I can see why they have been so popular. But I won't be buying them, as I know I won't ever want to re-read them.

I had my annual re-read of Pride & Prejudice and as ever, enjoyed every moment of it. I also convinced 2 of my fellow bookclub members to read it and they enjoyed it too, although they had to really concentrate due to the old english in it, something that has never occurred to me. Notice how I just dropped in there 'fellow bookclub members', more on that little 2009 secret later this week ;-)

I really enjoyed the new Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol, the Hubster also flew through it at breakneck speed for him and praised it. I know there are alot of Dan 'knockers' out there, but he really does write an excellent mystery that romps along at a killer pace. So what if he's not always accurate in the details, it's fiction isn't it and I for one am a fan, so it's one I recommend highly.

If you love a book that really connects with you and brings emotions to the surface, then I highly recommend Shelter Me by Juliette Fay. It was our first bookclub choice, we all shed tears over it and loved it. It tells the story of a newly widowed young mother and her struggle to move on with her life.

But my top two reads of 2009 go to very different books, but both exceptional in their own ways.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon, is a book I had heard alot about and never got around to reading. Well it was wonderful, written from the point of view of an autistic teenage boy, raw with emotion at times and very insightful. With me it especially connected as I have regular contact with autism, and I felt this book gave me a better understanding of how an autistic child thinks.

But my favourite read of the year, is the one I just finished, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. It is a sweeping novel, set against the backdrop of 1880's England in a poverty stricken and terrified London, thanks in part to Jack the Ripper. It follows one girls struggle to overcome all the horrors of her life and succeed against huge odds. It then moves to turn of the century New York, giving a real feeling of the potential and excitement of the time as the city bursts into life. I only wish I could write such a great novel myself, maybe one day!

I wish you all happy reading in 2010.


Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Sarah, I read the Curious Incident, and it made me understand a little bit about how autistic people feel. That they receive constant input was an eye opener. I'll try to read Tea Rose soon.~~Dee

Linda J. said...

The Tea Rose is an exceptional read, in my opinion!

LadyFi said...

Thanks for the recommendations! If you like Haddon's first book, then I definitely recommend his second book too.

I can also recommend Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts if you like long sweeping novels...

Brit Gal Sarah said...

LadyFi, thank you I am off to order the second Mark Haddon book that I never realised existed!

Anonymous said...

Great reviews. Thanks for sharing :)

I always seem to have too many books on the go at once. Maybe I should resolve to finish them all before starting another! :S

Daffodilly said...

Wow that is a lot of books!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great list.

We overlapped a little, I read one and half of the Twilight Series (still working on it), and the new Dan Brown novel, I had read the Haddon novel some time ago.

Janet Evanovich is not for me either.

imac said...

Thumbs up for Dan Brown.lol

Bella Foxx said...

Hi, I really enjoyed the Tea Rose and the Winter Rose (2nd in the series).

Daryl said...

Happy reading to you too .. nice list, not a lot of my cuppa but hey thats what makes the world more interesting ..

Kay said...

I thought The Curious Incident of the Night Time Dog was great, too. It was a special ed teacher who gave it to me so I could relate even more to what the book was about.

I just finished reading The Lost Symbol. I found the story line to be rather formula driven but I enjoyed it anyway. I like the basic premise of it because I agree with it. I'm not sure why I took longer to finish it than his other books. It did make me want to take a trip to D.C. again.