Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Summing Up

A Personal Summing Up - never mind the affairs of the world, those will continue to happen whether you and I are here or not. (Though I could have done without the Tea Party nonsense and the loss of those seats in the November election.) Any year that I remain cancer free is a pretty good year. So 2010 was a pretty good year for me.

Most Important News this year:
The best part of this year was the birth, in May, of my grandchild - after that momentous event, everything else is duck soup and gravy. This baby girl is the delight of our family. A happy child who inspires joy every time she smiles. I can hardly explain the pleasure I feel just watching my own daughter finally understand what it is to be a mother - to watch her interact with her daughter is a feeling so elemental that it defies anything I've ever felt before. When my daughter told me, "I never knew I could love like this." My heart almost burst.

What happened in July?:
The second most important thing to happen this year was me getting the bright idea to have a blog. Yes, it was a very bright idea. I am loving this whole thing. I thank my daughter for the push it took to get me over the edge. She established her blog first and I thought, well, I need to do that too. Why not? She helped me, of course, but I designed it and keep it going. Six months later, here I am.

Books and Reading:
This has also been the year of books for me. Though my reading speed is slowing down as I get older, I still did a pretty good job this year plowing through a large amount of books. One reason why: I did no real work this year. Except for a piece I did for my granddaughter's room, I just stopped painting. Couldn't afford to do it, but did it anyway. Well, in truth, I had little choice:
I've been damn tired it seems, for ages. Been dragging around with no interest in even picking up a pencil. (I'll talk more about my elusive work later on in 2011. Hopefully I'll have something positive to talk about then.) That's all I'm going to say about it now.

Reading has been the mainstay of my life, it seems, forever. But I've never been more grateful for the ability to lose myself in a book than I was this year. And there were some great books in 2010, no question. Here's the link to my List naming all the books I finished this year. (My list of 10 Best Books is linked here.) Of course, I picked up more books than are on this list but since I never finish a book I don't like, what's left is choice. Everything I finished was to my liking - some more than others, of course, but I recommend any title on this list. Next year I'm going to indicate the books I've reviewed on the blog as I go along. I read a grand total of 121 books this year. Not bad, but not great. Maybe I can do better, maybe not. We'll see how it goes. (I didn't count most of the Agatha Christie re-reads.)

Reading Goals for 2011:
I'd like to read at least as many books as I read in 2010. I've joined two Challenges for the upcoming year: the Victorian Literature Reading Challenge and the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. I have a feeling the Victorian one will slow me down a bit since these will be books and authors I've probably never read before and I know the writing styles are not conducive to zipping through. As for the Vintage Mystery, that one I can do with my eyes closed (Ha!) since I normally read a lot of vintage books to begin with. I might even do an audio book or two and those I can really do with my eyes closed.

Specific books I have in mind for the Vintage Challenge: While I'm not, by nature, a planner, I do know I want to re-read all of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books (something I haven't done in many years). I will also be re-reading my favorite Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout. (I do this every few years anyway.) I also plan on reading more of Ellery Queen, Mr. and Mrs. North, Hildegarde Withers and authors John Dickson Carr and Carter Dickson (one and the same). It goes without saying that I will also be searching out more of Michael Innes' work as well. I'll also reread a bunch of Agatha Christies, again, this is something I usually do anyway. And I have a copy here somewhere of THE MOVING TOYSHOP by, I think, Edmund Crispin - which I've been meaning to read. Luckily my local library has a lot of older books still on their shelves, plus there's BETTER WORLD BOOKS which has free delivery of used books.

Specific books I have in mind for the Victorian Challenge: So far, I have a copy of Wilkie Collins' WOMAN IN WHITE ready and waiting. Also Rudyard Kipling's KIM, Bram Stoker's DRACULA, Anthony Trollope's CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? and PHINEAS FINN.
I might also give Dickens and George Eliot a try - but I'm not making any promises. I haven't read any Dickens or Eliot since high school and there's a reason for that.

There will be other books this coming year which will distract me, of course, from my Challenge Reading, but that's to be expected. I am eagerly (and none too patiently) waiting for the new book from Robert Crais and the new one from Julia Spencer-Fleming and the new one from Alan Bradley of Flavia deLuce fame, the new one by Jasper Fforde and the new Kate Atkinson. Not to mention anything else that catches my eye and my fancy. And there are several non-fiction books which look very enticing. That's part of the fun of reading - the expectation and, best of all, the possible discovery of something rare.

All in all, I think 2011 is going to be another good reading and blogging year.

So, to all my newfound friends and readers in the blogging community: Thank You. Thank you for helping to make this blogging thing as much fun as it has turned out to be. Who knew?

And, of course, a very Happy New Year to us all.


  1. An impressive reading list. Thanks for blogging. Your blog is impressive, and a pleasure to visit.

  2. Eclectic, anyway. Ha! Thanks for all your comments this year, Jacqueline. It was a pleasure reading your blog as well. You KNOW how much I love old movies! I've a goody lined up for tonight: PRESENTING LILY MARS with Judy Garland and Van Heflin. I haven't seen it in ages. I hope it's as good as I remember it being.

  3. Happy New Year! I love the sound of your challenge reading for 2011. I love golden age mysteries & classics so I'll be participating whether I join the challenge or not! I'm glad you started blogging (it is fun, isn't it?) & get so much enjoyment out of it. Look forward to reading your posts this year.

  4. Lyn: Thanks so much. I'm only doing two Challenges this year - I think - (actually 3 if I count my own short story one) because, honestly, I don't think I can handle any more. TOO MUCH PRESSURE is not conducive to good reading. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Ha!

  5. Great lists of favorites books, and books to read.

    I did two challenges in 2010--Scandinavian and, informally, Global--and may not do any this year, just do the reading I want to do.

    Do you have a list of your favorite Nero Wolfe titles? I read a lot of those years ago, and would like to read some of these.

    Your book reading total is impressive. I can't read that many books, takes me longer than it used to when I could zip through several books a week. (And reading blogs and book reviews, and then blogging on takes time, but the Internet has opened up so much for readers, and it's worth catching up often.)

  6. Just one more word: Writing about John Dickson Carr jostled my memory that my father read his books, loved locked-room mysteries, and I must read some of his, although haven't a clue where to start.
    My 90-year-old uncle just reminded me about this, as he mentioned he likes Carr's books, too.
    So, thanks for that reminder.
    I'll stay tuned so I can read reviews of which ones are good.

  7. Kathy: I don't read as fast as I used to, either, that's for sure. But I read what I can, when I can. I have a lot more 'free' time these days.

    I love the Nero Wolfe books. Kathy, you came to the right place if you want recommendations. ;)

    I'll just list a few:
    THE SILENT SPEAKER the top of my head, that's a good list.

    As for John Dickson Carr, I only remember one title: CASTLE SKULL. The rest are a haze in my memory. I read tons of his books when I was much MUCH younger and loved them but, for whatever reason, I can't remember any specific titles. So for me, it will be like reading Dickson's books for the first time. :)

    If you want lists of books written by any specific author, I'd try:

    Just type in the author name and they'll usually come up with an author's bibliography.
    It's worth a try.

  8. Kathy: I also meant to tell you to check out the Classic Mysteries blog. (You can link from the Blog List on the right hand side of my blog.)

    Les has tons of information about vintage mysteries, he reads and reviews the good old stuff all the time. It's a great site to know about.

  9. Are they counting Dashiell Hammett's books, too?

    For the first time, I read "The Maltese Falcon," last year and I took "The Thin Man," out of the library.

    I will look at the Classic Mysteries blog.

    I have a bit of "Book Challenge-a-phobia," right now. I did two last year--Scandinavian and Global. They were great incentives to read a lot of international mystery fiction.

    There are so many challenges now--another Global, a Nordic, an Irish, an Eastern European, an Aussie, then the Vintage, the Victorian, the "11 more books," etc.

    I'm trying to see where my good takes me with reading. I really enjoy the global reading, but want to also reread or read some classics. So how to fit this in and do all of this is a project.

    I wish I could just read, but life does have requirements and tasks, so I'm going to read leisurely now, and read the related websites and blogs, and see what I want to pursue.

    Thanks for the Nero Wolfe suggestions. I'm definitely going to revisit Wolfe and Goodwin.
    (Also another tidbit is that my last name is the same as one of the main detectives; my family used to get a kick out of that.)

  10. Errata: "good" should be "mood" in para 6.

  11. Kathy: There must be hundreds of challenges. Keeping track makes my head spin.
    I was checking Kerrie's blog, MYSTERIES IN PARADISE and saw she'd signed up for long list of different challenges - I don't know how she does it. I would get confused as heck. TOO MUCH PRESSURE! But I admire her gumption.

    Two is quite enough for me.

  12. Yes, the birth of Julianna was the best thing that happened this year for sure!! :)


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