In 2010, I made a goal to read 52 books.
3: The first books of the new yearfirst books of 2011

No wait, come back! This isn't another round-up of my year kind of post, I promise! I'm just going to talk about the best books, ok?

Even though that's 1 book a week, the actual reading didn't turn out like that at all. Many weeks I read no books and many weeks I read 2 or 3 books. I finished the 52nd book the week before Christmas and…haven't finished another book since then.

I had very few rules.

I couldn't count a cookbook (or knitting book) unless I actually cooked a recipe (or knit a project) out of it (unless it was a mostly-words book, like Gluten Free Girl).
I am always allowed to quit reading, at any point. No guilt.

Instead of talking about every book or just listing them (you can see the entire list here), I want to share the surprises.

Oh, and I'm linking to their GoodReads page because I did not buy them (99% of the books were checked out from my library), so it seems disingenuous to tell you to buy them.

However, if you're like my friend Jamie and want to own every book you read, I strongly suggest using IndieBound to find an independent bookstore to buy them from. If you don't have a bookstore near you, you can buy from my favorite, Malaprops.

Now, for the books!

The books I did not expect to like

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

It's Young Adult fiction! It's set in an apolyptic future! Not usually my thing. But so good.

It was Kim's review that convinced me to check it out and she was right! I finished the first book in 5 hours one night (yes, I stayed up until 3 am finishing it), it was that great.

Finding your Own North Star by Martha Beck.

I didn't really know anything about Martha Beck other than she was in Oprah's magazine. That was enough to convince me her stuff would be too cheesy or woo-woo for me.
Plus, I sorta already HAVE my North Star. I'm already doing what I love.

But when Eileen and Brianna both rave about the smartness of Martha, I knew I had to give it a shot. And this book was great. I learned all kind of skills for dealing with my own stuff and helping my CraftyBizzers deal with theirs.

The Happiness Project

I only picked it up after loving Bluebird by Ariel Gore (which I read just because I love Ariel Gore), because I like to put together my own little series around a theme (why yes, I am a geek).
I'm not really into improve-your-life programs. I'm all about improving my life, but not through traditional, do-this-next-steps. I thought that was what this book is.

But it's totally not. Gretchen puts together a plan to research and learn more about her own happiness and in doing so shares helpful information without being preachy.

Most proud of myself for (finally) reading:

Jane Eyre

Seriously! How have I not read this before? Sweeping, epic, beautiful.
And I still can't get over what a contemporary role model Jane is.

Did not like as much as everyone said I would:

Girl with Dragon Tattoo

Wayyy too violent for my sensitive self. I've experienced enough violence in the real world that I try to avoid it in my own imagination.
The action was gripping and I couldn't put it down until I finished.
But I've been haunted by the violent imagery every since. Really wish I had never read it.


Couldn't finish it. Could barely keep reading.
So full of science-y description.

But it's a sci-fi classic so I tried REALLY hard to read it and like it.
But I just couldn't.

Best business book

Book Yourself Solid

I loved Trust Agents and The Art of Non-Conformity (I read both of these guys blogs (Chris and Chris) every week and their books have the same friendly, helpful voice), but Book Yourself Solid had the most new-to-me, detailed, do-this-next helpfulness.

If you can get past the constant Book Yourself Solid phrase. You've been warned: the author says “Book Yourself Solid” several times a chapter.

And you?

What was the best book you read last year?
I'm trying to read 60 books this year, and I need a few more for my list!

9 Comments on 52 books in 2010

  1. Ingrid Murnane
    January 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm (11 years ago)

    You should definitely try some Connie Willis. I read both Blackout and All Clear this year, but a really great one to start with is To Say Nothing of the Dog.
    I’d also highly recommend PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves series. Classic stuff 🙂

  2. Adriana
    January 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm (11 years ago)

    I totally hear you with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I’m glad you liked the Hunger games, because I just got it and it’s next on my list. Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. Anonymous
    January 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm (11 years ago)

    Thanks Inny! I added it to these to my list and will check my library for
    Always great to have recommendations!

  4. Anonymous
    January 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m glad it wasn’t just me.
    Hunger Games is brutal, but not in a detailed way (and there’s nothing
    sexual about it).
    Hope you love it!

  5. Kylie
    January 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m working my way through Book Yourself Solid right now, and it is REALLY helping me to determine the specifics (and the heart) of my business. I was a little wary of a book with a white dude in a suit on the cover, but it’s already been an incredible tool, and I’m not even halfway through.

  6. Bridget Pilloud
    January 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm (11 years ago)

    Dude- You will love The Shipping News!
    And also, I totally love Cherie Priest’s books. They are about as deep as a bottlecap, but they are so readable.
    I’m reading Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff right now, and it’s awesome. I love how his mind works.

  7. michaelport
    January 12, 2011 at 11:57 am (11 years ago)

    I’m so glad you found Book Yourself Solid so helpful! (And, you’re right, I do use the phrase Book Yourself Solid too many time in the begininning of the book 🙂

    – Michael Port
    Author of Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid, Book Yourself Solid

  8. Anonymous
    January 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh, I’m so glad you have a sense of humor about it!
    Thank you so much for writing the book, it’s made a real difference in my
    business (and I’m about to re-read it to apply even more of it.

    Thanks again!