Friday, December 31, 2010

Best reads of 2010

I stopped keeping track of my reading sometime in 2009, and never even tried in 2010. I miss having those complete records and seeing an overview of my reading at the end of the year, so 2011 will be...better. Probably not perfect, but I do want to keep track of what I read, and maybe if I blog about that, I'll blog about a few other things, too. You never know. I hope no one is holding their breath?

The only thing I've posted about in the last six months is my Kindle. Now, I love my Kindle, and thanks to my Kindle, I can do a lot more reading. I have access to so many books. I never go anywhere without 200 books tucked into my purse, and that's really cool. Thanks to my Kindle, I read some really great books, and thanks to my Kindle, I read a LOT of trash.

Let me explain...

There are hundreds of free, public domain texts available to read on the Kindle--you know, the Classics, which are Literature and Worthy of your reading time. What I didn't really understand, until I had the Kindle, is that there are also absolutely piles of newer titles that are offered for free. Publishers have their reasons, and I won't go there just now, but the fact is, you can download more free Kindle books in a week than you could read in a month. Please believe me when I tell you that most of these really are not worth your time. I know this, because I wasted a lot of *my* time reading them. I have read at least 40 books on my Kindle since May, and 30 of them were probably a waste of time.

It's so much easier now that I'm back in Europe. Europeans don't believe in free. A book that's free for the Kindle in the US will cost $2-5 here. Now I can stop reading free twaddle and start reading free classics--or at least, really good books that were worth paying for.

2010 wasn't a complete loss as far as reading goes. I read some wonderful books, and these are the best of them, in no particular order. I wish there were 10. There should have been 10 great books out of the (probably) 100 or so that I read. These are the ones that stuck with me.

Q&A by Vikus Swarup
-- This is the book that the movie Slumdog Millionaire is based upon. The movie was good. The book is different...and even better. I'd really like to explore more Indian authors.

The Long Song
by Andrea Levy
-- Once you know this book is written by Andrea Levy, author of Small Island, do you really need to know anything else? I prefer the books she has written that take place mostly in England, but this was still an excellent novel, and it was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
-- I have developed a real taste for Edith Wharton's writing, and my biggest project for this year was this, the book which won her the Pulitzer Prize.

A Room With a View
by E.M. Forster
-- I loved this story. It had a happier ending (I thought) than Howard's End, but didn't make quite as strong an impression on me.

The Hunger Games
trilogy by Suzanne Collins
-- This is outside my reading comfort zone in several ways. I don't read much YA fiction, and I don't care for science fiction as a rule. But a good dystopian story will usually hold my attention, and I did like the young heroine in the story.

The Upas Tree
by Florence Barclay
-- I listened to this as an audiobook at Librivox. It was different, with a taste of the supernatural, marital complexities, and a happy ending. I was surprised by it, but I definitely liked it.

So, those are the best books I've read this year. I'm going to be very severe with myself in 2011, at least for a while. I need to buckle down to some serious reading and studying. No free Kindle least for a while.


At 11:08 PM , Blogger Sherry said...

I just got a Kindle for Christmas, and the first book I read on it was one of those you referenced: free from the publisher, even by an author that I had recommended to me, but not worth the time. Still I'm enjoying my Kindle, downloaded only old books to it now. We'll see.

At 4:22 AM , Blogger Carol in Oregon said...

Ah, Karen. I have not been tempted by the Kindle, but your comments (and Sherry's) do give me pause.

I have such a library of books in my house that I am trying to "read and release" or at least read and know they are worthy of the space on the shelf.

But I have the same problem: do I read the *best* books, the classics and ones I know are I read through mediocre books because I can get rid of them? I pendulum between the choices.


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