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I've created 50_in_2011 so we can all continue to track our reading goals. :)

Also: my last two German books for this year are:
It Could Be Worse, Oder? (part German, part English, a sort of student's book, but it's mostly German)
Die fünf Menschen, die dir im Himmel begegnen


So, thanks to aiela for creating this group every year. I know it's been a small group this year, but I'd love to do it again in 2011 if a few people are game!

Book 49 and year in review
kitty, reading

Book #49 was "A Map of the World" by Jane Hamilton. Apparently this made a lot of "best of the year" lists in 1994 when it first came out. The subject matter and themes are pretty depressing -including the death of a child, charges of child molestation, being abused in prison, and adultery - but her writing is lyrical and her insight into her characters is deep. I noticed a lot of the same themes in this book as in "Bleeding Kansas" by Sara Paretsky, which was my #5 read this year, which was interesting. I'd like to read more by Hamilton- she's really talented.

Year in review:

Well, this is the first year since I started tracking in 2006 that I did not complete at least 50 books. I finished 49, and ended the year with 3 books in progress, all of them at least 80 percent completed, so I don't feel too bad about that.

I thought of a few reasons why I didn't get to 50 this year:

a) I challenged myself to some fairly lengthy reads this year. For instance, book #13, a biography of Salvador Dali, was more than 700 pages, and #31, Neal Stephenson's Anathem" was nearly 1,000 pages in hard cover and was more than 20 CDs as an audiobook.,

b) I had a lot fewer audiobooks in my total.

c) I challenged myself to emphasize non-fiction, and nonfiction books are almost always a slower read for me.
I did OK on my sub-goals as well. They were:

1. Read at least 19 nonfiction books. DONE. I read 20!

2. Read at least 12 books by people of color and make an effort to read at least 2 books by GLBT authors and at least 2 by disabled authors. Didn't make this one - only did 7 books by authors of color, and only one by a disabled author, though I did meet the goal of reading at least 2 books by GLBT authors. I also requested my library order a book written by a hearing-impaired author from Michigan and hope to read that in 2011.

I'm still formulating my reading goals for 2011.

The other books I read so far this year:Collapse )

Books 49 and 50: Drive and Into the Wild
Books 49 and 50 were Drive by Daniel Pink (about motivation along the Alfie Kohn line; I'm giving a presentation on this book at work in a couple of months) and Into the Wild which I also loved, by Jon Krakauer.

I've read 50 books this year, one of them in German. That's pretty good, but doesn't meet my goal. My goal is 50 books in English and three in German.

I'll meet that goal if I finish Five People... and It Could Be Worse... (both German) tomorrow, as well as The Love Dare. I might do it. I have no other plans. :)

The 50 Books I read
Yes, I'm bragging. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some comics to catch up on.
I probably care more than youCollapse )

Book 48: Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me
Book 48 was Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me by Howie Mandel.

I bought two books yesterday, and only happened upon this one by chance. I'm not a huge fan of Howie Mandel, but he writes about his ADHD, OCD, and other issues, so I thought it would be interesting.

It was a fast book to read, and it was interesting, but a lot of it was about the pranks he pulled and freaking out about stuff. That stuff was related to his issues, but it still often read like a list of hilarious (not) stuff he was involved with.

Not a favorite. :P

Book 47: The Dead
Book 47 was The Dead, a novella by James Joyce, which I've read before. I've studied James Joyce a bit, and I like what I've learned about his writing, but I can't really bring myself to enjoy his actual stories. Maybe I haven't studied him enough? I don't know.

Book 46: The Other Side of Everest
Book 46 was The Other Side of Everest by Matt Dickinson. I find myself as fascinated as ever by the '96 disaster on Everest. This is the fifth book on the subject that I've read.

I'm farther behind in my reading goal than I've been in other years, but I have all week off. :)

Goal: 53 books, 3 of them German.

Planning to finish:
Five People... (German)
It Could be Worse... (German)
Drive (English)
Metamorphosis (English)
The Dead (English)
The Love Dare (English)

Not sure what else. George has my copy of Heroes of Abraxas which I've been wanting to read, so if I can find that at his place today, I'll read that. I'd love to read Linda's dissertation, as well as a few other things by bbs friends, but I'm not sure how quickly I can get through them. :)

Book 49: The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones, Ian Cameron. 190p. 1961, Hutchinson & Co. 1970, Avon/Hearst as The Island at the Top of the World.

Reading Time: Dec 6-16, work breaks.

I grabbed this out of a freebie box because a) I vaguely remembered the Disney movie as something I enjoyed, and b) since Disney changed the title, I knew the book would be different from or better than what very little I remembered of the movie I saw Lo these many (about 35) years ago.

And yes, the story was Disneyfied.

The movie had two little children looking for their father, with the help of their grandfather and a professor. The book has a man looking for his son, with the help of a professor. The book has the trio stranded on an island, on the rumored caribou migration route, two weeks before the herd is scheduled to come, counting the dogs among their survival rations. In the book, the remaining 5 dogs get the raw end of the whole disastrous trip.

The book was definitely a grown-up adventure story, which I enjoyed, but the ending was harsh.

Books 47 and 48
kitty, reading
I feel like I'm cutting it close to get to 50 books by the end of the year, but I have a couple of books I'm in the middle of, so we'll see!

Book #47 was "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See. I read another book by her (#12 for this year) and enjoyed it, but I think "Shanghai Girls" was even better. It tells the story of two girls growing up in Shanghai of the 1930s, balancing tradition with modern sensibility. They endure hardships in Shanghai and eventually end up trying to make a go of arranged marriages with two brothers in America. The book covers the era from just before World War II to just after Korea and all the social and cultural upheaval Chinese Americans went through during those eras. See creates characters that you just really believe are real, and I enjoyed this novel a lot.

Book #48 was "The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases" by Michael Capuzzo. It took me a little bit to get into the book, because I found the storytelling style kind of odd, but eventually, I really got sucked in and enjoyed it. It's the true story of a group of forensic investigators and other law enforcement and detective types who form a club called The Vidocq Society to investigate old cold case murders. They bring their expertise in profiling, reconstructing faces from skeletons and old-fashioned detective work to old unsolved cases and end up solving more than 80 percent of them. Some of the cases are well known, while others are more obscure. I liked the structure the author picked. He could have devoted one chapter to each case and could have wrapped each up neatly. Instead, he teases you with the case, then goes on to another, and then circles back to give more information on various cases as the investigators discover new clues and make new connections. Several cases mentioned early in the book don't get wrapped up until almost the very end, and this made me want to keep reading and reading. I'd highly recommend this to fans of both true crime and traditional detective fiction. The grim subject matter had me thinking some pretty heavy thoughts, and yet, it's still a fun and compelling read.

The other books I've read so far this year:Collapse )