2010: The self-indulgent, navel-gazing edition

2010: The self-indulgent, navel-gazing edition

Decadence looks back at the books that highlighted her 2010 reading year.

If I had to sum up 2010 in one word as a reading year, it would have to be growth. I read a total of 80 books, which is the most books I’ve read in a year since I started recording them in a spreadsheet in 2007. I read an average of almost 7 books a month and doubled the number of new authors I’ve read from 15 in 2009 to 30 in 2010. I reread 11 books and have 201 books in my TBR.

My best reading month was December with 12 books, and 3 books makes February my worst reading month. I began 2010 with Salvation in Death by JD Robb and ended the year with Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz.

Genres

The numbers are a bit funny, partly because quite a few of my books cross genres (e.g. some of my paranormal reads were also YA, which is how I classified them).

Paranormal Romance –20
Young Adult – 18
Contemporary Romance – 10
Urban Fantasy – 8
Fantasy – 7
Erotic – 5
Mystery/Crime – 5
Historical Romance – 3
Romantic Suspense – 3
Chick lit – 1

My favourites

It would take too long to list everything I mentally assigned A+ to A- and to be honest, I started slacking off on the grades towards the end of the year because I’ve always hated rating stuff (maybe I should convert grades to Awesome, Good, Meh and Crap), so here are the honourable mentions:

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

I had already read and enjoyed Vampire Academy in 2009 but I knew I had to get right into this series when Last Sacrifice was released and I am so glad I read them this way instead of having to wait for the next book. I loved Dimitri (why couldn’t I have met a Dimitri when I was 17? Hell, I’d take him now!) and thought Rose was a fantastic heroine. She had flaws and some of her less admirable actions and feelings were later explained, but she was strong and interesting. The series just got better with each book and I don’t know how Mead is going to keep the series going with other characters because Rose really set the bar high.

The Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn

Two things you could say about me as a reader: I always go for the vampire and I’m all about the hero. So you would think that I might not enjoy a series about a female werewolf. Kitty started out as the omega wolf in her pack and took a lot of crap to feel safe. The series is about how she ‘grows up’ and learns to take care of herself when she faces an obstacle. The eventual hero shifted from balding to hot and from beta to alpha, but he’s still not my favourite character and I’m OK with that. It’s also a testament to Vaughn that even after my favourite character (who’s strangely neither werewolf nor vampire) took a back seat, I was happy to keep reading, knowing he wasn’t coming back in this book or the next (even if the first book after his departure was the slowest read of the series). I can’t say this series has converted me to werewolves (we’re talking 15 years of vampire love after all), but it deserves a mention for being such a notable exception.

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

The first in a new urban fantasy series, Grave Witch follows Alex Craft, who can temporarily raise a dead person’s spirit, which can be useful in solving murders. Her estranged sister hires her to find out who killed the governor in order to clear their father, the lieutenant-governor. Alex pulls strings to gain access to the body and in return has to help a cop find a lead on who’s been butchering random women. She gets off on the wrong foot with the intense and mysterious detective investigating the governor’s murder, but when attempts are made on Alex’s life, they have to work together.

I really liked how Price skilfully balanced the murder mystery with supernatural elements, political entanglements, Alex’s burgeoning relationship with the detective investigating her and an ongoing flirtation with sexy denim-clad Death.

What do I want out of 2011?

I’ve avoided making New Year’s resolutions because I stand a better chance of keeping the ones I don’t make (don’t you love my logic?), but there are things I want to achieve this year:

  • Write more reviews — I like to think that an average of one review every two weeks is realistic, but I have a feeling this goal will be the first to fall by the wayside :D If I’m reviewing, I’m not reading, but I could afford to find a better balance.
  • Keep reading more books — I don’t have a spreadsheet for it, but I’m sure that around 2005 I read around 120+ books even if I’m not sure I had a life then :P I’ve started several series that I’d like to catch up on and there are more interesting series out there waiting to be started, not to mention any 2011 debuts.
  • Try more new-to-me authors — I’m not sure how compatible this goal is with the above catch-up-on-series goal, but it fits with reading more books in general.
  • Start a new cheat sheet — This is a very ambitious goal and one that I had last year as well. It took me over a week to do the original BDB cheat sheet (and nothing else) and this is the series I have the strongest familiarity with.

I should add Reduce my TBR to the list, but who am I kidding? I know that I’m going to keep adding to it, especially in the guise of meeting my other goals. I’ve had a TBR for so long I don’t think I could live without it.

I can almost guarantee that I won’t be able to do everything on my list, but the above constitutes an ideal reading and blogging year. We’ll see how I go.

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Decadence's fascination with vampires can be blamed on Anne Rice and although she reads urban fantasy, historical romance, romantica and crime, her first and undying love is paranormal romance. She works in a bookstore and gets no sympathy for the sheer volume of work she brings home, not to mention the TBR mountain that will never be surmounted. Her guilty pleasures include (in no particular order) chocolate, pizza, sleeping in and Alexander Skarsgard and she is a final assessment away from holding a full pistol licence.

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