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Topic: 2009 in review, and plans for 2010

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Subject: 2009 in review, and plans for 2010
Date Posted: 12/31/2009 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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1) Did you have reading goals for 2009, and how did you do with regard to them?

2) Will you have reading goals for 2010?

3) What were your favorite sf (science fiction, fantasy, alt history, horror) reads of 2009?

Subject: Review 2009
Date Posted: 12/31/2009 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Didn't meet my goals this year, although I came close.  I finished 96 books (goal was 100) and read 9 new SF authors (goal was 10).  Not unhappy however, I finally managed to read Jules Verne.  I also got a new job in 2009, yay!

Next year my goals are the same- 100 books, 10 new SF authors, and I want to pursue more of Jules Verne and take on HG Wells and maybe Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Mars series.  ( I said maybe).  Oh yeah, and complete the SF challenge.

Not that many 5 star novels for me this year.  I had my favorites from a series - Valor series by T. Huff,  TurnCoat by J Butcher,  Bone Crossed by P Briggs and Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling.

My two favorite books were Wake by R. Sawyer and Time Travelers Never Die by J McDevitt.  I also 5 starred Flood by S. Baxter but this is part of another series, so..... we'll see.

2009 was tough, 2010 can only get better.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/31/2009 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I did pretty well with my main challenges this year.  As you can see in my signature, my goal was to read 99 books this year, and I've finished 108 (might get in one more before midnight...)  I also wanted to average 100 pages read per day.  I haven't done a final tally, but I think I am close to 4,000 pages over that mark.

I have numerous goals for the coming year, including the SF challenge here, and reading more books and pages than in '09. 

My "Book of the Year" is actually the second book I read in '09 - Neuromancer by William Gibson.  It was my only "five star" book of the year in my extremely stingy rating system.  Expanding, The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams was one of the best fantasies I've ever read, and I discovered that I loved Stephen King's writing.  I read seventeen of his books this year (plus two more on audio) and enjoyed all of them.  My favorites of his were Lisey's Story, Pet Sematary and Rose Madder

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2008
Posts: 465
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I didn't have any reading goals for 2009.  I have signed up for several challenges for this year though.  I really do want to read some different authors and I'm really enjoying the sci fi challenge so far.  My favorite sci fi book was The Sparrow.  I can't believe I hadn't heard about it before now.  I've also been reading a bunch of old sci fi anthologies.  My goal for this year is to write down titles, authors & brief notes on each book I read -even if it's a re-read.  I very well may have read a book as good as the sparrow earlier this year but I don't have any idea what I read when...  I also found the Jasper Fforde thursday next series  this year-which is fantasy of a sort.  They've all been fun reads.  Hmmm all in all it's been a good year of books.  Here's hoping that George RR Martin gets that book out in 2010!

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Well I haven't finished tabulating everything from 2009, and all my data starts in mid-April because I wasn't tracking my books until I started doing stuff on Shelfari, but this is what I know so far:


Total books: 95/100

Genre Breakdown: 39 fantasy, 17 SF, 34 mystery, 2 regular fiction, 1 non-fiction, 1 romance (don't make that face at me. . .*wink*); 41 of these were rereads.

Average Rating: 3.49 out of 5; only counting the ratings for new books, not rereads.

5-star books: The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy Sayers; Naamah's Kiss, by Jacqueline Carey; Transformation, by Carol Berg; Inside Job, by Connie Willis; Farthing, by Jo Walton. Though of these, with some distance I am tempted to downgrade Naamah's Kiss, Transformation, and Inside Job to 4 1/2 stars. Inside Job was a teeny bit light, but that's only a problem because I've seen what Willis is capable of; Naamah's Kiss, too, suffers a teeny bit from comparison to Carey's best (Kushiel's Avatar, in my opinion); and Transformation is spoiled by the fact that the two sequels are significantly less good. But I can't take anything away from either The Nine Tailors or Farthing -- they are brilliant. :)

Something that did make me happy was that I only read one book I only gave one star too; and I only read it because it was a gift that I felt guilty posting on here before having at least attempted to read it. (It was Bodyguard of Lightning, by Stan Nicholls, if anyone's interested.)


As for next year, my goal is to complete all the challenges I signed up for! That means 40 books in the SF challenge (well, 34, because I've already read 6); 45 in the fantasy challenge; 12 in the mystery challenge; 12 in the classics challenge, for a total of 97. This seems like a downgrade from 95 in less than 8 months, but I was out of work this year and I don't plan to be next year, so I figure that's reasonable. :) And, if I have some extra time, I'd like to read more than 1 non-fiction book. . . I started quite a few others over the course of this year, but didn't finish any of them because my fiction was calling too loudly! (Plus I picked them out for their research value, not their literary merit, which meant they tended to be BORING.)

Last Edited on: 12/31/09 11:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Subject: 2009 reading
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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I had three reading goals for 2009, and added the forum challenge starting 11/1/09.

1) 52 books (1 per week average).  I actually read 59, so I'm pretty happy.

2) 10 new-to-me sf writers.  I reached that goal - and I'm looking for more books by two of my "discoveries" - Neal Stephenson and John Scalzi.  It was a lot of fun raiding MrsTomHl's bookshelf throughout December.  Fortunately, this goal was compatible with the forum challenge.

3) 10 non-sf (I mean not science fiction, not fantasy, not horror, not alternate history).  I read 1 play, 6 mainstream novels and 4 non-fiction books.  Unfortunately, this reading came to a complete halt once the forum challenge started.

For 2010, my goals are:

1) 52 books - same as 2009

2) the forum challenge - I'm gonna finish it.

3) German science fiction - I have discovered that both Germany and France have a thriving pool of science fiction writers, whose work is not translated into English.  French is impossible for me, but I have a basic knowledge of German, so I hope to do some exploration of the German science fiction universe this year.

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 1/2/2010 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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My main emphasis in 09 was to catch up on Star Wars books - for years I ignored a lot of the YA stuff and have now decided to go back and find all of that (which is a lot).  So goal-wise all I set for myself was to read 24 non-Star Wars books.  I reached 21, but considering I'm also working on re-reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga, I'm willing to settle for that.  Add in all the Star Wars stuff, and I read a total of 65 books in 2009.

For 2010, I'm looking to read a total of 70 books.  I'm not joining any official challenges (as of yet - I may change my mind as the year goes on.)    I still have a lot of SW to read, plus 5 of Jordan's books.  Of the 70 I'm going to limit the SW stuff to 30, plus the 5 Jordan books, which leaves 35 books open for other stuff - new authors, multiple genres, whatever.  I'm leaving that part wide open, to read as the spirit moves me.

My other goal is to average half an hour per day writing.  I want to finish polishing up the draft of my novel, plus I have a good half-dozen ideas for other books brewing in the back of my head.  Of course, today's the 2nd day of the year and I haven't started yet, so I'm already an hour behind!  LOL!

ETA - also as part of the writing goal, I really want to try NaNoWriMo this year!

Last Edited on: 1/2/10 12:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/5/2010 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
Posts: 175
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I didn't have any goals for 2009 oher than to focus on post-apocalyptic fiction. I read 54 novels and 34 of them fell into that category,and 48 of the 54 were authors previously unread. So I am pretty happy with 2009 over all, considering I didn't have a lot of free time. And 2010 will be another year focused on PA fiction, and I have a giant pile of TBR books in that genre to keep me busy. I'm going to try to fulfill the SF challenge with as many PA books as possible. It's working out so far!

My favorites of '09:

Earth Abides / George R. Stewart

Wastelands / John J. Adams (ed.)

Warday / Streiber and Kunetka

Into the Forest / Jean Hegland

Alas, Babylon / Pat Frank

Oryx and Crake / Margaret Atwood

Life As We Knew It / Susan Pfeffer

A Brief History of the Dead / Kevin Brockmeier

Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro

Date Posted: 1/6/2010 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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No goals for me! 

180+ books this past year, so no way am I going to try to top that this year. Mostly scif/fantasy, and if you add in manga, my number tops around 387.

I'm just going to read whatever I feel like :-)

Date Posted: 1/7/2010 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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This year I plan to go to Jupiter and retrieve Discovery One and reactivate HAL and...

Oh. Right. This is reality, where progress on space flight and basic computer science research stopped for 20 years.

I'll just go home now. Now, where did I put my flying car that folds up into a briefcase?

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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Um, I think I read 2 books last year, but I read every day...I just have a hard time with it...God I WISH I could read 70 or 80 books in a year...I look forward to the day...

I read A Mote in God's Eye...don't bother...you can read my review here: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780671640743-Mote+in+Gods+Eye#member_reviews

I just finished Young Miles and you can also read my review (just click the link from the God's Eye review...

I just started Red Thunder and am enjoying it so far...

I guess my target for 2010 will be, I don't know...5 books...wish me luck!!

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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James: Definitely good luck. . . but I'm a little jealous, because if that's your pace then you have like three years of Miles books ahead of you! I blasted through them in a month when I first discovered them, and wonderful as they are on rereading, that means I've spent years salivating at any hint that there will be a new one published. Finally there is going to be. . . but that makes the anticipation even worse! ;)

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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It will take me that long to get all the omnibuses on my wish list!!

Date Posted: 1/13/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2009
Posts: 26
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My goal was 1 book per week, and I actually surpassed that and read 66 books :)

My goal this year is to reach 80 books (lol, I have SO many books on my TBR shelf, I really want to clear them off, and put the ones I don't plan on keeping on paperbackswap)


My favorite Sci-fi book of 2009 was: 

Eternal Vigilance by Gabriel Faust (After a century of Sleep, Tynan Llywelyn has awoken to find the world he once knew utterly obliterated by a brutal war of epic proportions. In a new apocalyptic society, bitterly divided by magic and technology, the Tyst Empire has found that a hundred years of global domination is not enough to sate their thirst for power. They have discovered the secret of the vampire race and have designed a plan to seize their own sinister form of immortality with the help of an ancient vampiric god. The powerful oracle, Nahalo, has had a vision that in Tynan alone lies the power to defeat the vampiric god and the dictatorship. Cast into the midst of a global war between magic and technology, mortals and vampires, in a new world he is still struggling to define, Tynan must make the harrowing decision to save the world he so bitterly detests or stand and watch as humanity is destroyed by a primordial evil beyond all imagining)

My favorite Horror book of 2009 was:

The Strain by Quillermo Del Toro (The first of a trilogy, The Strain is everything you want from a horror novel--dark, bloody, and packed full of mayhem and mythology. But, be forewarned, these are not like any vampires you've met before--they're not sexy or star-crossed or "vegetarians"--they are hungry, they are connected, and they are multiplying. The vampire virus marches its way across New York, and all that stands between us and a grotesque end are a couple of scientists, an old man with a decades-old vendetta, and a young boy. This first installment moves fast and sets up the major players, counting down to the beginning of the end

My favorite post-apocalyptic book of 2009 was: 

Vampire Winter by Lois Tilton (Blaine woke up to find that mankind had finally done it. World War Three. Chicago was in ruins, survivors were fleeing the burning cities and the sun was blocked by the nuclear winter that had been created by the bombs. For an amoral vampire this should be a perfect time. But it isn't. Many of the humans have become contaminated, radiation sickness making their blood useless to him. And the heathly humans are in danger from roaming bands of looters and killers, as food and water becomes more and more scarce.  Can he learn to protect the humans he needs to live or will he give into his hunger?.)

My favorite memoir of 2009 was: 

My Life as a Traitor by Zahara Ghahramani (The second-year Iranian college student in 2001 knew that making that speech meant trouble, but she had no real expectation of being kidnapped in the heart of Tehran and hustled off to the notorious Evin Prison. Eventually, the 20-year-old Ghahramani is sentenced to 30 days and a few days—and several beatings—later is dumped in a vacant countryside to make her way home. Scenes from a happy family life (crippled by the Iran-Iraq war) and a spirited adolescence (cut short by a repressive regime) alternate with the prison experiences in this multilayered account. Ghahramani, daughter of a Muslim father and Zoroastrian mother, both Kurdish, dips with brevity and grace into personal family history and public political history. Graphic and powerful as her treatment of torturous imprisonment is, Ghahramani retains an irrepressible lightness, perhaps born of knowing that [a] sense of justice can always benefit from a complementary sense of the ridiculous. Her painfully acquired knowledge of how easy it is to reduce a human being to the level of animal does not keep her from wondering if I'll ever be pretty again. Nothing, however, dilutes the bare bones prison experience)

lol, can you tell I was on a vampire kick? :)

Date Posted: 1/13/2010 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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James, have you considered books on tape/cd? Or do you prefer reading even if it is hard?

Last Edited on: 1/13/10 4:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2010 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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I bet I listened to The Deathly Hallows 6 times or more, but only after I read it...I have touretts, and believe it or not, the thing that makes it hard to read also makes it hard to listen....