Had to wrap up my 2008 reviews (specifically, Demon Bound) before I could put this (unfortunately incoherent) year-in-review up. I'm trying to get current and post often, I swear.
2008 was a dismal year in reading for me. And I'm so tempted to just leave it right there; came close in fact, to just not addressing it. But I will, if only to serve as a reminder of what I need to do differently in 2009.
I read 98 books in 2008. Continuing my downward reading trend, from 158 books read in 2006, to 115 in 2007, to this, less than a hundred books last year. Funny, or not, last year I complained that I had less time to read as a SAHM/WAHM than I did when I held down a corporate (read full-full-time) gig. Yeah, well that's not it either. Because this year saw me working more hours outside of the home (especially over the last 4 months) and not only did I NOT return to old reading levels, I read even fewer books in those months than I did in the first months of the year.
I think I bottomed out in reading as last year ended because even though I went back to working outside the home, I was futilely still trying to accomplish/create/maintain all the SAHM benefits for my son. As this year starts, I'm working even more hours (full-full-time now) and trying to simply adjust to the changes--less time with him and less patience for him and the world in general (because I'm stressed over work and having less time). I've got all the good stuff on perspective and balance, thanks, now I just have to let it settle over me, remind myself daily to take all the minutes I need for the most important things. Somewhere soon, I will fit reading back into all of this.
Moving on to breakdown by genre:
Romantic Suspense: 30
Fairly even across the usual genres and the same degree fewer in the paranormal category as previous years. Wish I could explain that last tidbit. Doesn't make sense. Because if you ask me right now what my preferred genre is overall, I'll tell you--paranormal. So, did I read fewer because I had less time for reading? Or because those I did read took me longer (like Demon Angel for example)?
Or was I wasting my reading time on genres/books I didn't like as much.
Because if you ask me which is my least favorite genre overall, I'll tell you it's contemporaries (apologies to anyone who cares). So how did I manage to make 25% of my reading last year contemporaries? No idea. I really, honestly, don't care for them that much.
There might be a clue in this bit of data--I read 58 different authors last year. Filter out the DNFs (of which there were 7) and I read half as many authors as I did books. Looking closely at the authors, I can say there was a fair split between simply spending time with authors and series I liked (Carla Neggers being one, Kresley Cole another) and wasting time on series installments even after the magic wore off (Janelle Denison).
I did try 20 new-to-me authors in 2008, a respectable number. Of those 20, there are 10 I plan to read more from, a respectable percentage.
Looking at titles, I'm hard pressed to find as many TOP reads as I have in years past. I CAN note five:
The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
Grimspace by Anne Aguirre
Tempted by Megan Hart
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith
And yes, there are two contemps in my top five. I won't take back my earlier words. I'll just amend them to exclude Hart and Smith. (If I were smart, I'd simply recategorize them as erotic romance and women's fiction respectively.)
In an award category of its own, I'll nominate:
Wicked Deeds On A Winter's Night by Kresley Cole
Because I'm really enjoying this series, but fell particularly hard for this one. And the series stands up to the quality of my top five.
I can also note two Honorable Mentions:
Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Seducing Lisa by Deanna Lee
Both impacted, both captivated, but neither left me as appreciative of prose or plot (not compared to my top five's anyway).
So what will I do differently in 2009?
In addition to finding a happy working Mom mojo, I'm going to--at least at the start--stick religiously to my TBR list. Unlike the daunting TBR stacks ya'll talk about, my TBR list is a simple document that lists upcoming new releases from my auto-buy authors, highly anticipated series installments and, most importantly, blogger recommendations. In the past, I've found that if I stick to my "list", I have a higher number of quality (to me) reads, which directly fuels my reading mojo. In 2008, I strayed from the list and picked up books that were either shared by friends (random picks from their keeper shelves) or that appeared on my library's free paperback shelf and only sounded familiar. Overall, I experienced fewer good (to me) reads and far too much lag time...those times where I chugged along for days with zero compulsion to "get back to my book." Not good for the reading mojo.