Monday, January 03, 2011

Lori's 2010 reading year, part 1

2010 was the year that I was determined to track my reads all year. In the past, I've tried doing it via an excel spreadsheet and the longest I ever made it was through March. Much as I adore Excel (I think it's the best thing Bill Gates ever did, LOL), I couldn't access it to record my books immediately. This year, thanks to Goodreads and my iPhone, I was able to track my reads. Once the Goodreads app came out, it was easy. I didn't have to remember anything - I always had my phone with me and could record when I finished a book immediately. I was also able to jot down some initial thoughts that helped my memory when I went to review. However, I also realized I have tons of typos when I write on my iPhone, LOL! So all those typos on my monthly roundups are because I copied and pasted from Goodreads. And apparently, I suck at proofreading when I type on the phone. Also, I wonder if there was some bug in December, because Goodreads ate a ton of my reviews for that month. Which sucks, cause my memory aint what it used to be.

Here are some thoughts about 2010...

The good: I made it all year with tracking my books! Go me! As I said, noting them right away in Goodreads made it easier to write reviews.

The bad: I was really lazy and rarely brought over my thoughts on Goodreads to this blog. Something to work on in 2011. Also realized that I might want to post weekly rather than monthly wrapups. There were so many books to note that it made for long, unwieldy posts.

The good: The In Death challenge. I've put off reading this series for a really long time. First, I generally don't enjoy books about the same couple, but Robb makes it work so well! I just finished book 21, and plan to hit the library tomorrow for Memory In Death.

The bad: I think I burned out on the books, and stopped reading them for a period of about 4 (5?) months. But thankfully, I picked the next one up and started it Thanksgiving weekend, and am now back in the saddle.

The good: I read 295 books in 2010 (and actually, I think it's likely closer to 300 because I read some small ebooks in December that I never recorded. There were 24 5-star reads in that bunch, so, close to 10%. Not bad. And a ton of 4 stars. So I read a bunch of great books this year.

The bad: I hardly read anything that wasn't romance. While I did read some thrillers, I usually read several non-fictions each year, but not so this year. On my list, Jimmy Carter's White House Diary, Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier (saw the author interviewed on the Colbert Report), War by Sebastian Junger (saw author interviewed on the Daily Show), Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories by Anna Baltzer (also a Daily Show find). Must get to these at a minimum.

The good: Carina Press - 2 of my favorite books of the year come from them. Why that surprises me, I don't know. Quality authors seem to follow Angela James wherever she goes.

The bad: Harlequin's gain is Samhain's loss. I've noticed a decrease in editing quality with some Samhain books since Angie's departure. No terribly edited books, but just not as top-notch as before. However, I still love many of the authors that write for Samhain, so will continue to buy those authors as their books come out.

The good: Some really great authors put out some amazing books.

The bad: Pub houses don't seem to be supporting some genres as much as they previously did. This makes me sad. The big names still do well, thank goodness, but new-to-the-genre authors who wrote amazing books are unable to continue selling the books that speak to them. Thinking specifically of Leslie Parrish here, whose Cold Sight romantic suspense was one of my favorite books this year. And I have to wonder if she'd written them as Leslie Kelly if she might have been more successful. Others have made the leap successfully using the same name - Stephanie Tyler comes immediately to mind (although she does also write as Sydney Croft in partnership with Larissa Ione). Either way, I think Parrish has a wonderful voice, and am disappointed to see that her pub house isn't supporting her as much as she deserves. OTOH, some authors made the leap the other way: HelenKay Dimon, who has much success with single title contemps, made the leap over to Harlequin Intrigue to find a home for her RS voice. And I'm digging her books there in a line I tend to avoid. And again, wondering if her name recognition has helped folks to try those books when they otherwise might not have (raising hand).

The good: I spent more face time online, discovering Facebook, twitter, continuing my own personal blog, and in general raising hell.

The bad: All that online time meant that I became less productive at work (must stop doing romancelandia at work!), and was glued to either a computer, phone, or book at home. Thank goodness my kids are rarely home anymore. OTOH, JenniferB is so busy being a mom that she hasn't had much time to read or to write those amazing reviews of hers. I sure hope that she'll be able to do more in 2011. I can totally relate, though, as I'm sure anyone with a young, active child can. The homework, the sports, the family trips, and on and on... There were a couple years where I barely posted anything over here.

The good: Many authors are self-publishing via Smashwords, making books that might otherwise be unavailable out there for us all to enjoy. For me, this year I purchased and enjoyed books from Shiloh Walker (Beg Me), Kathryn Shay (Still the One, plus many of her backlist), Marie Force (True North - still reading it). I'm sure there are some amazing ones I've missed. I think this gives authors tremendous power over their work.

The bad: While giving authors some control over their works, I wonder if it's becoming too difficult to deal with pub houses, if a book may be less well edited (although Shiloh blogged about this extensively)

The good: Rereading some amazing series. (Hearts of the South and Devils on Horseback)

The bad: There's a bad to rereading awesome books? Huh, who knew.

There are a ton more thoughts running through my head, but I think I'll leave it here. Coming soon, my list of best reads of the year.


  1. Tying into your thoughts on the In Death challenge - it's a rare, rare series that I can read back-to-back without coming up for air. Especially if we're talking more than a trilogy. I did do it this year with Vicki Lewis Thompson's Sons Of Chance series....but since they were Blazes, I'm not sure that counts! LOL

  2. I recall reading the In Death series straight through (believe I came to it when there were 23 books start to finish). Took a few months and I probably slowed here and there, but I didn't read anything else. I read through them like it was my job. Thankfully, I'm not nearly that uptight anymore, LOL. Parenthood, as Lori said. (Also--I'm happy to report that I'm seizing an opp to become a permanent WAHM (freelance writer). And looking forward to writing reviews, journaling, etc. again. Miss it.)

  3. WAIT!!!?? There's a Goodreads app for the iPhone? That may just be the final selling point in getting me to move from Shelfari to Goodreads! I have been at Shelfari since July 2007 and joined there only because I didn't know of any other platform. I've often considered switching, but didn't want the hassle of importing lists and didn't want to abandon my Shelfari peeps. Now ... I'm VERY tempted to just switch. Hmm...

    Anyway, I love reading everyone's year end reading posts. First, I want to thank you for taking the time to make monthly posts all year long. I have truly enjoyed seeing what you've been reading, what you liked, what you didn't liked, and every thing in between and why!

    Secondly, I'm so glad you are doing the In Death challenge with me and that you've kept up and accomplished so much! It's funny how the same series can burn you out in one month and then the next you rip through several in a row. I guess it depends on your mood at any given time ... or if certain repetitive things start to annoy you about the characters.

    I hope you get to those handful of non-fictions in 2011 that you never got around to last year. They sound really fascinating.

    Here's to another great year, Lori! :)

  4. Jennifer, Congrats on your new WAHM status!!! That is indeed a fantastic opp! I'm so happy for you. I know how you've been riding the roller coaster regarding balancing motherhood with full-time out of the house work. I hope this is the perfect fit for you. I wish you all the best! xo

  5. Great job in keeping track of your books! I slacked off when I changed Excel versions but I've started a new spreadsheet for 2011 and plan to continue to use Goodreads.

    You're really tempting me into getting an iPhone. LOL I need a new phone but hate the hassle of shopping for one one. :)

    What I like about Carina Press is the variety of genres & sub-genres. I really need to try more of their releases.

  6. Excellent post, Lori :) I like the Good and Bad :)

    I did really well keeping track of my reads and even of the books I bought till December ^_^; Ugh, I slipped just before the finish line, sigh.

    By the way, I support the weekly wrapups, especially since you read so much :) Good thinking :)

    I'm so glad you're enjoying the In Death books. Book 21 is about where it started to slow down for me as well. These are great books to glom, but after all, at one point, it's just too much. So what, you're more than halfway through, right? :)

    Sometimes, I wonder what makes the publishers support a certain author and not another... Lucky star? Karma?

    Okay, that was my two cents :)

    Plus, yay, I'm looking forward to seeing more of JenB this year!! :)


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