Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

January 17, 2011

Reading, 2011

Once again, I have chosen not to participate in any reading challenges for this year. But if such things tickle your fancy, check out Nathalie Foy’s round-up of a huge number of 2011 reading challenges (all of which she is participating in)!


Truth & Bright Water by Thomas King
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
The Birth House by Ami McKay
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
Unless by Carol Shields
Dune by Frank Herbert
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
The Two Dianas by “Alexandre Dumas” (Paul Meurice)
God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert
Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert
Pigeon English by Steven Kelman
Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert
A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
On Monsters by Stephen Asma
Whale Music by Paul Quarrington
Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Travelling Heroes by Robin Lane Fox (abandoned)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me ed. Kate Berntheimer
Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh
Blackout by Connie Willis
All Clear by Connie Willis
The Tiger by John Vaillant

January 17, 2011

The State of My Reading 2010/2011

Ah, 2011.  A blank slate once again if you happen to be keeping track of things by calendar year.  I don’t keep track of much by calendar year, but my reading log is one of the few things.

It’s a bit late, I know, to start rhapsodizing about the new year – almost three weeks too late.  But, if you haven’t heard, I’ve been down sick with the first trimester of a brand-new pregnancy for the last two months and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to pick up a book or sit in front of a word processor without feeling immediately nauseous.  So my new year of reading begins now, a bit late, just as my old year of reading had to be aborted a little early.

2010 wasn’t a bad year for me.  I read exactly 40 books, and on top of that 32 graphic novels.  This is very nearly double what I read in 2008 and 2009 (22 & 21 books respectively) though not so amazing as the 46 I read in 2006 (including such bricks as War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged and Richard Fortey’s The Earth).  That was back before I had kids, or had taken up knitting – reading disruptors both.  For a complete list you can always look here, but I always prefer to end my year with a tallying of meaningless statistics, in order to make my reading resemble a scientific undertaking.

Books Read in 2010: 40
Non-Fiction: 12.5% (5/40)
“Children’s” or “Young Adult” Lit:  10% (4/40)
Read but Not Owned: 0.5% (2/40)
Bought in 2010: 60% (24/40)
Bought in Previous Years: 35% (14/40)
Bought in 2010 but Not Read: Don’t ask.
At This Rate, I’ll Be Crushed Under a Bookshelf By: 2025

Favourite 5 Books of 2010:

Margaret de Valois by Alexandre Dumas
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Possessed by Elif Batuman
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
KENK: A Graphic Portrait by Richard Poplak, Alex Jansen, Jason Gilmore & Nick Marinkovich

Biggest Accomplishment of 2010:  42.5% of the books I read were Canadian! 28% of the graphic novels too. Behold the science:


Looking ahead to 2011, I wanted to say I don’t have any goals. But in reality I have two whoppers: I want to finish all ten of the as-of-yet untouched Canada Reads and Canada Reads Independently 2011 books by March. And I would love, despite Beta’s arrival in July, to manage to read at least 20 books this year. That means I’d better choose my remaining 10 books carefully – and those chosen for me had better be great!

Wish me luck!

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