Wednesday, December 31, 2008

100 Books: The Breakdown!

It's been almost 24 hours and I still can't believe it: I read 100 books this year! Whee! Done and done! I continually drew inspiration from 200 Books, who also made her goal. Congratulations, Mandi! I was also awed and inspired by Both Eyes, who read 400 books. I'd congratulate Jessica too, but my jaw remains chronically dropped open and I've got a crick in my neck from staring up at her on the bookworm version of Mt. Olympus.

As if meeting my goal wasn't wonderful enough, I capped it all off with a terrific book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Journey. This 1959 account by journalist Alfred Lansing is the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men who attempted to be the first to cross Antarctica, but ended up trapped in an ice floe in the Weddell Sea for nearly a year. When their ship, Endurance, finally succumbed to the punishing ice, the men camped on a floe for several months, then managed to travel by lifeboat to Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton embarked on a daring and dangerous but ultimately successful rescue of his team. These guys must have been made of iron to have survived practically every cruel trick Nature could play. If this were a movie, we'd all be rolling our eyes and saying "too much Hollywood". If you live in Korea, I'll loan my copy of this book to you. The rest of you should hie yourselves to your nearest library or bookstore and stalk the shelves till you find this enthralling tale.

In the first flush of success, I got all geeky and did a breakdown of how my finest year as a bookworm went:

Fiction: 56

Nonfiction: 44 (I'm hoping that one of these years, I'll have an exactly even split.)

Pulitzer prizewinners: 8 (I've had a lot of fun with this challenge!)

Science fiction novels: 1 (Twenty-seven years after my Extremely Nice Boyfriend implored me to read The Left Hand of Darkness, I finally got it done. Wow, I loved it! I indirectly sent word to ex-ENB, but so far, no reply.)

Mysteries: 2

Re-reads: 5

Male authors: 69

Female authors: 31 (I was slightly surprised by these numbers, but I've long suspected that my reading tastes are becoming more masculine.)

Books written 1801-1900: 3 (My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is wincing at this low number.)
Books written 1901-1950: 7
Books written 1951-2000: 40
Books written 2001-2008: 50

In spite of stalling on the Orbis Terrarum Challenge, my international reading went well, but the numbers are still woefully lopsided in favor of my home country. I'm an expat bookworm. I could and should do better:

Argentina: 1

Canada: 10 (better than last year's paltry score of 1, eh?)

China: 1

England: 13

France: 4 (I meant to get to Cousin Bette by the end of the year. Oh, well...)

New Zealand: 4 (Thanks to my Kiwi co-worker, Willie!)

South Korea: 5

USA: 62

Shortest book: The Coldest Place On Earth 40 pages

Longest book: The Pillars Of The Earth 1000+ pages

Happy discoveries: Nick Hornby, Robertson Davies, Ken Follett and Wallace Stegner

I'll bask for a while, then turn a glacial eye towards the challenges I didn't complete, and revisit my bookworm resolutions from the beginning of 2008.

Happy Book Year to everyone!


Lezlie said...

Congratulations!! And Happy New Year!


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Congrats on such a great achievement! I'm so glad you finished with a book you enjoyed, and even gladder (is that a word?) that it was one of my favorites too. I listened to the audio version of Endurance last winter (in part) while driving through a snow storm - it was the perfect setting. I STILL can't believe what those guys lived through. That book alone has made me interested in Antarctic stories and I now have several others on my shelf just waiting to be read.

Anonymous said...

W.O.W. wow. congrats!
(and yippee to Mizzou, too!)
I like your categories and will shoot for a sum up like this on my 2009 reads. I'm not sure if am ready to commit to 100 but I'm darn proud of the ~75 I did in 08.

Anonymous said...

Shakelton's book is great!

I'm so happy for you Bybee and your T&CIB is proud too...she told me ;)

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Anonymous said...

Tee hee! You're silly!

Unknown said...

I also read The Left Hand of Darkness this year and loved it. I hope the ex-ENB appreciates it.

Eva said...

Yay Bybee!!! Congrats on hitting your goal-you should definitely bask! The only New Zealander I've read is Ngaio Marsh, although I have Katherine Mansfield on my shelf.

Endurance sounds like a great book for my dad!

Tara said...

Wow! Well done, Congratulations on meeting your goal. Now I have to go meet this person who read 400 books- sheesh! I will hope to reach 100 like you someday. Happy New year!

Sam said...

Nicely done, young lady. I'm particularly impressed that you came so close to reading almost as much nonfiction as fiction. That's always a goal of mine going into the new year - and it's always a goal I fail to achieve.

Happy New Year!

jenclair said...

Congratulations! Love the category of "Happy Discoveries."
I'm adding Endurance to my list; I was already interested in Arctic/Antarctic exploration and this will fit right in!

Literary Feline said...

Congratulations! Yes, I'm still amazed that someone read 400 books this year. :-)

It's always great to end a year with a good book. I finished The Tales of Beedle the Bard this morning and have to say it was a good way to end the year--a delightful little book. Now to decide what to start the new year with!

Have a great New Year!

Bybee said...


Wow, what a great setting to listen to the book in! I don't know if I could listen to all their was hard enough knowing that everything turned out OK in the end.

I'm wearing my new Mizzou hoodie right now! 75 is a good number -- I would've been happy with that.

My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm loves you so much...she's always threatening to quit me and go to you.

Oh my Goddess...I'm not worthy!!!

The Left Hand of Darkness was extremely cool and highly intelligent. I'm a Le Guin fan now!

Good idea for a dad gift! I'm gonna mention it again when Father's Day gets close.

If I had a proper kitchen and was able to get proper ingredients, I'm sure I'd be cooking more and reading less. Or at least reading cookbooks...that reminds me...the guys from the Endurance crew had a cookbook that they used as a fantasy tool, and they also made lists of the foods they most wanted when they got back to civilization.

Re: nonfiction -- I think if it hadn't been for book group reading almost all fiction and my pulitzer challenge, I might have come out even, or nonfiction might have ruled in 2008.

I'm glad you're putting Endurance on your list -- I'm really starting to get into these Arctic survival stories as well.

Lit Feline,
Jessica is generous with hints on how we, too, can read 400 -- although she doesn't recommend it.
Glad you wrapped up the year with a good read.

Lisa said...

Congratulations! That is pretty impressive indeed. Happy 2009!!

Unknown said...

You are so incredible! There is just so much proof! Thanks for encouraging me to not be so afraid of calling myself "a reader"...even though when I hang out with you I should feel even more inadequate about my reading - somehow I just feel inspired instead!!!

Tara said...

Wow, that sounds like an interesting book! That reminds me of Lilla's Feast - about an Englishwoman in a POW camp during WW2, who wrote a cookbook while she was there and had nothing to eat. It's about more than that, it's very good.