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Books, A Year in Review - 2010, Part I

Old Book Bindings, from Wikimedia CommonsWell, it's that time of year again, when I look back over my reading habits for the past 12 months*. I've been doing this for several years, now (see previous reviews for 2007, 2008, and 2009). It all started with an article about an AP-Ipsos poll on people's reading habits. Among other things, it pointed out that around 1 in 4 adults in this country hadn't read any books at all in the previous year, and that among those that had, the average number of books read was 6. (Yes, this is the second time I've copied that sentence verbatim).

Like in the past two years, I'm breaking this up into two entries. In the first, I'll reflect on my reading habits (which means it probably won't interest many people), and in the second, I'll give a brief review of each book.

So, here are all the books I read in the last year, sorted by topic instead of by the order in which I read them.

Children's & Young Adult Fiction

  1. Treasure Island
  2. The Higher Power of Lucky
  3. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
  4. Night of the Twisters
  5. Firegirl
  6. Lyra's Oxford
  7. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
  8. The Demigod Files (A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide)

Adult Fiction

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo
  2. Flatland/Sphereland (Everyday Handbook)
  3. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4
  4. Animal Farm: Centennial Edition
  5. The Android's Dream
  6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!


  1. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  2. Myths and Legends From Ancient Greece and Around the World
  3. Catholicism for Dummies, Pocket Edition**
  4. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
  5. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
  6. The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution
  7. Archaeopteryx: The Icon of Evolution

So, that's 21 books altogether - pretty close to what I've read the past two years.

I guess I might as well get used to it - I like kids books. Three of those kids books I read because my daughter read them and recommended them to me, but the other five I read entirely of my own volition.

I did read a bit more adult fiction this year than in years past. I've got a few books I want to read next year that should continue that trend.

I have to admit to not reading the full version of The Count of Monte Cristo. It was a paper back we had laying around the house, and I never took a close look at the cover. I was halfway into the book before I actually studied the cover and read "Translated and Abridged by Lowell Bair". At that point, I was too caught up in the story to put it down and wait until I had the full version. So, I went online and read about the translations. Many of the 'abridged' versions of The Count of Monte Cristo were actually censored versions - they left out parts that were unbecoming to Victorian sensibilities. The book I read included those parts, at least, but I have no idea how it compares to the full unabridged story.

My non-fiction books weren't so heavily biased towards biology this year. I only read two books on evolution. The first, The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution), was one that I'd specifically mentioned last year as being on my wish list. The other, Archaeopteryx: The Icon of Evolution, fulfilled one of my stated goals from last year, of getting "away from general evolutionary books, and more into those on specific topics." I still want to read Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom) and Why Evolution Is True. Maybe I'll get to them next year.

I did get into religious books a bit more this year than other years, although the pocket edition of Catholicism for Dummies hardly counts as a book (I almost left it off this list). I'll try to read at least one or two books on religion each year, but I don't know if I'll keep on reading as many as I did this year.

I'm still working on knocking out this list. I knocked out a few more this year, which only leaves 89 left to go.

All in all, I think my reading was pretty balanced this year, but I could probably add a little more history and philosophy in there.

Stay tuned for Part II, where I'll post my reviews for each book.

Update 2010-11-15 Part II is now online.

* Okay, I'm a little late this year. I usually do this post in October. To keep the comparison fair, I only included the books I read up until around the middle of October, and left off the books I've read since then.

** I found the pocket edition of Catholicism for Dummies in the dollar rack at Target. I haven't been able to find it online, yet, but I'll link to it if I ever do.

Updated 2010-11-10 I completely forgot about one of the books I'd read last year, The Demigod Files (A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide), so I added it, and updated the counts.

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