On what I read and when

Sunday February 07, 2010 @ 10:20 PM (UTC)

I’m planning, tho’ it’s February, to blog about my two favorite books of 2009. I found myself about to confess my love of an award-winner from several years ago with the words “I’m a bit late to this party”. But I can’t really apologize for being a late reader with any sincerity, since it’s something I don’t plan to change.

My list of books to read, housed at Goodreads and LibraryThing, is well over 200. Those lists, while they capture all the recent additions, probably miss a few books tucked on shelves that I’ll “get to eventually”. I have a daunting, delicious heap of books to read, many of them already made manifest through the cunning use of Powell’s gift cards. Therefore, I’ve a natural reticence about adding to the list.

It usually takes more than one ‘strike’ for a book to get added to my list, unless the strike is a doozy (recommendation comes from great authority, I need an audiobook and it’s on the library shelf, et c.) I wait for a general impression to accumulate: people whose taste I tend to share say ‘yea’ (often I couldn’t even tell you who by the time I get the book), it’s a Powell’s staff pick, the blurbers are writers I admire, the premise is interesting, and so on. The thing about my accumulation system is that it takes a while. Rave reviews when a book is fresh don’t count as much with me, subconsciously, as continued mention a few months down the road, and even my early-reading pals take a while to work through a book and share their opinions. I don’t tend to buy new books, or even put them on my list.

This puts me at odds, I think, with Jo(e) Q. Public, and even with my younger self, who counted her allowance money and waited with anguish for the latest Mercedes Lackey book to come out in paperback. My reading is more erratic and my choices more eccentric these days, but it’s making me happy. I very seldom read a book in paper that doesn’t, at very least, entertain me. My delayed reading system probably contributes quite a bit to that.

That doesn’t make it any less embarrassing, though, when my favorite books of 2009 were published in 2007 and 1988, and my 2008 picks were the 2000 Booker winner and a masterpiece from 1925.

Do you read a lot of new releases? How long is your list?


My book list at Goodreads is at 285. I have a few titles saved at my library’s website as well. My criteria for friends’ reviews and recommendations seem as similar to and erratic as yours. It’s a complicated confluence of fluid formulas. I find that I get a lot more nonfiction read via audiobooks, and I do a lot of my YA that way as well. I’ll listen to any Barbara Kingsolver via audiobook if she’s reading it. Same with Gaiman, I think. The whole concept is delicious :-)

I haven’t really read a lot of author-read audiobooks. I’m glad there’s a trend, though. I would love to do my own audiobooks — I used to want to read audiobooks as a career and was disappointed to find out you mostwise had to be an actor first. Nothing against acting, but I wanted to read audiobooks. :P (P.S. I heard a rumor all the stories at Tor.com are also author-read podcasts. That’s pretty cool.)

Your list is longer than mine. At GR I’m at 224 and at LT I’m at 249! I try to keep it shorter than the ones I’ve entered as ‘read’. (Obviously I’ve read a lot more than 250 books in my life, but I haven’t entered very many, you know?)

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