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Year in Books 2010

Your Humble Blogger seems to have read 102 books in 2010, counting only two that I know I read but didn’t blog (Rough Crossing, for which I am planning to audition in the Spring, and The Return of the King, to finish up my reread). Of those 38 were re-reads and 64 were new to me. I also read 64 books in 2009 (and only 36 re-reads), and that is pretty much the median and the mean and the mode over the last seven years. OK, not exactly: the mean is 70, but it’s the median and the mode, and it’s as close to the mean as any of the other whole numbers are. Except the 75 books from 2004, obviously. Look, nobody cares about the statistics, anyway. All right? I’ll skip straight to the…

Ten or Eleven Books Your Humble Blogger Enjoyed Reading in 2010

Year of the King, Antony Sher’s Diary about his preparation for playing the lead in Richard III, stands out as a vastly enjoyable book. Of course, I was preparing to play Buckingham, myself, so I was more than ordinarily interested, but still, it’s a marvelous book.

A Song for Summer may have been my favorite of all the books I read this year. I have been enjoying Eva Ibbotson’s stuff for a while, now, and this is my favorite of them. Alas, there will be no more. Still, we have this one: escapes from Nazis, false names, cooking, music, heartbreak, bombs, nudism, suffragettes, flowers, Brecht and the importance of good manners.

My Victorian Novel kick proceeds apace; Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South was probably my favorite of this year’s books.

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear is my least favorite of Walter Moers’sees’ novels, but still makes the list of books I enjoyed reading, so if you have not given yourself a taste of his stuff, I think you are missing something.

I’ll add The City & The City on to the list; it was an excellent book. I do have some problems with the resolution, such as it was, but the purpose of the list is not to find flawless books, and besides, an ambitious book like this one is bound to be flawed, one way or another.

I read a lot of Young Adult specfic this year (28, actually, which may be a record) (well, a modern record, not counting the days when my adultness was actually youthful, or really only putative) and perhaps my favorite was Princess of the Midnight Ball, a Jessica Day George book that, it turns out, now has a sequel. Hm. I haven’t seen the sequel, but I hadn’t been looking for it, either.

I enjoyed The Secret of Zoom, which was good fun. I don’t know if Lynne Jonell is planning a sequel; she seems to be concentrating on her Emmy stories, which is not a bad thing, either.

I’ll also mention The Hunger Games, which is terrific, although any Gentle Readers who are interested in YASF will have heard about the series by now. I haven’t read the second one yet, but the first did live up to the hype. Which is not the usual case, of course.

Plain Kate sticks out in my memory as worth mentioning, too. It’s Erin Bow’s first book, I think, so there’s the advantage of finding a new author, who perhaps has some more books inside just waiting to come out.

And I’ll finish with a play called Good Morning, Bill, from Four Plays by P.G. Wodehouse. It’s based on a play by Ladislaus Fodor, who evidently wrote a million other plays, none of which we have in our library. Alas. In 1931, TIME magazine said in reference to Mr. Fodor, “Some doubt exists as to whether all Hungarian plays not written by Ferenc Molnar are originally dull…”; whether it was originally dull, Mr. Wodehouse’s version is not.

And that’s my Year in Books.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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