Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Big Fat End of 2009 Post

This year I have surpassed my goal of reading 50 books by reading 58 total. Earlier this month, I was hoping maybe I'd make it to 60 but didn't quite make it. Fifty-nine is a possibility but 60 probably is not (especially since I haven't wanted to read books that are too terribly short since I'm 6 reviews behind right now and need to get caught up).

A little over a week ago, I posted my favorite books from 2009 over at The Book Smugglers for their wonderful Smugglivus event. However, that list has changed slightly since then due to one wonderful book I received for Christmas so I will be posting a revised version, along with my best of 2009 releases read, favorite new discoveries and goals for 2010. I'm mostly going to link to reviews instead of writing about every book since this is long enough as is.

Favorite 2009 Releases

Twenty-one of the books I read this year were 2009 releases, largely due to the increased number of review copies I received during the latter half of this year. Out of those 21, my top 10 are as follows:

1. Fire by Kristin Cashore
2. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
3. Corambis by Sarah Monette
4. By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear
5. Silksinger by Laini Taylor
6. Kings and Assassins by Lane Robins
7. Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
8. Soulless by Gail Carriger
9. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
10. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Honorable mentions to some other books I agonized over removing from the list:
Biggest disappointment:
  • The Drowning City by Amanda Downum (not a bad book but not a particularly good one either)

Favorites of 2009

This list includes every single book read in 2009 regardless of publication date and was much harder to make. If you've seen my best of list already it's the same with one exception - number 1, which I just finished a couple of days ago as my final read of 2009 and LOVED.

1. The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (review forthcoming)
2. The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro
3. Fire by Kristin Cashore
4. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
5. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
6. Corambis by Sarah Monette
7. By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear
8. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
9. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
10. The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente

Honorable mentions (some of which I really agonized over not including):

Biggest Disappointment:
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (I think I am the only person who not only didn't love this book but also didn't even like it)

Favorite New Authors

Discovering new authors is always fun - and is one of the reasons I often neglect books by old authors I love to read ones by new-to-me authors. There are a lot of new authors I'm glad to have found in 2009.

Laini Taylor - Two of her books made it to my top books published in 2009 list and one of those made it within the top 5 of my very favorites of the year. Her writing is amazing and I look forward to reading much more from her, especially as each book I've read by her is even better than the one before.

Patricia Briggs - It's rare these days that I devour an entire series close together but I ended up doing just that after I read the first Mercy Thompson book (other than the book I was waiting for in paperback). It helps that they are short and just plain fun. Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite new characters I've read about this year with her distinct, humorous voice.

Kristin Cashore - Fire was so wonderful that I immediately purchased Graceling and read it by the end of this year.

Jacqueline Carey - I am late to the party for the Kushiel's Legacy books, but if the first one is any indication of the rest, I've got some great reading ahead. Santa Olivia was also very riveting although very different from Kushiel's Dart.

Other new-to-me authors I only read one book by this year but must read more of (in no particular order):
  • Tananarive Due
  • Joan D. Vinge
  • Jo Graham
  • Ginn Hale
  • Catherynne Valente
  • Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

Most Anticipated 2010 Books

There are so many books I'm looking foward to in 2010. There are 3 books coming out by 3 of my very favorite authors - Elizabeth Bear, Carol Berg and Robin Hobb. Plus I still have two books in one of my new favorite series to look forward to.
  • Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4) by Patricia Briggs (I know it's out but I've been waiting for the mass market paperback although I'm not sure if I can hold out another year for book 5 so we'll see how that works out)
  • Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5) by Patricia Briggs
  • The Sea Thy Mistress (Edda of Burdens #3) by Elizabeth Bear
  • The Spirit Lens (Collegia Magica #1) by Carol Berg
  • Dragon Keeper (Rain Wilds Chronicles #1) by Robin Hobb
  • Wings of Wrath (Magister #2) by C.S. Friedman (again, this is out but I'm waiting for the paperback release so my books match)
  • Stealing Fire by Jo Graham
  • Rebels and Lovers (Dock 5 #4) by Linnea Sinclair
  • Hell Fire (Corine Solomon #2) by Ann Aguirre
  • Killbox (Grimspace #4) by Ann Aguirre
  • A Local Habitation (October Daye #2) by Seanan McGuire (fortunately, I have an ARC!)
2010 Goals

My main goal for 2010 is to make fewer goals for myself. In 2009 I made a whole bunch and I managed to read at least one book that fit into each, even if not as much as I'd planned. But I'm largely a mood reader and like to read based on what I feel like reading at the moment instead of by what I'd planned for the month. So I'm sticking to very basic goals for this coming year that should be fun and easy to accomplish.

1. Read 50 books

I've done this one two years in row so it shouldn't be that difficult, although it is also not an easy goal for me with the amount of spare time I have. So I've decided not to raise it even though I've done it already.

2. Read more science fiction

2008 was a good year for me as far as reading a lot of science fiction goes, but I didn't read nearly as much as 2009. Because of this my husband got me mostly scifi books for Christmas books so that should make this goal even more attainable.

3. Make progress in some of these series I've started

It's kind of sad how many series I've begun and not finished over the last couple of years - the Mistborn trilogy, the Probability trilogy, the Skolian Saga, and the Miles Vorkosigan series, to name a few. I've decided to concentrate on reading more of the latter two since I already have most of the books in both series and it goes with goal #2 since they're all space opera.

4. Read the following books that are on my bookshelf

Some of these I keep putting off because they're long or maybe I just keep putting them off for new-to-me authors. Then there are two that I have decided I must read because I have heard such wonderful things about these writers.
  • Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
  • Calenture by Storm Constantine
  • Night's Master by Tanith Lee
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (new to me author that I keep hearing about)
  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (new to me author that I keep hearing about

So that's 2009 and what I hope for in 2010. What were your favorite books of the year? Is there anything you've decided is a must-read for 2010?


orannia said...

I'm sorry to say I haven't read any of your favourite books, but I do have a few on my TBR list, including Corambis (which I can't wait to read :)

Must reads for 2010...Corambis (of course) and A Companion of Wolves. Hmmm. Dragon Soul, the third book by Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett and Seer of Sevenwaters (Juliet Marillier). Also City of Night (Michelle West). I love Michelle West!

Happy New Year!

Kristen said...

Happy New Year Orannia! I forgot about Michelle West; she's another author in the to-read pile that I have yet to sample. And I will read Juliet Marillier in 2010!

Angiegirl said...

I love your breakdown, Kristen. Very interesting. I'm still so happy you loved FIRE that much. And I can't wait to hear what you think of DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST and MAGIC BITES. :) Happy New Year!

Kristen said...

Happy New Year, Angiegirl! I hope you have a great one - filled with lots of good books! ;) Yes, Fire was wonderful - I'm so glad I read it this year. Now I just need to read The Thief...

Memory said...

Sounds like a good reading year. LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES is on my Must-Read list for 2010, due in large part to what you had to say about it!

Kristen said...

Memory - It was a pretty good reading year. I can't wait to hear what you think about Lips Touch: Three Times!

Anastasia said...

I love that you loved The Snow Queen! Don't wait too long to read Summer Queen, as it's a direct sequel, and it's also very good.

My goal for 2010 is to read the books that I've already purchased, and not increase the to-read pile. With an exception for books that you loved. I think it's awesome that our reading tastes are so similar.

Kristen said...

Anastasia - For a little while, The Snow Queen was a bit slow for me but once everything started coming together, I couldn't put it down. Loved Tiamat, the ending, the contrast between Moon and Arienrhod, pretty much everything. I just ordered The Summer Queen a few minutes ago so I shouldn't have to wait too long to read it. Thought about ordering The Maerlande Chronicles with it but it was out of stock so I ended up ordering Salt of the Air instead (based on the Amazon review you wrote of it).

Not increasing the to-read pile sounds like a good goal for 2010. It's one I should probably make myself but I know I'd fail miserably, especially with some of the books that are coming out this year.

I love finding people with similar taste in books - it makes figuring out which ones to buy so much easier. :)

orannia said...

Oh, I so look forward to hearing what you think of Michelle West/Sagara :)

Kristen said...

Orannia - Maybe if I finish my 5 picks early enough in the year, I'll start a new-to-me authors list. Or maybe I should make one anyway since I only picked two of those... Hm...