And the year’s book count is…

What's On the Bookshelf?


Yes, I know that there are still five days left in 2010, but I doubt that I will finish Les Miserables by then (reading a non-abridged translation…current update is: finished Book One). I’m hoping to finish Les Miserables before I return to school mid-January.

2010 was a good year for me, book reading wise. Way back in middle school, my favorite teacher suggested that I make a list of every book I read. Took a few years, but I finally got around to it. I think it’s a pretty successful exercise, and I’ll be continuing in 2011.

2011, along with having my list of what books I’ve read, will include a list of movies I’ve watched. I considered starting it this October, when I started watching a TON of classic and generally awesome movies. But that list will start January 1st as well.

As for the books I read this year, there were a few stand-outs, particularly in the getting-me-to-be-creative front. First up is Dante’s La Vita Nuova/The New Life. I read The Prince with the thought that Macchiavelli’s work would help with word-building (particularly around the power department), but it was Dante’s reshaping poetry that really stuck.

For sheer captivation, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy really grabbed my attention. I guess that 2010 was the year of the Spy for me, reading three works by John Le Carre, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale and numerous books on spy television for my epic thesis.

And, to keep me from losing sight on the small things, Alexander McCall Smith’s works. I’ve caught up with his wonderful 44 Scotland Street series and am anxiously awaiting the release of the next one. Plus, I met Mr McCall Smith, which was wonderful.

So, what does 2011 have in store for me? Well, after finishing Victor Hugo’s epic Les Miserables, I have no idea. I want to read some of Len Deighton’s stuff, and will probably read Smiley’s People by John Le Carre (I must know how the Karla saga ends).

7 thoughts on “And the year’s book count is…

  1. I’ve been keeping that reading list for probably 30 years (would you believe I started reading at two years old?). I don’t know what there is about it, but I am compelled to keep the list. Maybe it’s motivational in some way. One year I tried to write down every book I could think of that I had read since childhood in the years prior to keeping the regular list. I’m sure I didn’t get a third of them.

    What’s really interesting is going over a list from a few years back and being completely baffled by some of the titles. Clearly the books left no impression on me; I can’t remember the plots of some of them, but these are few.

    I’m working on Iris Murdoch’s The Book and the Brotherhood right now. It’s 600 pages, and though I’m more than halfway through it, I don’t think I’ll have it finished by the end of the year either.


    1. Even looking back over the titles of the books I read this year…some of them failed to leave much of an impression and I forgot that I read them.

      I’ve never read anything of Iris Murdoch’s. Do you have any suggestions for one of hers to start with?


  2. IM writes about ideas. She won the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea, which is her retelling of The Tempest. Or you might try The Bell, which is one of her earlier novels (and a bit shorter). I’ve been reading her novels in the sequence they were published, and I only have three left. What will I do then but start at the beginning again!


  3. Soooo, I’m a lazy person relying on your knowledge to guide me:
    nearly done Tinker, Tailor (70 pages that will be devoured approximately 10 minutes from now), so is this the first Karla book? In other words, what do I pick up from the library tomorrow?
    Also, what’s the 3rd Le Carre book you read (Honourable Schoolboy and…)?
    Finally, I came VERY close to purchasing The Sea, The Sea three days ago in a used book store in Arizona. Instead I came home with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (and The Pillars of the Earth from my grandmother). Both will be following me for a while, so you’ll be sure to have a stab at them in the coming months.


    1. You get The Honorable Schoolboy! Or you wait until mid January until you can borrow my copy. 🙂
      The third Karla book is Smiley’s People. Which I will be reading once we get back to school. And if you read it before me, I will be terribly jealous.
      The third one I’ve read is The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. I also have Russia House, which I have yet to read.

      I need to borrow Rebecca from you.

      Oh, and Les Miserables is wonderful.


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