Thursday, December 30, 2010

It was a pretty OK year, 2010

But I hope 2011 is even better. :)

I read 106 books. I'll spare you the list, but you can see it on my Reads page. Not nearly enough of those were read in the tub, and too many were read in airports waiting for business trips, but hey.

One of those - Alexandra Bullen's Wish - was even read on my new Christmas kindle. :)

I've been thinking about what books I remember best, that I read earlier this year.
  • Best romance: It's hard to pick one, but I will. Emily Horner's A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend. Emily Horner's debut novel covers heavy topics like bullying, homosexuality, death and grief, but without pulling any punches she manages to weave in some real humor and a beautiful story of friendship and romance. 
  • Runner up:  Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. This is one of the first books I read this year and not only do I remember it well, but I'm dying to re-read it. Snarky, strong MC, hot bad-boy cop love interest, handcuffs. It's everything I need in a romance.
  • Best fairy tale: Nancy Werlin's Impossible. Beautifully written take-off on the song Scarborough Fair in a contemporary setting, with a strong MC, involved parents (such a rarity to see in YA!) and a compelling love story. It really stood out as unique this year.
  • Best male love interest: Jace in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. I love these books, but I'll probably re-read just for Jace. How does Cassandra Clare make someone on the written page so HOT?
  • Best female love interest: John Green's Looking For Alaska. John Green writes bigger-than-life, funny, awesome, deeply troubled female love interests, and I adore him for it.
  • Best humor: Debut novelist Chelsea M. Campbell in The Rise of Renegade X. I often sit next to my husband on the couch and laugh out loud in a distracting, sometimes alarming, fashion while I'm reading, but this book was the most distracting, alarming thing all year. I even sent Chelsea Campbell a fan-girl email, that's how much I loved it (and she was nice enough to send me an email back, which I thought was pretty awesome).
  • Most disturbing: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. OMG. This story - of a girl kidnapped and held by a pedophile for years - was the most heartbreaking, emotionally devastating novel I've read. But Elizabeth Scott finds a believable way to end it, while tragically, on a note of hope and courage.
  • Most thought-provoking: I'm going to go with Suzzane Collins' Mockingjay,. This is the book that launched a hundred discussions, about everything from how Collins portrayed war to whether Mockingjay's conclusion was really satisfying - from philosophy to craft.
I read a lot of awesome books in 2010, these were just especially memorable. Also, I have to give a nod to my favorite cookbooks of the year, Artisinal Bread In Five Minutes A Day and Glorious One Pot Meals, for helping me stay fed while I read obssesively.  Fresh-baked bread and easy, nommy food.

And in terms of my books ever seeing print themselves - well.  I finished the rough draft of The Goddess of Vengeance Wore Pink Galoshes and started work on revisions. I learned to think of revisions in a whole new way - as an important part of the creative process instead of just being clean-up. I took a fantastic writing class, sponsored by the National Endowment For the Arts. I sent out 20 submissions for short stories and poetry to lit journals (no love yet).

In some ways, I feel like I didn't make any forward progress this year. No agent. No new publication credits. I don't even have anything done that I'm ready to query yet, although I hope to be there soon.

But I learned a lot. And I read a lot. I think I'm growing as a writer every day, and I'm excited about the craft. So maybe that's enough forward motion for me, for this year.

We'll see what 2011 holds.


Jamie Burch said...

Hope all your writing dreams come true in 2011! Good luck with all your plans and goals.

Happy New Year!

Shelley Sly said...

Sounds like you had a pretty good year. You've made progress, whether it feels like it or not. Thanks for the book recommendations, I'm definitely going to check out The Rise of Renegade X. :)

Good luck with all of your writing and reading goals in 2011 and have a Happy New Year!

My Woman Cave said...

Holy sh1t, that's a lot of books! I never read that much. However, I'm honeymooning in June and need recommendations for books so I will be checking these out for sure! :) P.S. Love your blog ... first-time commenting. ;)

Sophia said...

You read over one hundred books, finished writing a novel (something too many people say they want to do but never get round to), you've been actively improving your craft through a writing class and you've put yourself out there by submitting your work- a pretty courageous step. I'd say you got plenty done!

I get what you mean when you say you don't feel like you've made forward progress because you're not yet at the next stage but honestly, you've been doing your part as the writer by writing and submitting- getting an agent and getting published just aren't in your control. You're already doing everything you should be. Show yourself some love and keep up the good work in the new year!
- Sophia.

Carrie said...

I really liked Nancy Werlin's Impossible as well.

Carrie said...

I really liked Nancy Werlin's Impossible as well.

Old Kitty said...

But you read 106 books!! That is just amazing!! I am in awe and am so gobsmacked and so impressed!! Good for you!! Yay!!! I have everything crossed that 2011 is going to be an even more amazing year for you!!! Hang on in there - you can do this!! :-) Take care

Trisha said...

106 is a lotta books! for me anyway ;) I'm a slow reader.

I'm excited about 2011 too!

Stephanie said...

Good luck in 2011!! I added a couple of those books to my TBR list! They sound aweome!!

W.B. said...

I'm glad to hear that you had a good year (that rhymes :P). I look forward to seeing more from you in 2011, and that it brings you joy.

I have a stack of books that I want to read next year, although I don't know if that's ever going to happen.


Ellen Brickley said...

Thanks for the recommendations, Guinevere, I've put a few of them on my to-read list!

Your 2010 sounds like mine - lots of invisible achievements. They count too :)

Anonymous said...

great list!!!

Trisha said...

Some of those books sound awesome!!

notesfromnadir said...

Wishing you all the best in achieving your writing goals this year. Meanwhile, keep writing, querying & reading. You learn something from every book you read.

Angela Ackerman said...

I read Living Dead Girl this year too, and you nailed it. I have never read a more disturbing book. I was glad I read it too, even though it breaks the heart because you know that somewhere out there, Alice is real.

I hope to read a lot more this coming year--maybe not 106, but a lot!

Way to go!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

alexia said...

Jace is a really great character - love that series!

theTsaritsa said...

The Campbell book sounds good, I may have to add that to my list. Over 100 books? Damn, I wish I read as often as that!