Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010 Book Report: First Quarter

I'm determined to do better this year at wading through my reading list; I want to hit the magic 100-book mark, an average of two books a week. Let's see how much progress I made during the first quarter.

Key: C: Children's; F: Fantasy; H: Historical; Hr: Horror; M: Mystery; MG: Middle Grade (ages 8-12); NF: Nonfiction; P: Poetry; SF: Science Fiction; SS: Short Stories; V: Verse novel; YA: Young Adult (age 13+); *not in the last ten years at least; ^read for work.

01/02/10: Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (YA, F, 4 or 5)
01/04/10: Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife (YA, F, 4 or 5)
01/10/10: Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (YA, F, 4 or 5)
01/17/10: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (classic, 4 or 5)
01/23/10: Carrie Bebris, North by Northanger (M, 1)
01/27/10: Tanita S. Davis, Mare's War (YA, 1)
01/29/10: Naomi Novik, His Majesty's Dragon (F, 2)
01/31/10: Naomi Novik, Throne of Jade (F, 2)
02/15/10: Ann Radcliffe, Mysteries of Udolpho (classic, 1)
02/20/10: Sara Lewis Holmes, Operation Yes (MG, 1)
02/21/10: Elizabeth M. Hemingway, Road to Tater Hill (MG, H, 1)
02/28/10: Matthew Lewis, The Monk (classic, 1)
03/03/10: C. J. Omololu, Dirty Little Secrets (YA, 1)
03/04/10: Robert Russa Moton, Finding a Way Out^ (memoir, 1)
03/04/10: Cissy Houston, How Sweet the Sound^ (memoir, 1)
03/08/10: Art Rust, Jr., Confessions of a Baseball Junkie^ (memoir, 1)
03/13/10: Naomi Novik, Black Powder War (F, 1)
03/14/10: Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (classic, 1)
03/16/10: Jane Gillespie, Uninvited Guests (H, 1)
03/19/10: Madeleine George, Looks (YA, 1)
03/23/10: Naomi Novik, Empire of Ivory (F, 1)
03/27/10: Michael Lewis, The Blind Side (NF, 1)
03/31/10: Richard Schickel, Elia Kazan: A Biography^ (NF, 1)

That's 23 books for the quarter; not quite enough to keep me on pace for my yearly target of 100 books, but pretty good, considering how much time Mysteries of Udolpho sucked out of my life. (And yes, "sucked" is the appropriate word.) I also read quite a few books for work, but only listed the ones I read all the way through.

So what was my favorite new read of the quarter? Michael Lewis's The Blind Side was just as fun as the movie—with the added bonus of more football background—and Tanita Davis's Mare's War was a really fascinating historical YA about African American women serving in WWII. But I think my favorite was Naomi Novik's Empire of Ivory, the fourth volume in her "Temeraire" series. While the series presents a really fun concept—the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragon air forces—it's great when you get further into a series and the author keeps expanding the world in ways you couldn't foresee. That's what Empire of Ivory does, taking the dragon Temeraire and his crew into Africa and presenting a really interesting variation on dragon-human culture, at the same time keeping the adventure and character development coming.

Will the fifth Temeraire book be my favorite in second quarter 2010? I guess you'll have to check back in three months to find out.

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