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Flash disclaimer:

I know many wonderful writers now, and I’ve read many of their wonderful books. But to be impartial, I won’t include them on my Top Ten List, ‘kay? It would be dubious.


I just counted up the number of books I read this year, and it became clear that I am READING TOO MUCH.


Ninety-three books! However, that includes five books that I started and gave up on, or had to return to the library without finishing.

One reason my book-count is so high this year is that I read the books of everyone I interviewed for Authorial Intrusion. I would have read their books eventually, I’m sure, but with weekly posts … I had to keep up!

And I was only half-joking about the ‘reading too much’ line – I do think that all of that reading crept into my writing time. Sigh. I guess there’s only one solution.

Quit that pesky day job.

Oh wait.

Shelter, food, clothing, college fund, and uh … books.

So the day job stays.

2006 Top Ten Favorite Books Written by People I Do Not Know

(I read very little adult fiction this year, and as I check my list, I’m sorry to say that I read no classics. I will rectify that soon with Sanctuary, by William Faulkner. melissa_writing blogged about her passion for this book several months ago, and I even bought a copy.)

Adult Fiction
Bad Monkeys, by Matt Ruff
This book is wildly original. One reviewer even compared it to the movie “Memento.” I loved every page except the very last one. I still recommend it, and I want to hear what you think, if you read it!

I Love You, Beth Cooper, by Larry Doyle
This book is darkly, crazily funny. I laughed so hard while I was reading it in bed, I had to stop because I kept waking up my husband.

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
Amazing. I predict that if you liked Angela’s Ashes, you will love this book. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up – a friend loaned it to me and said, “You will love this.” She was right.

Historical Time-Travel Romance:
Now there’s a genre I never expected to put on my list! When I finished the first book – Outlander - and immediately missed the characters so much that I wanted to hurry back to their world, I knew I’d fallen in love … with a new series. Ahhhh. I dashed through Dragonfly in Amber, and slowed down to savor Voyager. I’m going to make myself wait a little while before I sink with a sigh of pleasure into Drums of Autumn. (I’m counting this series as one book on my Top Ten.)

Young Adult
Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Is there anyone out there who hasn’t read this book yet? It’s the story of what happens after an asteroid strikes the moon, shifting it closer to Earth. The resulting tsunamis, weather disasters, and pandemic illnesses cause “life as we knew it” to change forever. We see the impact of global disaster on a small scale through the eyes of 16-year-old Miranda, who maintains a diary of her daily life, even after she begins to fear there will be no one left to read it. This book made me want buy a woodstove and stockpile supplies. There’s a sequel coming out in a few months – I can’t wait!

Dramarama, by E. Lockhart
As a former theatre geek and frequent drama queen, this book was perfect for me. But you don’t have to be a theatre geek to enjoy this story about two best friends who are accepted into a competitive summer camp for the performing arts.

A Countess Below Stairs, by Eva Ibbotson
The only Eva Ibbotson book I’d ever read before this one was Island of the Aunts, so I’m really glad that the publisher reissued her YA-ish romances. I’ve read three now. They’re layered and absorbing and suspenseful – even though you know they’re going to end happily. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want in a book.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
This is an absolutely perfect YA, especially for boys. I wanted to run out and put it in the hands of every teenage boy I met after I finished it. My love of the book is tempered only by my regret that it beat friend sarazarr’s book for the National Book Award.

Middle Grade
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, by Laura Amy Schlitz
Any book that literaticat thinks is terrific is guaranteed to be worth reading, and this one lives up to her praise. It’s gothic and creepy and page-turning. An unusual premise, too – orphan girl is adopted by spinster sisters to help them stage séances for grieving parents. *shudders*

In a Class by Itself
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I’ve never looked forward to the release of a book so much in my life, and I never expect to again. I found it completely satisfying. J.K. Rowling even managed to allow secondary characters from as far back as the first book to step into view again, if only for a moment, as if giving them a chance to say goodbye to the audience. Brilliant. That she successfully resolved a seven-book series of this breadth is nothing less than amazing. I can’t help but admire her courage, too. Think of how she must have worried and doubted herself as she forged ahead, knowing the gigantic expectations for each new book. But maybe she was fired with inner certainty as she worked. She was most definitely fired with the bright light of imagination.

Other Minutiae and Magnitudiae from 2007:

Most Fun Trip With My Family
Great Britain! (See copious notes here.)

Most Fun Trip Without My Family
Oh my God, I forgot to take time for myself! Sigh. Here’s my weekend writing retreat from a year ago: http://lkmadigan.livejournal.com/53913.html. Second sigh.

Dream-Come-True Way for Word Geeks to Raise Money for Charity
This site is real and it’s magnificent. Check it out: http://www.freerice.com/index.php

Favorite New Netflix Candy
"Grey’s Anatomy.” I finally got around to watching this series. I didn’t go all the way back to the first season, but I watched all of the second and third seasons, and found free downloads for some new episodes on an ABC site. Meredith is starting to seriously annoy me, and I’m hoping to see less of Izzie crying. The thing I love most about this series is its color-blindness. From the main characters to the extras, there’s an excellent representation of people of all colors – with only the occasional mention of race.

Favorite New DVDs
“My So-Called Life.” Ahhh, Jordan Catalano. :-) When I was Angela’s age, I too would have been madly in love with Jordan. Now that I’m older, I have a little crush on Brian, the smart but hair-challenged neighbor boy who loves Angela in vain. I swooned when he stood up to the school principal. That’s hott.

First Book I Read This Year:
The Best American Short Stories 2006
And … it has been sitting on my bedside table, unfinished, the entire year. I dunno. I buy this anthology every year. I usually dive right in and devour the stories with pleasure. But this one? I started reading. I got through a few stories. I skipped ahead. I skimmed. I felt my eyes glaze over a lot. I took in big blocks of text without enough dialogue. I met characters I didn’t care about. *shrug* I guess Ann Patchett and I have different taste in reading material.

Last Book I Read This Year
The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
I first learned about Trickster in a Native American Literature class in college, and have been fascinated by this character ever since. I even put one – a girl, oddly enough! – in my own book.

Can’t Wait for These Things in 2008
Good news for my own book, I hope!
Trip to Hawaii in June! Hopefully we will have paid off the Great Britain trip in time for Hawaii. :-/
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in theatres in November!

2008 Writing Goals
Hmm. I’m not going to set word-count goals or talk about how many books I want to work on. I think my 2008 goal should be to feel less guilty when I’m not writing. I think writers spend a LOT of their time agonizing over time spent doing other things when they “should” be writing. Or is it just me? The words are important … but so are people. And down-time. I often find that I get flashes of inspiration when I least expect it, so I need to remind myself that it’s okay not to write. I can’t stay away long, anyway, so why do I allow guilt to taint my non-writing time? Enough!

With that in mind, I’m off to see “Atonement” with a friend. :-)

xoxo to all of you and see you next year!


( 16 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
Dec. 30th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
I loved your New Year's post. :_

So much so, I even read it twice. (So I suppose I will love your book, too, and good luck in finding a publishing home!)

Dec. 31st, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
Thanks, Marybeth!

Can't wait to read TRACKING DADDY DOWN.

Dec. 30th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm not sure I read 10 books this year by people I do not know! I think I did...but it'd be close. I'm pretty sure that I read more books by people I do know than by people I didn't! (And that's the main reason I didn't include a favorite books of the year category in my own summary of the year. I didn't want to play favorites or make anyone feel bad!)
Dec. 31st, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
The fact that you have time to read AT ALL is worth celebrating - with three kids, one of whom is a baby!

Dec. 30th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
I have only read one book on your list, so now I have a list of books to add to my always-growing list.

Yay - time to go! :)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Thanks, Melodye. I hope we meet again in 2008, too! xo

Dec. 31st, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
Great lists! I might have to try something like this...tomorrow (he-he -- procrastination might be my favorite word).

And I totally agree with you on HPDH -- I don't expect to anticipate another book like that again. But once is good :)
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Okay, you do a list tomorrow and I'll do some writing. Agreed?

Dec. 31st, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
Tee-hee...lists is writing...right? :)
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
AWESOME listiness!!

I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Atonement.
And happy new year to you!
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
The movie theatre - in fact, the whole block - lost power during the previews.


But at least the movie hadn't even started yet - how horrible would it be to lose power with ten minutes to go before the end?!?!
Dec. 31st, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
Some of your faves are mine too! I'm loving the Eva Ibbotson YAs, ditto Drowned Maiden's Hair and Life As We Knew It... I'll have to check out the rest.
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
We have a lot in common! For example, we both have mermaid books in us. :-)

Dec. 31st, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
I also enjoyed A Drowned Maiden's Hair. I keep thinking about that book -- images will come back to me. And The Glass Castle -- wow! That story will never leave me, I think.

Dec. 31st, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
If you click on the link for Glass Castle above, it will take you to Powells Books. There's short video of Jeannette Walls talking about the book, and even visiting her mother. Fascinating.

Dec. 31st, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
93 books!! You are my hero! I consider it a fine year if I read 52. Great NY post, btw!
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