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>100 Books: The Breakdown!

>It’s been almost 24 hours and I still can’t believe it: I read 100 books this year! Whee! Done and done! I continually drew inspiration from 200 Books, who also made her goal. Congratulations, Mandi! I was also awed and inspired by Both Eyes, who read 400 books. I’d congratulate Jessica too, but my jaw remains chronically dropped open and I’ve got a crick in my neck from staring up at her on the bookworm version of Mt. Olympus.

As if meeting my goal wasn’t wonderful enough, I capped it all off with a terrific book: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Journey. This 1959 account by journalist Alfred Lansing is the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men who attempted to be the first to cross Antarctica, but ended up trapped in an ice floe in the Weddell Sea for nearly a year. When their ship, Endurance, finally succumbed to the punishing ice, the men camped on a floe for several months, then managed to travel by lifeboat to Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton embarked on a daring and dangerous but ultimately successful rescue of his team. These guys must have been made of iron to have survived practically every cruel trick Nature could play. If this were a movie, we’d all be rolling our eyes and saying “too much Hollywood”. If you live in Korea, I’ll loan my copy of this book to you. The rest of you should hie yourselves to your nearest library or bookstore and stalk the shelves till you find this enthralling tale.

In the first flush of success, I got all geeky and did a breakdown of how my finest year as a bookworm went:

Fiction: 56

Nonfiction: 44 (I’m hoping that one of these years, I’ll have an exactly even split.)

Pulitzer prizewinners: 8 (I’ve had a lot of fun with this challenge!)

Science fiction novels: 1 (Twenty-seven years after my Extremely Nice Boyfriend implored me to read The Left Hand of Darkness, I finally got it done. Wow, I loved it! I indirectly sent word to ex-ENB, but so far, no reply.)

Mysteries: 2

Re-reads: 5

Male authors: 69

Female authors: 31 (I was slightly surprised by these numbers, but I’ve long suspected that my reading tastes are becoming more masculine.)

Books written 1801-1900: 3 (My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is wincing at this low number.)
Books written 1901-1950: 7
Books written 1951-2000: 40
Books written 2001-2008: 50

In spite of stalling on the Orbis Terrarum Challenge, my international reading went well, but the numbers are still woefully lopsided in favor of my home country. I’m an expat bookworm. I could and should do better:

Argentina: 1

Canada: 10 (better than last year’s paltry score of 1, eh?)

China: 1

England: 13

France: 4 (I meant to get to Cousin Bette by the end of the year. Oh, well…)

New Zealand: 4 (Thanks to my Kiwi co-worker, Willie!)

South Korea: 5

USA: 62

Shortest book: The Coldest Place On Earth 40 pages

Longest book: The Pillars Of The Earth 1000+ pages

Happy discoveries: Nick Hornby, Robertson Davies, Ken Follett and Wallace Stegner

I’ll bask for a while, then turn a glacial eye towards the challenges I didn’t complete, and revisit my bookworm resolutions from the beginning of 2008.

Happy Book Year to everyone!


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