Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2011: A Year of 300+ Books For Me, Too

Thanks for the high praise in your Reading Year In Review post yesterday, Franki! You were ALWAYS reading more than you gave yourself credit for -- you just needed the perfect tool to keep track, and Goodreads is that tool.

For me, the trusty blank book was always my perfect tool. I have a whole shelf of book-books. Combined, they list every book I've read (minus the picture books) since 1987.

This year, when Goodreads unveiled the barcode scanner in the iPhone app, I began logging EVERY book I read in Goodreads. I still kept my book-book for novels (kid and adult) and for most of this year I wrote down a key quote for each book. (Other years, I've captured the first line or I've written a short summary.)

So I read more than 300 books this year, but in the end, I'm not at all satisfied with myself as a reader in 2011. My desires for my reading far outstrip the reality of what I know I can accomplish. I'd love to do the #nerdbery or #nerdcott challenges, but I know that wanting to do either one would never make them actually happen. Heck, I can't even do the #bookaday challenges with any kind of honesty and integrity! I think part of my problem is that when I hear about everything everyone else is reading, I want to read all those books and do all those challenges, too. It's a keeping up with the Joneses syndrome, but it's also about wanting to maintain my standing in the Nerdy Book Club, and there's a little bit of book gluttony thrown in. (All right, more than a little bit...)

Well, I've got a solution for this problem: I'm going to give myself permission to admire everyone else's goals and challenges...and I'm going to carry on with my own reading.

I've upped my personal goal to 92 children's and YA novels (I read 85 last year, so 92's not a huge stretch) and 20 adult books (I only read 15 last year, so 20 will be a push for me). 92+20 will give me 112 books in 2012 for the Centurions group on FaceBook. I'll keep track of picture books again this year just for the fun of seeing how high I can run my numbers up, but they won't really count for me.

Enough with the blathering about goals. Here's a sampling of some of my 5 Star books from 2011:


Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed From A Single Word by Bob Raczka
BookSpeak!: Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas


E-Mergency by Tom Lichtneheld


Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen


Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon


Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson


Level Up by Gene Yang
Sita's Ramayana by Samhita Arni


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

(Ann, Anna and Annie -- quite a trio!)


  1. Love your honesty and admire your goals for reading and the follow through you always do.

  2. Mary Lee, you read tons! More than 300 books is amazing. I was surprised when I looked at my Goodreads stats that I hadn't read more than I had--I was close to 200. 2011 is the first year I've tracked my books (turns out I only put in 7 books in 2010, so I just barely tried it out that year). It was an atypical year, I hope, schedulel-wise, and I'm hoping to read more this year. I always feel behind. It's wonderful that there are just SO many terrific books I hear about and want to read--but only so many hours in a day, too.

    I like your "carry on" goal:>) And I didn't know about the barcode scanner in the app--just installed the app because of that. Cool!

    And, of course, thanks for loving BOOKSPEAK! It means a lot that you're a fan of it!

  3. I love that you have a goal for adult books. I read so few of those outside of professional books. And I adored Clementine and the Family Meeting, read it over break and just book talked it to a student yesterday.

  4. I am in awe of all you read, Mary Lee, and appreciate hearing the reviews. I think you told me about All The Water In The World! I too want to keep up with the Joneses, but find that I also want to keep up with the Smiths, and Browns, and so on. I've chosen just one challenge this year, and I am trying to remember to use Goodreads, but after reading and writing, I don't seem to find the time. I also keep a journal of books read, and have for a long time. It helps to look back to find good books of years ago for students. Because of all the reading blogs, I am now keeping a picture book list (never have). Thanks for giving your starred books. Anna Quindlen is a favorite.

  5. Oh, it is so nice to know I'm not alone in the wish-I-could-do-challenges boat!

    This year, I'll keep harkening back to this post when I start admiring all the shiny book reviews in the window (er, I mean screen!) and feel like I'm out of the loop.

    Thanks Mary Lee!

  6. You should list yourself as a superhero of some type. I feel so excited when I can read 1 book every two weeks. You must melt down a Kindle in a few hours!

    Carry on reading soldier. I'll be one of your followers.

  7. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement! You made my day!!

  8. I love Goodreads. I think I'm going to lower my goal for this year because last year I read way too quickly and didn't stop and really enjoy the beautiful writing. Love hearing from others. I got a new iPhone in October. The barcode scanner hadn't worked with my old 3. Yay! It is fun.


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