50 books in 52 weeks challenge – December 2010 Books.


My grand total of read books in 2010 was 62.    I am lucky that I have an each-way 50 minute commute on the trains otherwise I would not have read this many.   Twenty minutes in bed at night and a book is falling from my hands so if I was solely relying on that as my “reading time”  I doubt I’d manage 25 over a year.

Here are the books I read in December  2010

The Death of the Adversary –  Hans Keilson

In my October books I read Comedy in a Minor Key (originally published 1947) also by Hans Keilson.     Death of the Adversary was published in German in 1959 and translated and published in English in 1962.  It was re-released in 2010.   It is a haunting book which profoundly affects the reader.

From Amazon:  Written while Hans Keilson was in hiding during World War II, The Death of the Adversary is the self-portrait of a young man helplessly fascinated by an unnamed “adversary” whom he watches rise to power in 1930s Germany. It is a tale of horror, not only in its evocation of Hitler’s gathering menace but also in its hero’s desperate attempt to discover logic where none exists. A psychological fable as wry and haunting as Badenheim 1939, The Death of the Adversary is a lost classic of modern fiction.

Hans Keilson is now 100 years old.  His first book was published by S. Fischer Publishing House  in 1934 – called Life Goes On,  it was the  last novel by a Jewish author published by Fischer before the Nuremberg Race Laws came into effect. Hans Keilson has one battered copy of that first edition. He would love for his first novel to be translated he says:  “Then you would have my whole biography”

So after that heavy reading I was ready a couple of fast reads and found them in G.M. Ford.

*****  Fury by G.M. Ford  – first in the Frank Corso series.  Corso is a reclusive journalist on the Seattle Sun.  He is pulled back into investigative work when a key witness in the case of a man about to be executed recounts her police statements.  This was a good fast paced read –  perfect reading for the train.   I had not read any G.M. Ford before but my parents suggested him as they enjoy the Leo Waterman series written by Ford.

***** Black River:  by G.M. Ford  – second book in the Frank Corso series.  Corso is the only non-participant allowed to observe the trial of Nicholas Balagula, a ruthless sociopath associated with jury tampering and witness deaths.  Photo-journalist Meg Dougherty, from the first book also features in this book.  As she investigates on her own she is left bloodied and close to death and Corso takes on the task of tracking down those responsible.  Another fast read.

*****  Your Heart Belongs to Me:  A Novel  – Dean Koontz. I’m  not sure that I liked this book.  It started off really well and I found it hard to put down.  Then, as he became more paranoid, I started to get bored!  Ryan Perry is a wealthy 34 year old who discovers rather dramatically that he has cardiomyopathy and will die within a year without a heart transplant.   He starts to suspect those around him of causing the cardiomyopathy (poisoning) and then a year after the successful transplant he starts getting disturbing gifts and messages including one “Your heart belongs to me. I want it back”.    I never really understood what happened to his girlfriend!

*****   Case Histories:  A Novel   by Kate Atkinson. Loved, loved, loved this book!   The characters, the story, the way it was written. Jackson Brodie is an ex-cop, now private detective, who takes on three old cases which occurred in/around London.   The disappearance of a 3 year old girl;  a retired lawyer looking for the killer of his daughter and the sister of a murderer searching for her niece who was a baby at the time of the crime.   Lots of family dysfunction in the colourful characters and facets of random fate made this book very readable to me.   I will be searching for more Atkinson books.

******  Burning Angel  – by James Lee Burke

The 8th book in the Dave Robicheaux series this one was published in 1995.   It’s really interesting to watch how the author is growing his character and developing his writing.

Robicheaux becomes involved in a land dispute which involves mobsters, a hired assassin and sharecrop descendants.  Another good read from James Lee Burke.

I had never recorded what or how many books I’ve read before so I found this a worthwhile challenge.  I now have a lovely excel spreadsheet, which I intend to continue expanding on, where I can sort by author or title –  and so prevent getting a quarter of the way into a book before realizing that I’ve read it before!


34 responses

  1. ‘Twenty minutes in bed at night and a book is falling from my hands so if I was solely relying on that as my “reading time” I doubt I’d manage 25 over a year.’

    haha, that describes me! and I’ve never read as many as 25 in a year. In 2010 it was 18, my goal this year is 20 (again). I’m making an effort to read before bed more often. It would help if I spent less time on the ol’ internet, futzing around doing a whole lot of nuttin. I did finish my first book of 2011 though, so that’s something!

    Are you going to do this challenge again? How about the photo one?

    • It’s hard to stay away from the computer – perhaps you could get credit for the posts you read – they’d be the equivalent of quite a few books! 🙂 I was thinking of upping the challenge to 70 books but I think that might be a bit ambitious – I imagine 60-65 is my normal yearly figure. Those last 5 books would be a struggle. I won’t be doing the photo-a-day but I’ll still be boring you all with plenty of photos! 🙂 I have a ton of photos to scan from the 70’s to about 2005 – I need to think up a challenge that would have me complete that! Every time I look at the boxes it just looks too overwhelming to start!

      • I love your photos! The picture a day thing sounds a bit difficult though. I look forward to seeing your scans! I should work on organizing my boxes of photos, scanning them and also organizing them on my computer. That’s a lifetime of work though,among lifetimes of other work I have to do!

    • That’s me too. I should set aside more time to read, but between my parents and the call of the internet, I don’t get much done. My new year’s resolution should be to read more, but then you guys have to promise not to update your blogs so often, lol!

      • LOL HG – yes, some of my online “neighbours” are fairly prolific writers. I’m sure you find it difficult to sit quietly and get really engrossed in a book – it’s probably akin to when we had toddlers – who ever got reading time then!! I used to laze around on the weekends reading but I can’t remember the last time I did that.

        • I read while I am eating. I read before bed. I read if I ever get to eat lunch alone at work (rarely)….I read in the car if I grab fast food and eat it in a parking lot. (guilty secret)…..

          Reading is pretty much my favorite thing to do.

  2. Absolutely! When I had access to public transport, gobbling books was easy & I loved it! Great use of time (and all the other good things that go with doing that ).

    • There are so many things going on, on the trains – sometimes conversations of others are so fascinating I can’t concentrate on my book LOL. I envy those who can read while they are standing up and hanging on to the overhead bars! It makes me feel sick to read while standing.

  3. I love Kate Atkinson! I read two of hers this year…”Case Histories” and “When Will There Be Good News?”
    Loved them!

    I wish I knew how many books I read. And then I reread so many I completely lose track. It’s always fun to see other peoples’ lists!

    • I just got Kate Atkinson’s “One Good Turn” – looking forward to starting it after the Robert Crais book I’m reading. There are very few books I re-read (deliberately) – there are so many books in my wish list I feel there is not enough time to read ones I’ve already read.

  4. Thanks for sharing your list and your reviews. I think I’ll get a copy of Case Histories. Sounds like my kind of book. I like quick, easy reads, too, because the only time I read is in the breakroom at lunch, so I’m eating and people all around me are talking. Too much distraction for anything very deep.

    • I had heard my mother talk about G.M. Ford books as the person who chooses their library books is apparently a fan and their bag usually comes with a G.M Ford book in it (there are volunteers at their library who swap books for people who are unable to go to the library themselves – a wonderful service!). I had not heard of Kate Atkinson before but am pleased to have now “discovered” her.

  5. I’d like to read 25 books this year. I don’t think I’d make the 61 I read in 2010. Already these past few weeks my reading has consisted of online research on baby gear! And after the baby is born I want to start reading to him or her. Maybe if I count those short books I’d make it to over 50!

  6. oh you are hardworking to read books-so many books…I read current a book….sigh…more time for the geocaching, but tomorrow is saturday and than sunday and so I will read this book from Michael Tobias “Bestiarium” a thriller.

    • Well you do all that exciting geocaching which is much better exercise than reading 🙂 I would never be able to do all that climbing and stuff you do; I’d be waiting at the bottom of the ladder reading my book! 🙂

  7. Cheers for the books info. I am well jealous cause I have to read the bloody immigration books. I am coming back to this after my birthday (when I take the test)

    • When’s your birthday???? Are you sitting the citizen test? I looked at the test here and thought it looked very hard – I also thought that not many Americans would pass it LOL. 🙂 At the moment I’m happy being an illegal alien.

  8. Wonderful post… and well done!! What an inspiration you are, Emjay. I used to read a lot more books than I do now. Throughout the year I probably read around 25 books or so. I definitely wish I had the time to read more books than that a year, and if I had the time I’d love to be able to read a book a day.

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