Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

December 2009 books, and 2009 roundup

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

After the odyssey of November, the only travel I seem to have done in December 2009 was London at the start of the month and England again to visit the in-laws at the end. This was the year that little U treated us to a birthday concert on her 7th birthday. These days, unfortunately, she is more into tuneless humming than singing.

Her aunt and uncle came over for Christmas and we played History of the World after U had gone to bed.


I read only 16 books that month, bringing my total for 2009 to 345, the second highest for any year (the highest being 2008).

Non-fiction 4 (2009 total 94)
The Jesuits, by Jonathan Wright
Don't Mention the Wars: A Journey Through European Stereotypes, by Tony Connelly
Geschiedenis van het Nederlands, by Marijke van der Wal and Cor van Bree
Memoirs Of My Life, by Edward Gibbon

Non-genre 3 (2009 total 59)
The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnett
Mr Singh Has Disappeared: A Concussed Novel, by Horst Prillinger
Wild Sweet Love, by Beverly Jenkins

sf 2 (2009 total 78)
Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut
The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22nd Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois

Doctor Who 5 (2009 total 71)
Decalog, edited by Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker
Frayed, by 'Tara Samms' [Steve Cole]
The Day of the Troll, by Simon Messingham
Doctor Who and the Invasion from Space [by J.L. Morrissey]
Slow Decay, by Andy Lane

Comics 2 (2009 total 28)
The Forgotten, by Tony Lee
Doctor Who: Through Time And Space (various authors)

~4,300 pages, 2009 total 100,500 - highest ever for any year that I have been tracking.
4/16 by women (van der Wal, Hodgson Burnett, Jenkins, Moore; but not 'Tara Samms'); total of 68/345 (20%) for 2009, third lowest percentage for any year that I have been tracking but a higher absolute number than most years.
1/16 by PoC (Jenkins); total of 18/345 (5%) for 2009 - higher than any previous year, lower than most years since.

The best of December 2009 was Edward Gibbon's autobiography, which you can get here, followed by The Secret Garden, which you can get here. The history of the Jesuits was frankly dull, but you can get it here.




2009 books roundup

I did this at the time, but am now reformatting to my current system.

1) Non-fiction

\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
50 49 50 57 37 47 48 46 53 69 66 94 70 78 70 42 42
19% 21% 19% 24% 17% 16% 16% 19% 20% 23% 24% 27% 19% 33% 34% 29% 28%

Highest ever in numbers, fifth highest percentage..

Top non-fiction book of the year: Survival In Auschwitz, by Primo Levi - a searing account of an incredible situation. My review. You can get it here.

Honourable mentions to:
Memoirs of My Life, by Edward Gibbon, as mentioned above. My review. You can (still) get it here.
Emma's War: Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan, by Deborah Scroggins - next month's update will include a photo of me with the love of Emma's life. My review. You can get it here.


The one you haven't heard of: EU Accession Dynamics And Conflict Resolution: Catalysing Peace Or Consolidating Partition In Cyprus?, by Nathalie Tocci - not at all dry, a fascinating exploration of how the EU screwed up the Cyprus peace process. My review. You can get it here.

The one to avoid: Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller  - an uninspiring articulation of liberal Christianity. My review. You can get it here.

2) Science Fiction and Fantasy (excluding Doctor Who)

\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
114 77 108 68 80 130 124 65 62 78 73 78 54 75 68 79 76
43% 33% 41% 29% 38% 45% 43% 27% 24% 26% 26% 23% 15% 32% 33% 55% 51%

Second lowest percentage, though in the middle of the range of absolute numbers.

Top SF book of the year: On the Beach, by Nevile Shute; classic tale of the apocalypse in Australia. My review. You can get it here.

Honourable mentions to:
Threshold (The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Volume One). Great stories, insightfully annotated. My review. You can get it here.
The Restoration Game, by Ken Macleod (read in manuscript, so no review). An ancient province of Georgia with its own secrets. You can get it here.

The one you haven't heard of: Sacred Visions, edited by Andrew M. Greeley and Michael Cassutt, an anthology of sf with Catholic themes. My review. You can get it here (at a price!).

The one to avoid: Bard IV: Ravens Gathering, by Keith Taylor. Admittedly I only managed the first 20 pages. My review. You can get it here.


3) Doctor Who
Novels, collections of shorter fiction, etc excluding comics
\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
18 32 32 51 39 43 59 72 75 80 71 71 179 27 28 5 1
7% 14% 12% 21% 18% 15% 20% 30% 29% 27% 26% 21% 48% 11% 14% 3% 1%

All Who books including comics and non-fiction
\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
25 43 42 55 42 54 68 81 75 87 78 81 180 49 32 5 1
9% 18% 16% 23% 20% 19% 23% 34% 29% 29% 28% 23% 49% 21% 15% 3% 1%

One of the stronger years, though not as strong as 2008.

Top Doctor Who book of the year: The Writer's Tale, by Russell T. Davies and Ben Cook. My review. You can get the updated version here.

Top Doctor Who fiction of the year: Beautiful Chaos, by Gary Russell, a Ten/Donna/Wilf novel. My review. You can get it here.

The one you haven't heard of: Farewell Great Macedon, the never-produced story submitted by Morris Farhi in 1963. My review. You can get it here (NB not available from Amazon).


The ones to avoid:
Byzantium!, by Keith Topping. My review. You can get it here.
Doctor Who - Slipback, by Eric Saward. My review. You can get it here.

4) Non-genre fiction

\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
40 45 36 26 28 42 41 44 48 48 50 59 24 33 35 9 19
15% 19% 14% 11% 13% 14% 14% 19% 19% 16% 18% 17% 6% 14% 17% 6% 13%

Highest absolute number ever, and at the upper end of percentages.

Top non-genre fiction of the year: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. My review. You can get it here.

Honourable mention: Nature Girl, by Carl Hiaasen. My review. You can get it here.

The one you haven't heard of: an anthology, The New Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction, edited by Dermot Bolger, which I bought because an old friend was a contributor, but I enjoyed the rest of the stories too. My review. You can get it here.

The one to avoid: Angels and Demons, the book which made Dan Brown's name. It is slightly better written than The Da Vinci Code, but this really isn't saying much. I am particularly proud of my review. You can get it here.

5) Comics

\2020/ \2019/ \2018/ \2017/ \2016/ \2015/ \2014/ \2013/ \2012/ \2011/ \2010/ \2009/ \2008/ \2007/ \2006/ \2005/ \2004/
45 31 28 29 27 18 19 30 21 27 18 28 6 20 6 8 8
17% 13% 11% 12% 13% 6% 7% 13% 8% 9% 6% 8% 2% 8% 3% 6% 5%

High in absolute numbers, more middling in percentage.

Top comic of the year: Persepolis 2: the Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi. My review. You can get both books here.

Runner-up: Shortcomings, by Adrian Tomine. My review. You can get it here.

The one you haven't heard of: Milo Manara's erotic adaptation of Apuleius' erotic novel The Golden Ass. My review. You can get it here.

The one to avoid: Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic, by Howard Tayler - I know it has fans, but simply did not strike me as very impressive. My review. You can get it here.

6) Plays

I got through the later part of Shakespeare's œuvre, and read a couple of other plays as well.

Top play of the year: Hamlet, no contest. My review. You can get it here

Honorable mentions to:
Macbeth. My review. You can get it here
Twelfth Night. My review. You can get it here
Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles. My review. You can get it here

The one you haven't heard of: Strictly, Farewell Great Macedon fits this category as well. My review. You can get it here.

The one to avoid: The Two Noble Kinsmen, by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. There's a reason this one is so obscure. My review. You can get it here.

Most-read author this year: William Shakespeare.

My Books of the Year for 2009

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

Best new read: Persepolis 2: the Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi (first volume was just pipped by Samuel Pepys in 2004).
Tags: bookblog 2009, bookblog nostalgia
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