The Old[2009] and the New[2010]

December 31, 2009 § 10 Comments


The Year That Was[2009]

T’was a great reading year, 2009.

Two things happened: I rediscovered my love for reading, and I discovered book blogging.

I only started this book blog round about July, so that means I’ve been blogging for exactly half a year. It’s been great. I’ve come across different reading challenges, different blogs and bloggers and reading obsessions, different tastes in books and reading material.. It’s a vast world out there, and I’m really glad I found it.

Two reading challenges end today.

09tbrThe 2009 TBR Challenge

My goal was to read 12 books. I’ve only read 8 of my list, so that means I’ve failed my first reading challenge!

But no kicking myself in the butt this time, because halfway through the challenge, I realised that I plunged into it not really understanding the rules of the game. And also because I actually made a conscious decision not to finish the challenge.

What on earth possessed me to put 7 Murakami titles on that list?! After having thoroughly enjoyed the Murakami books I’ve read so far, I thought I just simply have to leave some for next year. I don’t want to run out of Murakami so quickly after only just discovering him.


Next is the Lost in Translation Challenge.

The goal was to read 6 books that were originally written in another language, and later translated to English. I had a list prepared for this challenge, but somehow, I deviated massively. I ended up completing this challenge, having read 14 books in total. But many of them were translated from Japanese, of which I was reading for the Japanese Literature Challenge 3, due to end in a month.

I’m still planning to read those titles I listed for this challenge. Maybe next year..


I’ve read a total of 75 books this year. Not as many as so many other bloggers out there, but as far as personal goals go, I’d say, “You go, girl!”

Architecture school completely took over March, April and May this year (not a single book?!), but mid-year break in July-August and summer break now have proven to be great reading months for me.

Some of my most memorable reads are, in no particular order:

  1. Sophie’s World (Jostein Gaarder) – Absolutely loved this book. The way fiction and philosophy was cleverly weaved together made it very very enjoyable. This book has also prompted me to find out more about the philosophers mentioned, and I’d definitely love to explore some of the works mentioned.
  2. The Stone Gods and Weight (Jeanette Winterson) – I found Winterson’s work to be beautiful. Her writing reads like poetry, and the stories are literally out of this world.
  3. The Gift of Rain (Tan Twan Eng) – I’ve hardly read enough books by Malaysian authors, and was ecstatic to find this one. The writing is lovely, and the story, set in old time Malaya during World War 2, evoked deep feelings.
  4. Dance Dance Dance and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami) – His writing is dark and deep, the type I enjoy. And he does it really well, considering how surreal his stories can be, and yet so believable. I just sink into his books, really, especially these two.
  5. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) – Beautiful combination of love and madness, simple joys and complicated sadness.
  6. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) – This one I read before starting this blog. I bawled. Would love to read this one again next year. It’s a short book, but man, does it pack a punch.

There were many other books that I really enjoyed, but if I started listing each and every single one of them, I’d end up with a list too long to manage.


So what’s up for next year? Click on Page 2 to find out.. (insert here some cheesy radio/electronic voice..)


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§ 10 Responses to The Old[2009] and the New[2010]

  • mee says:

    I’d love to read some of your top books. A week ago I dropped by a bookshop and saw a pretty hard-cover of Sophie’s World that was just re-published, and I got reminded of you.

    Congratulations for the 75 books achievement! Definitely more than me :). Many more.

    I don’t read much non-fiction apart from memoir/biography so I look forward to your future reviews and recommendations!

  • Tony says:

    Good luck with 100 books, but remember: numbers aren’t everything! I probably would have made it to 100 this year were it not for the fact that I would have had to write more posts! The prospect of reviewing books one after the other pushed me into choosing a lot of long books, thus giving me time to prepare reviews. It’s a hard life…

  • Sakura says:

    I love your book choices and always look forward to reading your brilliant reviews. I also started blogging in July and it’s been great to get to know you. I think 75 books is very respectable – I’m aiming to read a book a week for 2010. Looking forward to catching up with you in the new year!

  • su says:

    @ mee: I think I know which copy of Sophie’s World you saw. I’ve been oogling at it on the internet for quite a while now. They’re selling it really expensive here though..

    @ Tony: You’re definitely right about that, numbers are not everything. I’m definitely aiming to post my thoughts on every book I read. I find it’s easier for me to digest the book, and also so that I remember what I’ve read!

    @ Sakura: Glad you dropped by. A book a week is a good steady flow of books, which was what I aimed for this year, until I went on a library frenzy.. Looking forward to exchanging more thoughts with you.

  • mee says:

    The copy that I saw was expensive too! About 35-40 AUD maybe? I had a quick look at book depo, and it might be this one (or something similar, not 100% sure):
    Is that the same one you’ve been oogling at? 🙂

  • su says:

    @ mee: Yup, that’s the one! Beautiful, ain’t it? It’s selling for over 50 NZD… Sigh..

  • Eva says:

    Your GLBT choices sound awesome! And I hope you enjoy Women Unbound. 🙂 Gaiman and Rushdie are two of my very favourite authors ever, so let me know if you want any steering. 🙂 Tolstoy rocks as well (make sure you read the Volokhonsky & Pevear translations), and Lolita is an incredible read. So sounds like you have a wonderful year ahead of you!

    • su says:

      Thanks for the offer to help steer my Gaiman and Rushdie reads. And I’ll definitely keep in mind about the Tolstoy translations. =)

  • Mark David says:

    I loved the fact that you separated your post into two and even left a space for a “cheesy radio voice”, hehe, very amusing 🙂

    2009 sure had been a great year for reading, hasn’t it? I’m guessing 2010 will be even better for all of us. Happy reading and I hope you enjoy those challenges!

  • su says:

    @ Mark David: Glad you liked the post. And I’m definitely looking forward to sharing more thoughts on books with you this year.

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