Thursday, 1 January 2009

Some thoughts on 2008

As I'm sitting here thinking about the year that has just passed I'm realising how quickly it went by. If I think about February, the month I moved into my lovely bedsit and started living on my own (no sharing) for the first time, it seems like just a month ago. At first I thought I might feel lonely, but in fact I've totally enjoyed my life without worries of unwashed dishes (mine), unwanted noises in the morning or at night (theirs), or just plain crazy flatmates.
The only thing I wasn't enjoying was my job in the new bookshop, which I endured till september when I moved back to my original shop. That time coincided with my starting the training to teach Italian. I need to acquire the practice experience to get the qualification and I've been going to Italian classes once a week since then, listening to an experienced teacher, who let me do something with the class at the end of the lessons. I found out I really enjoy doing this, so I'm thinking of starting to teach my own pupils, maybe at home, to get more experience and to earn some money too.
When I was working in the other bookshop I had to travel 1 hour and a half every day to get there, between bus and train. People thought that was my main problem, but actually the travelling was sometimes the best part of the day, because I could read loads! I trained myself to read on the bus without feeling sick, and it worked. I read much more than last year, thanks to all the travelling.
Looking back to my resolutions for this year, I can be quite proud of myself. For the most part I've enjoyed reading and even though I freaked out a little about the challenges, in truth, I felt quite liberated. I even took some books from the library, happily ignoring my tbr shelves.
I didn't write reviews right after finishing books, but I took notes sometimes and it helped. Also I tried to write a review for every book that I read, which I didn't last year. I think that's a great improvement. I want to try again this year to see if I can actually read a book and write a review straight away, or shortly after.
I've also almost finished the story I've been writing for ages, and that's mostly thanks to NaNoWriMo. As a resolution for 2009, I want to 1) finish the story 2) take part in NaNoWriMo for real.
Reading resolutions:
- try to read from the tbr pile as much as possible. There's plenty of wonderful books to discover there!
- don't fall behing with reviews
- read more

Other memorable things that happened in my blogging year:
-I started reviewing picture books and I've loved it. I'm looking forward to discover more gems this year.
- I've done the Read-a-thon. I really hope someone can carry on Dewey's legacy and organise it again this year. If I can, I'd like to help.

As for the books, I don't know if I can pick a list of favourites. But I'll mention a few titles that really stood out, and will probably make my all-time list of favourites.
-The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
I've read it early in the year but it's still up there, my absolute favourite. I've bought it for all my family and friends and I talk about it with customers all the time!
- The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint
Close runner up. It made me want to read everything that Charles de Lint wrote.
And then in no particual order:
- War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Tales of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
- High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Hellfire by Mia Gallagher

Reading recap:

Total books read: 69
Fiction: 61
Non-fiction: 8
YA and Kid's: 41 + lots of picture books...
Written by Men: 30
Written by Women: 33
Written by Men and Women together: 6
New Authors: 40
Re-Reads: 2
New Favourite Authors Discovered: Charles De Lint, Toni Morrison, Shannon Hale, Jenny Valentine, Mary E. Pearson, Emma Bull, Marjane Satrapi, Mia Gallagher, Nick Hornby, Dan Rhodes, Diana Wynne Jones, Louis Sachar.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Great list! I love Holes and Nick Hornby is an amazing author. I hope you have a great 2009.

I'm sorry for talking about myself, but I wanted to mention a sister site blog that i started called Bridge the Gap that focuses on foreign entertainment (for me, non-u.s.), so check it out if you like and let me know if you have any ideas!!


Anonymous said...

What kind of book do you wish you had to read right now or for the coming year? That is, not counting the books that are written and available, what would you materialize for your reading enjoyment --a book about what? What is missing in the grand pile of books stretching out before you?

Unknown said...

I just got the Book Thief about two weeks ago and have been saving it for the new year. Hope I'll like it as much as you do. :)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

What a great year you had! I have an hour commute to and from work every day and I wish our public transporation was better so that I could use it and have the time to read.

The Book Thief is also my top book of the year. I'd love to re-read it again soon.

And how awesome that you'll be teaching Italian soon!

Best wishes for 2009, Valentina!!

mariel said...

Thats a long commute every day! Glad you are much happier where you are now. I love living with my housemate but am dreaming of buying my own little cottage in the country! Good luck with the teaching and buon anno!

Ana S. said...

It sounds like your year was full of changes. That's exciting news about teaching Italian soon! And I'm glad you're enjoying having your own flat. My own experience with sharing was not a very positive one.

Good luck with your reading resolutions, and also with finishing your story in 2009!

About your list of favourites, I'm so happy to see Nation in there! I hope you realize for how long I've been wondering what you thought of it :P I also love your list of new favourite authors.

PS: Something made me very happy today, and I have a feeling you can guess what it is :D But let me e-mail you :P

Karen said...

I listed The Book Thief as my best read of 2008 too. Just loved this book so much.

Josette said...

Hi Valentina,

I enjoyed reading this post! :) I like books by Diana Wynne Jones too since I discovered Black Maria (one of her books) a few years ago.

valentina said...

I like your idea, Lauren, I'll be checking your new blog out, we'll see if I can come up with ideas!

Dennis, there's so many books out there that I hardly stop and think "hmm I'd like to read this kind of stuff, if only it was written". No, it doesn't happen, I'm afraid. I normally think, OMG how am I ever gonna read all those great books that are out there?

Ms ulat buku,me too, I hope you'll enjoy it, but I'm sure you will.

Trish, I want to re-read the book thief as well, but not soon, maybe in a few years.
best wishes to you too!

mariel, a cottage in the country is my dream too. If you've seen that movie The Holiday,with Kate Winslet...that's the kind of cottage I'm thinking of!
but for now,I'm happy enough with a bedsit:P

thank you Nymeth:)i hope you have a great and eventful year!
i'm sorry I made you wait for Nation, i'm so good at delaying my reviews, but I'll write it soon, I promise. It was a wonderful book, maybe I wasn't so involved like you were, but I loved it anyway.He managed to use a not-so-original premise (the shipwreckers on an island) and made it into something unique. I'd like to re-read it soon.But I'll tell more about what I thought in the review...
and, btw I'm glad I made you happy!!!

Karen, the book thief seems to be a winner with so many people, and I'm really happy about it!

Josette, I haven't read Black Maria, but I definitely will, need to read more Wynne Jones!

mariel said...

Absolutely! The perfect cottage..ahh sigh! Well, we've all got to have dreams right?!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Valentina: I'm glad you like the idea, and definitley let me know if you think of anything!! :)


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Did you know your review for nation doesn't allow for comments? Just wanted to say that it sounds very good...I'd seen it around, but never read a review.

And this award is for you:


valentina said...

Hi Lauren, I checked my post options for Nation but it seems everything is ok.I'm sorry it didn't work for you!let me know if you encounter any more problems.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Valentina: Oh, it's long as it works for others. Thanks for letting me know!!


Serena said...

Valentina: It looks like you had a great year of blogging and I'm so glad that things are going well now with the Italian and the old bookshop.

I only read 63 books this year, but we had at least 2 top books in common--The book thief and the Adoration of Jenna Fox.

I look forward to 2009 when you finish your story and participate in NANO for real.