Since April of 2008 I've been keeping a log of the books I've read. (Why it took me that long to start the list I can't say...it's probably because of my overall lack of organizational skills.) In 2008 I read 13 books. In 2009 I read 19. During the past year I only read 18 books, but I must add that my daughter was born, so it's not like I wasn't busy.
I've owned as many as 2,000 books (give or take), most of them culled from thrift and used bookstores, and through the redemption of bookstore gift cards (I'm really easy to shop for during the holiday season and on my birthday).
I used to think of them, each one, as a small marker, a flag of conquest. Even before I read them (and there are plenty I still have to get to) I felt the mere possession of them indicated the promise of something...greater. I've since outgrown my "collecting" fetish, thanks partly to the expansion of my family and the beatings I've taken from friends and family who had to lug these books from apartment to apartment (8) and from state to state (California, Illinois, New York) over the last decade or so. My collection rests at about 1,000 books.
There's a new rule in my house: OBI-OBO - One book in-one book out. I've been trying to stay ahead of myself by slowly divesting, either through a garage sale (12 books sold), selling to used bookstores (31 books that didn't get sold at the garage sale), and contest give-aways (I put obscure pictures on my Facebook profile and the first person to guess it gets a totally random book in the mail).
I offer this list not to brag about any accomplishments (I know people who read a book a week), or as a confession of any kind (knowing full-well how book lists can be scrutinized for political leanings and potential psychosis), but merely as my list.
I present for your appraisal, my 2010 year in books.
I rate the books on a scale of one to four stars (including 1/2 steps) based on nothing more than how I feel about them. The only author I read twice was Philip Roth. I read 11 novels and 7 non-fiction books. I only awarded four stars to one book (as opposed to 2009, when I read five four-star books: A Fraction of the Whole, Beloved, The Road, To Kill A Mockingbird and Dubliners).