This is my cover collage for 2009:

It’s not big, only 43 books.  I may have forgotten some (and I’ve left out any medical or nutrition-related non-fiction), but it’s close.  And that whole Patrick O’Brian swath was actually audio, so with my eyeballs, I read much closer to 29 books.   I don’t think I’ve read that little since I could read.  And then you might notice that four of those books are graphic novels and I just realized that those last two, the Fables comics, I actually tagged wrong b/c I read them THIS year.  So the real total is 41, with 27 having been actual physical books…and then you might note that sixteen of those books are from the young adult or even children’s sections of the library…so eleven grown-up books.

That, folks, is a slump.  I don’t know what causes them, but they crop up on me now and again.  This was the worst, though.  I was reading up until around March or so, I think.  And then just…stopped.  I’d pick up a book and put it down.  I managed to read Bridge of Sighs somewhere in the middle of the year, enjoyed it, thought it would launch me back into books, but no.  Maybe American Gods was so good my brain didn’t want a lesser work shoved in there?  It WAS really good.  And I can’t rave about the Patrick O’Brian books enough.  I’ve finished the series (20 books and a  few chapters of the book he died while writing) and I already look forward to reading them again.

Toward the end of last year, I picked up the House of Mystery graphic novels (comic books bound into one book, in this case) at the library.  I really enjoyed them, they were engaging and very creepy.  So I decided to read the Sandman books as well.  Steve had the Fables books upstairs, so I read the first of those as well.  All that finally got me to the place where I wanted a book with fewer pictures again.  I had saved a list of book that the Washington Post listed as the best of 2009, and downloaded a couple first chapters onto my iPhone.  I ended up checking out The Confessions of Edward Day by Valerie Martin–it’s about struggling actors in NYC in the 70s.  A bit of a thriller, pretty funny, I really enjoyed it.  We’ve started having screen-free evenings here, so it’s easier to get some reading in.  I finished it in a bit over one night.

I keep track of my books on Library Thing.  I like that I can see who else has read the books I’ve read.  I go see who has liked my favorites and see what else they’ve liked.  A person who really liked American Gods and Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell also liked Baltimore; or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden.  I read that one in about a day and a half (thanks for leaving me waiting in the exam room for an hour, Dr. Williams!), it’s an engrossing, creepy Gothic horror tale. And now I have Glover’s Mistake by Nick Laird, which is supposed to be funny.  I could use some funny after Baltimore. Grim, that was.

But mostly, I’m thrilled to be out of the slump, at least for now.  Having a book to think about keeps my brain distracted from worry a bit.  And it makes my year end collage much prettier.  And really, we know that’s the real reason I read.