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
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.
Highest ever in numbers, fifth highest percentage..
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.
2) Science Fiction and Fantasy (excluding Doctor Who)
Second lowest percentage, though in the middle of the range of absolute numbers.
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.
3) Doctor Who
One of the stronger years, though not as strong as 2008.
4) Non-genre fiction
Highest absolute number ever, and at the upper end of percentages.
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.
High in absolute numbers, more middling in percentage.
I got through the later part of Shakespeare's œuvre, and read a couple of other plays as well.
Most-read author this year: William Shakespeare.
My Books of the Year for 2009
Best new read: Persepolis 2: the Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi (first volume was just pipped by Samuel Pepys in 2004).