December 2010 books, and 2010 books roundup

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 (though this one is very soon after the previous one, which was late) 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.

No travel, and a significant non-development in my professional life in December 2010: I applied for a job leading one of the Brussels political thinktanks, and did not get it. I must say I think they chose the right person; in due course he left, and both of his successors were and are friends of mine. I realised that thinktankery was not going to be a big part of my future.

I am still cursing the crappy HTC Desire phone that I was then using. I was lucky enough to attend a Northern Ireland event with Peter Robinson and Martin mcGuinness, then First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, but my photos were all pretty crappy. (Peter Robinson astonished me by saying that fans of Tottenham Hotspurs like himself could well adopt Martin's slogan, "Tiocfaidh ár lá!")

There was a massive snowfall just before Christmas. Our visitors included my sister and little S, our old friend H, and little U's favourite uncle and aunt R and V.

I am particularly pleased with the piece I wrote for Tor on the Fourth Doctor. “I think there are worse places to rest your moral compass than the TARDIS console.”

I read 23 books that month.

Non-fiction: 8 (total 74)
Tintin and the Secret of Literature, by Thomas McCarthy
The I.R.A., by Tim Pat Coogan
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science, by Mary Roach
I, Who: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who Novels, by Lars Pearson
I, Who 2: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who Novels and Audios, by Lars Pearson
I, Who 3: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who Novels and Audios, by Lars Pearson

The Space Race, by Deborah Cadbury
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English, by John McWhorter

Fiction (non-sf) 2 (total 47)
The Falls, by Ian Rankin
Fair Play, by Tove Jansson

SF (non-Who) 5 (total 73)
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper
The Space Opera Renaissance, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Doctor Who 5 (total 69, 79 counting comics and non-fiction)
The Hollow Men, by Keith Topping and Martin Day
Revenge of the Judoon, by Terrance Dicks
Short Trips: Destination Prague, ed. Stephen Savile
Vanderdeken's Children, by Christopher Bulis
Doctor Who Annual 1978

Comics 3 (total 20)
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers vol. 1, by Fumi Yoshinaga
Scott Pigrim vs. The Universe (volume 5) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
With the Light… / 光とともに…, vol 3, by Keiko Tobe
  

7,600 pages (total 91,000)
8/23 by women: Roach, Bujoldx2, Cooper, Yoshinaga, Jansson, Cramer, Tobe (total 65/287)
4/23 by PoC: Yoshinaga, O'Malley, McWhorter, Tobe (total 24/287)

The best of these were Tove Jansson's Fair Play, which you can get here, and Bujold's Cryoburn, which you can get here. None of them was too awful, but Coogan's The I.R.A. is overrated; you can get it here.


2010 books roundup

I did this at the time, but am now reformatting to my current system. 287 books for the year was a lot lower than the two previous years, but ahead of most years since. 91,000 pages is my third highest ever. 23% by women was my highest percentage to date, though I have exceeded it every year but one since. 9% by PoC was also my highest percentage to date, and I have exceeded it only in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

1) Science Fiction and Fantasy (excluding Doctor Who)

2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
114 77 108 68 80 130 124 65 62 78 73 78 54 75 68 79 76
43% 33% 41% 29% 38% 45% 43% 27% 24% 26% 26% 23% 15% 32% 33% 55% 51%

Well below average – fifth lowest for both numbers and percentages.

Top sf book of the year:
Ian McDonald's The Dervish House. My reviewget it here.

Also excellent and read for the first time:
Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men. My reviewget it here.
Ursula K. Le Guin's Lavinia. My reviewget it here.
Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn. My reviewget it here.

The one you have't head of: Chris Beckett, The Turing Test (short story collection). My reviewget it here.

The one I bounced off: Colin Greenland's Mother of Plenty. My reviewget it here.


2) Non-fiction

2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
50 49 50 57 37 47 48 46 53 69 66 94 70 78 70 42 42
19% 21% 19% 24% 17% 16% 16% 19% 20% 23% 24% 27% 19% 33% 34% 29% 28%

Above average in both absolute numbers and percentages.

Top non-fiction book of the year:
The
Bloody Sunday Report, whose 5000 pages I read over the course of late June, July and early August. A tremendous and necessary enterprise. More below.

Also excellent in category:
Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. My reviewget it here.
Ursula K. Le Guin's The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. My reviewget it here.
Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (vols 1 and 2 of the original, vol 1 of the Penguin edition). My reviewget it here.
Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook, Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter. My reviewget it here.
Thomas More, Utopia. My reviewget it here.

The one you haven't heard of:
Too Many Agreements Dishonoured, by Abel Alier. My reviewget it here.

The one to avoid:
Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV, by Brian J. Robb; a total ripoff. My reviewget it here.


3) Doctor Who

Novels, collections of shorter fiction, etc excluding comics
2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
18 32 32 51 39 43 59 72 75 80 71 71 179 27 28 5 1
7% 14% 12% 21% 18% 15% 20% 30% 29% 27% 26% 21% 48% 11% 14% 3% 1%
All Who books including comics and non-fiction
2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
25 43 42 55 42 54 68 81 75 87 79 81 180 49 32 5 1
9% 18% 16% 23% 20% 19% 23% 34% 29% 29% 28% 23% 49% 21% 15% 3% 1%

One of the stronger years, though not as strong as 2008.

Top Doctor Who (audio)book of the year:
James Goss, Dead Air (audiobook); the very last Tenth Doctor story to be released. My reviewget it here.

Other decent efforts in the Whoniverse:
Best 11th Doctor story (other than the ones on TV): Stephen Cole, Ring of Steel. My reviewget it here.
Best New Series Adventure: Dale Smith, The Many Hands. My reviewget it here.
Best EDA: John Peel, Legacy of the Daleks. My reviewget it here.
Best Virgin New Adventure: Mark Gatiss, Nightshade. My reviewget it here.
Best Missing/Past Doctor Adventure: Jonathan Morris, Festival of Death. My reviewget it here.
Best Doctor Who annual (probably also the one you haven't heard of): 1971. My reviewget it here.
Best other Whoniverse story: Joseph Lidster, In the Shadows (Torchwood audiobook). My reviewget it here.
Best non-fiction: as above, Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook, Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter. My reviewget it here.
Best comics: see below.

The one to avoid:
Again, Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV, by Brian J. Robb. My reviewget it here.

4) Non-genre fiction

2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
40 45 36 26 28 42 41 44 48 48 50 59 24 33 35 9 19
15% 19% 14% 11% 13% 14% 14% 19% 19% 16% 18% 17% 6% 14% 17% 6% 13%

Top non-genre book of the year:
Tove Jansson's Fair Play. My reviewget it here.

Also excellent in category:
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises. My reviewget it here.
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms. My reviewget it here.
James Joyce, The Dubliners. My reviewget it here.
Nevil Shute, A Town Like Alice. My reviewget it here.
Leifur Eiricksson, Njal's Saga. My reviewget it here.

The one you haven't heard of: Unauthorised Departure, by Maureen O'Brien. My reviewget it here.

Worst, but so bad it's good:
Rookwood, by William Harrison Ainsworth. My reviewget it here.

5) Comics

2020/ 2019/ 2018/ 2017/ 2016/ 2015/ 2014/ 2013/ 2012/ 2011/ 2010/ 2009/ 2008/ 2007/ 2006/ 2005/ 2004/
45 31 28 29 27 18 19 30 21 27 18 28 6 20 6 8 8
17% 13% 11% 12% 13% 6% 7% 13% 8% 9% 6% 8% 2% 8% 3% 6% 5%

Lowest of any year since 2008.

Top comic / graphic novel of the year
I voted without hesitation for Neil Gaiman's Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? for the Hugo. It didn't win. My reviewget it here.

Other comics / graphic novels particularly enjoyed:
Charles Burns, Black Hole. My reviewget it here.
Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vols 1 (review), 2 (review) and especially 4 (reviewreview) and 5 (reviewGet the whole lot here.)
Fumi Yoshinaga, Ooku: The Inner Chamber, Volume 1. My reviewget it here.
Keiko Tobe, With the Light… Vol. 3. My reviewget it here.
Gareth Roberts, The Betrothal of Sontar (Tenth Doctor) (also probably the one you haven't heard of). My reviewget it here.
Justin Richards, The Only Good Dalek (Eleventh Doctor). My reviewget it here.

The one to avoid:
As before with this series, I thoroughly bounced off Schlock Mercenary: Longshoreman of the Apocalypse, by Howard Tayler. My reviewyou can get it here.

6) Poetry, plays and religious literature

Only four of these, all read in AprilThe Emperor's Babe by Bernardine Evaristo (reviewget) and The Crucible by Arthur Miller (reviewget).

Most read author of the year: Ian Rankin (7 books) unless you count the ten volumes by Lord Savile of Newdigate and his colleagues. Also-rans in this category: Lois McMaster Bujold, Justin Richards and Brian Lee O'Malley with 5 each.

My Book of the Year for 2010

Certainly the one I spent longest reading, and wrote and thought most about: The Bloody Sunday Report. My write ups of each part: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III | Volume IV | Volume V | Volume VI | Volume VII | Volume VIII | Volume IX | Volume X and conclusions. The best place to get it is off the UK government archive website, but you can also get individual volumes here.

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