I began the year with a bang with my reading. Good thing because I had a hefty goal. This year, if anything, my “To Be Read” pile almost doubled! How did that happen?

So my realistic goal was 50 books, but I wanted to read close to 100. Mostly so I could get some of these books out of my house!

Where do I get all my books from? A plethora of places. There’s paperbackswap.com, friends, and conventions. Most of books I end up borrowing from my mother. I read my classics on the web. I even use the library.

Yes, I have a terrible habit. My name is Lady Ozma and I am a book-a-holic.

As I reflect on my reading this year, I know I could have read more. Who would have guessed the insanity of this year, though? I never planned to lose so many months due to the flood/high heat/eviction/moving scenario.

But, I did reach 50. In fact, I reached 55. So that’s good. I think I will make the same goal for 2009. At least 50, but get as close to 100 as I can. Maybe I can do better this year!

I’ve read well over 100 books in one year before. Of course, that was before I had children to teach, houses to clean, novels to write/edit, and whatever else might come up. And I must admit, my friends and family come before my reading.

I did well at the beginning of the year posting reviews both on goodreads.com as well as on my blog. I’d like to get back into that. Did anyone enjoy that?

So this past week I’ve read some great books. Here’s some highlights from recent reads as well as those from earlier this year.

This week I flew through several Hannah Swensen mysteries. I think I might go ahead and powerhouse through the rest of the ones I have. I might as well. It will give me a great jumpstart for 2009. As far as mysteries go, they are ridiculously unrealistic and simplistic. But, of course, that is what makes the cozies great. Right? They center around a cookie shop owner that keeps stumbling over dead bodies in her tiny Minnesota town. Who would hang out with this lady? She comes over and she finds a dead body. She goes out into the perpetual snow, and finds a dead body. I guess her town is filled with homicidal maniacs and she’s the lucky duck that finds their handiwork. What do I like? I like the quirky characters. I like the fact that every book is set in winter. I’ve lived in Ohio with nine months of winter. It seems to always be winter! I like the two guys vying for Hannah’s attention. Mostly I like her creative recipes, I like to try them out. In fact, I found a new one this morning that i want to try! If you want a good little book to curl up with on a snowy winter day to take your mind off things, this is the type of book to grab.

My 55th book I read today, and ironically enough bears the title “The Wednesday Letters”. Yeah. It was not lost on me that today is Wednesday. I got a good chuckle and was informed by my husband that this meant I truly was a “book nerd”. Humph, I’ll take the name and wear with it pride. This book was amazing. Endearing, poignant, sad. I highly recommend this book. The story involves a couple that die in each others arms after 40 years of marriage. Their children discover that dear old dad wrote to mum weekly since the day they got married. So many adventures, happy memories, miserable experiences came out in the pages of those letters. A story of the couple’s life together unfolds, the story that most children never know.

One of the best things I read this year was actually the podio trilogy – 7th Son by JC Hutchins. You gotta check thsi one out. Read by the author and an absolutely ingenious political thriller.

I did read the four Twilight books this fall. They got progressively better as I went along. In the end I liked the series and would recommend them. I enjoyed the very low budget movie when I went with friends. I may even buy it on DVD for some good laughs at the cheese-factor quality of it. But hey, the vampires were at least decently vampire looking unlike the new Sookie Stackhouse tv show. Weeniest vamps ever in that sucker.

And that leads me to some regular reads. I of course read the latest Stephanie Plum, Sookie Stackhouse, and Betsy books. Life is not worth living without these new books and I am looking forward to the next Between the Numbers book due out any time. Woot!

I also just finished the latest Fred the Grumpy Mermaid book which I loved. It had a good ending, I thought. I must admit, I’ll miss her, but the author says the story is done. Le Sigh.

I read a few new series this year. Or at least new intros to series. I think my favourite would be yet another vampire series. This one is about a vamp who starts her own vampire dating service, which branches out to also include werewolves. Seems that if you are an otherworldly type, she’ll find you your soul mate. What’s real fantastic is this author is obviously a fan of the Plum books and so even wrote in the great Tampon factory that Mrs Plum is always trying to get Stephanie to go work out. Woohoo! Who knew… it was run by vampires!

Another good teen series that I read this year was the four books in the Uglies series. I really enjoyed that one and I think it’s great for every teen to read. Talk about a scary look into what could easily happen. Woah.

I read great books on organizing closets, about finding my inner Eve, and about wacky diary entries.

My year of reading has been pretty great. I did hear the President of the United States only read like 40 books this year, so I beat him. But, alas, Karl Rove read over 60. I suppose my crazy life has nothing on “leading the free world” and all, so I should be happy with my 55 books, right?

So, what should I read in 2009? How should I plan for my reading? How do you select your books and organize them?

–Lady O