With the end of the year and decade*, readers everywhere rushed to name their favorite books. Year lists are a little more boring - the same titles seem to repeat fairly frequently and there's not much to discuss with them. Decade lists, though, have sparked some interesting and insightful conversations. There's something nice in looking back at a decade. I thought about that one and discovered a major roadblock.
For me, summarizing the last 10 years of reading is essentially summarizing my entire life in reading. 10 years ago, I was proud to have read a whole Harry Potter book by myself (my first real book, not just a "chapter book"). 9 years ago I read "A Wrinkle in Time" and subsequent sequels with a friend and we spent months acting out scenes from it and quoting from it (instead of Harry Potter, which resulted in a slight schism between us and some of our friends). It was also the year of "The Golden Compass". That was a good year for reading. 8 years ago I read my first abridgment of "The Count of Monte Cristo" (clocking in at 500 pages, so no mean feat). It was awesome.
7: I attempted to read "The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes". I made it through two stories before giving up. 6: I read "The Count of Monte Cristo" again. Unabridged. It was awesome. This was also the year I began writing simple online reviews. 5: "Pride and Prejudice", "Of Mice and Men" and "All Quiet on the Western Front". The beginning of the Classics age. 4: "War and Peace", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "East of Eden" and "Animal Farm". Continuing with classics, "making up" for years of reading "childishly". 3: "1984" (not impressive), "The Neverending Story" (awesome), and "The Bell Jar" (impressive but depressing). 2: I started recording books I'd read, keeping a list, and writing more reviews. "Germinal" the year's winner and while there were many good books in 2008, I seem to have read many, many bad ones.
But this isn't a list of the best of the decade because I don't know enough to be able to do that. This is the decade that raised me as a reader. 10 years ago, I was literally a child, unable to read the vast majority of books in my home library. I started this decade with big books being read to me (like the first two Harry Potters) and ended it with "Vanity Fair" and "War and Peace" under my belt. 10 years ago I read the childish fantasy books that so appealed to my growing imagination - today, I enjoy a Sci-Fi Month to see where else non-realism can take me. This decade has seen my reading styles emerge, but has not yet seen them set in stone. The next ten years can still see much change in what genres I like and what types of books are best suited for me. This is where it gets interesting...