Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year End Wrap-Up - Part 1

I'm not copping out on you on December 29th.  But, my mother just left yesterday, readership is low this week, while people are still enjoying or recovering from the holidays, and I have a book review due soon for Library Journal.   Perhaps the best reason to do a year end wrap-up is to do justice to the authors.  It's not really fair to write a book review when readership this week is a third what it normally is.  So, I'll summarize this year's reading in the next couple days, toast and remember the year on Dec. 31st, and kick off the new year with the Treasures in My Closet post.  Watch for the listing of new books on January 1st.

In the meantime, here's part one of the 2010 book recap.

I read 178 books this year, down 23 from last year.  But, 2009 was my best year ever, with 201 books.

There were a few mitigating circumstances this year.  My husband died in February, so I lost some reading time for a while.  And, I worked on a chapter for a forthcoming reference book every weekend for a month.  So, it's not surprising I lost 23 books.   Eighty-nine of the books read were mysteries and crime novels, exactly half.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should change that comment at the top, "with an emphasis on mysteries."   No.  Those are still the books I'm most passionate about, and I'm most interested in mystery authors.

I enjoy discovering the first book by a novelist.  I read seventeen this year, fifteen of them mysteries.   The exceptions were Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff.   Beth's book was on my list of the year's favorites.  2010 may be remembered as a year for exceptional debuts.  Crime fiction readers should take note of Dennis Palumbo's Mirror Image, Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen, John Verdon's Think of a Number, Gerrie Ferris Finger's The End Game, Random Violence by Jassy Mackenzie, Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney, Drink the Tea by Thomas Kaufman, Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts, Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews, Avery  Aames' The Long Quiche Goodbye, Hilary Davidson's The Damage Done, Treachery in the Yard by Adimchinna Ibe, Laura Alden's Murder at the PTA, Todd Ritter's Death Notice and Bruce DeSilva's Rogue Island.  I'm sure there were a number of other outstanding debuts I missed, but this group includes some exceptional books.    Thank you to all of the authors for their work.  I was lucky enough to meet, and, even host a few of you.  And, I'm looking forward to your second books!

In August, the Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime held their Write Now! 2010 Conference, inviting me to attend as their first fan guest of honor.  It was a wonderful day.  I had the chance to meet the authors who spoke; Jim Born, Robin Burcell, Bryan Gruley, and Sheila Lowe.  I can't thank the Desert Sleuths enough.  They gave me a year's membership to the group.  And, they debuted their own story collection there, How Not to Survive a Vacation.  They are a fun group to host for Authors @ The Teague.  Thank you, to true sisters.

I can't do a year's wrap-up without mentioning the Poisoned Pen Bookstore.  It's been a few years since it was popular to refer to your favorite place, other than work and home, as "the third place."  But, the Poisoned Pen truly is the third place in my life, where I meet friends, authors who sometimes become friends, and discover books.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ebooks won't be the end of this wonderful independent bookstore.  Thank you to Barbara Peters and her wonderful staff.

And, thank you to every reader of this blog.  I want to thank you as readers who love books.   You comment on the posts, tell your friends about the blog, follow me here, and on Twitter (@LesaHolstine).  I love to run the contests, and give you the chance to win a book.  It's fun to tell you about books and discuss them here.  I love to hear that you read and enjoyed a book I reviewed.  Thank you for all the comments.  I love to write this blog because I know you're reading it.

So, come back tomorrow, when part 2 will include the year in pictures.


Anonymous said...

Lesa, I'm so very glad that you do write this blog and share your reading journey with us. It is a highlight of my day each time a new post appears. I have told so many people about it and you. You have a lot of fans here in Austin!

I know this has been a year of changes for you with sorrow, adjustment, and moving on in many ways. Glad to know that your Mom visited and I'm sure you two had a great time.

I wish you a very, very Happy New Year. I don't think we will make it to Phoenix this spring, but perhaps later in 2011 or in 2012. And when I get there again, I'll give you a shout out. Hugs to to you!!

Lesa said...


If anyone understands a year of changes and adjustment, you do. Thank you for your generosity in kindness, notes, and in sharing my blog with others. Someday, I'll even get to Austin, since one of my best friends (besides you!) lives there.

Happy New Year to you to, my friend. I hope it's a year that finds us with few worries and good health. Whenever you get to Phoenix, I hope you have the time to meet me at the Poisoned Pen, if nothing else!

Bev Stephans said...

Happy New Year Lesa!

Your comment about ebooks causing independent bookstores, i.e., The Poisoned Pen,to close made me sad. I just hope there are enough of us out here that still love the feel of a real book.

I briefly flirted with an ebook reader, but ended up sending it back. Too much hassle. With a real book, you open it up and start reading. Can't beat that!

Chantelle Osman said...

I know that my year was enhanced by getting to know you better, Lesa! And I know I speak for the Desert Sleuths when I say we hope that you grace our group with your presence for many more!

Beth Hoffman said...

Lesa, you always amaze and inspire me. With Jim's sudden passing in February, and all the many challenges and changes that arrived at your doorstep, you've managed to maintain your incredibly high blog standards and give us all so much to look forward to with your new posts.

When I say you are an inspiration, I mean it from my heart.

I'm still tickled that you loved CeeCee's story, and I'm so glad that we connected and have become friends. I enjoyed our time together this past summer, and hope we'll see each other again.

Happy New Year and blessings to you and all the furbabies.

Lesa said...


Fortunately, the Poisoned Pen is still open, and I'm hoping it will continue to be successful, and stay open. But, it's going to depend on readers and people like me, who continue to support the bookstore.

I have a Kindle, but I don't use it much. I prefer real books, too. You're right. You can't beat them!

Lesa said...


I think the Desert Sleuths are a group of terrific people. I'm renewing my national membership to SinC this week, and I'll definitely renew my membership to Desert Sleuths when the time comes. I've enjoyed getting to know you, and the other members.

Thank you for including me!

Lesa said...


I just know we'll get the chance to see each other again. You never know when, though. Maybe when CeeCee is filmed? I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that someone picks it up. Or, maybe sometime when I go to Ohio to visit my family, I can find my way to Kentucky. Your friendship is important to me, Beth.

I'm honored that you consider me an inspiration, Beth, but honestly, I'm just continuing to lead my life. I don't know how to do it any other way. But, I'm so pleased people continue to check my blog to see what I'm reading or talking about. Thank you, Beth.

Big hugs!

Avery Aames said...

Lesa, I can't believe how many books you have read! Wow. What a dedicated reader. Love it. Thank you for mentioning my debut book again. That was really sweet. I truly enjoyed meeting you at Poisoned Pen and having the time afterward with the SinC gals and you to chat and smile.

This coming year, may you be surrounded by love and laughter. May joy fill your heart.


kathy d. said...

The number of books you have read is awesome! And so is your blog.

What you have done in the last year is inspiring, as are your strength, determination and optimism.

Thank you for maintaining and writing this wonderful blog for readers and lovers of books--real books, the ones one keeps on their nightstands and can loan to friends.

Wish you a great year of good friends, family, books, blogging--and fun with the fantastic felines.

Kathy D.

Kaye Barley said...

Lesa, hi - we're just now home from our Christmas travels. I'm trying to catch up on all my favorite blogs and was happy to find that you're doing your recaps! LOVE this blog - and honey, I'll be here as long as you continue to share your wonderful reviews with us. Thank you, Lesa.
and a Happy New Year to you, my friend!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thank you, Lesa, for you dedication to mystery. I am so glad you write your blog and after your year, to read as many books as you did is simply amazing. Happy New Year!

Dru said...

I love your wrap-up. Some of the debut authors I've read and enjoyed their books.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Avery. It was so much fun to meet you and Jamie, and have dinner with the Desert Sleuths! And, I plan to have my year filled with love and laughter. I'm going to Left Coast Crime in March in Santa Fe. That should do it right there. And, a number of my friends in Desert Sleuths are going. I'll get to meet some people I've always wanted to meet, such as Janet Rudolph. Can't wait!

Lesa said...

Thank you, kathy. My hope for the new year is to have lots and lots of books to enjoy, and friends such as you to share it with. Thank you for returning to my blog, commenting on it, and enjoying my cats!

Lesa said...


I hope you had a wonderful out-of-town Christmas. I know how good it is to get home, though, and find that time to catch up. And, I'll be checking out your comments on DL and your blog as long as you continue. Since you're retiring sometime in the next year, you'll have even more time to spend with your DH and Harley. We expect wonderful adventures from the 3 of you! Hugs, my friend!

Lesa said...

I love mysteries, Leann. You're right. They're my passion when it comes to books. Reading Vicki Delany's Negative Image right now and loving it. Happy New Year, Leann. I wish you publishing success, and personal happiness in 2011.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Dru. And, tomorrow I have pictures!

Laura Alden said...

Lesa, thanks for mentioning my book. (So cool!)

And thanks to your recommendation, I just finished reading Robin Brande's "Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature," and I'm looking forward to reading her other books.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Laura! Congratulatiions again on your debut. I'm so glad you read Brande's book. I hope you enjoy Fat Cat, too.

Todd Ritter said...

Lesa, thanks so much for mentioning DEATH NOTICE in your year-end wrap-up. It was indeed a great year for debuts, and I'm both thrilled and humbled to be a part of this awesome freshman class. Wishing you the best in 2011!

Lesa said...

In fact, Todd, I'm taking DEATH NOTICE with me for my brown bag luncheon for the library staff in a few weeks. I'll be talking about fifteen books, and I'm including that one. Actually, the last couple years have been good ones for debut authors. That's good because someone has to replace my favorite authors, such as Robert B. Parker. Happy New Year, Todd! I hope 2011 is a good one for you!

Kris said...

You had a great reading year Lesa. I consider myself a lover of mystery too but noticed that I've slowly been reading more and more non-mystery books myself. I'll still consider mysteries my favorite genre though.

Lesa said...

I did have a good reading year, Kris, and I think this one might be just as good. I already have some promising books lined up. Mysteries are my favorite genre, but I review women's fiction for Library Journal, and sometimes I just need a break - a good nonfiction title.