Kate Ward
January 01, 2010 AT 05:00 AM EST

Spend your year tightening your belt for the recession? Traveling the world? Eating every piece of food that graced your plate? Well, why not write a book about it? These authors did.

Read the dictionary
A word lover devours 20 volumes of the OED. (Reading the OED, 2008)

Played French horn
A man confronts midlife with a brass instrument. (A Devil to Play, 2008)

Faced unemployment
An American copes during Japan’s recession. (The Year of No Money in Tokyo, 2009)

Trained a pup
A man and a scruffy dog team up for a competition. (Dogged Pursuit, 2009)

Biked around the globe
After retiring from the Air Force, a colonel bikes through 41 countries. (A Year Without Underwear, 2006)

Tried Christianity
An Orthodox Jew trades his yarmulke for a cross. (My Jesus Year, 2008)

Ingested scary things
A Brit foodie travels the world to eat insects, offal, and more. (The Year of Eating Dangerously, 2007)

Survived a recession
A woman keeps a diary about life in the troubled U.S. (The Year I Saved My [Downsized] Soul, 2009)

Lived among radicals
A man remembers working for an extremist Islamic charity. (My Year Inside Radical Islam, 2007)

Boycotted goods
One family attempts not to buy any products made in China. (A Year Without Made in China, 2007)

Took photos
Two women 3,191 miles apart snap pics before 10 a.m. (A Year of Mornings, 2008)

Tried to be happy
After an epiphany, a woman attempts to lighten up. (The Happiness Project, 2009)

Listened to Oprah
A woman follows the talk-show host’s lifestyle advice. (Living Oprah, 2010)

After his father’s death, a man says Kaddish every day. (Living a Year of Kaddish, 2003)

Toured Europe
A couple take their very old cat on a grand European tour. (A Year of Sundays, 2004)

Resisted buying unnecessary items
In order to save some serious green, a woman attempts to purchase only essential goods. (Not Buying It, 2007)

A woman says yes to every man who asks her out. (The Year of Yes, 2006)

Ate competitively
A man tries to win eating contests by gorging. (Eat This Book, 2006)

Cooked like Julia Child
A blogger cooks all of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Julie & Julia, 2005)

Followed the Bible
An agnostic man opts to live by the good book’s rules. (The Year of Living Biblically, 2007)

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