Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Favorite Reads of 2011

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Last January I joined Goodreads as a way to journal the books I'm reading and what I think of them.   They host a yearly challenge in which you set a book goal and they keep track of your status on the site.

My goal for 2011 was 52 books, one a week assuming that some weeks I might not finish one and some weeks I would finish several.

I read 55 books last year.

I can hardly believe it.

On January 20th I started The Hunger Games and finished on the 21st.
I read Catching Fire in it's entirety the next day.
I ran out and bought Mockingjay on the 23rd and finished it the 24th.

Despite the fact that I had a 11 week old baby, I gave-up any chance of sleep and inhaled the series.

Read the books and tell me what you think.
These are by far my favorite reads of 2011.

They stayed with me for weeks, the characters living in my mind throughout the days.
Nearly a year later I'm still excited about it.

Oh and the movie will be out in March and I seriously cannot wait.

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2011 could also be called the year of YA dystopian society novels.

After reading The Hunger Games Series I was eager to read anything suggested to readers who liked that genre.  I started reading all the suggestions and there you have most of them above.

Out of this group, although I like all of them, my favorite is Divergent by Veronica Roth.
May I also mention that she is 23 years old.  Incredible what people can do.

The Maze Runner, Birthmarked, Matched and Delirium are all the first books in a series.
I'll be reading the next book to all of them but to be honest I typically like to wait until all the books are out and then read them all, one after the other.

Delirium writer Lauren Oliver gets bonus points for being an awesome author/blogger and letting her blog readers name the next 2 books in her trilogy.  How cool is that?

In Delirium, love is a disease that the government cures you of when you turn 18.  It is required and a normal part of every day life.  

I thought love as a disease was an interesting concept as they dive into all the insane and sometimes awful things people do for love.  Life without love, including parenting, is a very odd thing to behold.

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I kept my momentum up by reading some fast YA novels in between some of my longer or heavier reads.  If I pick up a book and don't get into it in the first few chapters I put it down to and revisit it soon after.  Sometimes it's just a matter of mood.

That being said, I flew through these.
I won't go describing The Help as I'm sure you already know it's fantastic.

The Thirteenth Tale was awesome and recommended to me repeatedly by different people for good reason.  Lots of twists and turns and I enjoyed them all.

The Red Tent had been sitting on my shelf for years.  I've no idea why I didn't get to it sooner but I really liked it.  Based on a Dinah, mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Genesis it's a very interesting historical fiction.  I'll be reading more historical fiction this year.

Picnik collage

I'm positive that my new found addiction to the library (which I hadn't been to in years) helped fuel my reading.  Finding out you can have books transferred to your library for a quarter and having return deadlines really pushed me to find what I want and then read it immediately.

It also kept me from hitting a standstill when I lacked the funds to buy a new book.
Who can afford 55 new books a year?
That being said, I wish I owned some of these as they'd fit nicely in my future library.

I'll wrap up with a few children's books I really liked.

Don't scoff at children's books by the way.  We're not talking picture books, all of these were at least a couple hundred pages long.  In fact, Wildwood by Decemberist frontman Colin Meloy, was one of the longest books I read this year at over 500 pages.  I picked that one up because I got sucked into the gorgeous cover illustrations.

Anything But Typical was is one of those books that I want others to read because of the perspective it gives as the narrator is an autistic middle school boy, in a very simple way, that people of all ages will understand.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a coming-of-age tale about a young girl who already seems to be growing against the grain.  She bonds with her grandfather, the avid naturalist, as he teaches her about this mysterious and often shunned-upon topic called science.  Callie has 6 brothers, a resistance to wearing petticoats and lace and the dream of a future that is unique to girls in 1899.
What did you read in 2011 and what do you recommend I read in 2012?


  1. well yee haw...i love book lists. yours is awesome girlie. i devoured the hunger games series. can't wait for the movie!!!! i have the maze runner on my night stand. i just never seem to make time to read. starting a book club this year. hoping to remedy that problem.

  2. Oh, THANK YOU for sharing this list! I, too, loved the Hunger Games books and did searches for dystopian society novels after that, but haven't picked any up yet. I'll absolutely put these on my list. Ahem...because I have a bookstore gift certificate!

    And The Red Tent has been one of my absolute favorite books for years -- such a fantastically beautiful work!

    Again, thank you: a book list from a friend is the very BEST gift in my opinion :)

  3. I'm so glad I found your blog! First, WOW, you're amazing for reading so many books. Second, I've been looking for some new reads myself and these look like great recommendations. Thanks! Happy new year!

  4. I cannot believe you read 55 books in a year---that is insane to me! SO proud that you did that---what a great way to feed your mind! I think my oldest and you have a lot in common---little babies---lots of reading going on. She, too has found the library again after many years and has LOVED it---her MIL gave her a kindle for Christmas---but she has to buy those! I think she'll still find herself at the library. My younger daughter keeps telling me I must read "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"---that will be one of my first in this new year. If you read it, let me know what you think! Again---so cool that you read that much. (sorry for the book on the comment!) lol

  5. WOW! That is a lot of book! I don't have a kindle so I don't think I will make it through that many, but I got the Hunger Games trilogy for Christmas and am excited to read it :)

  6. I absolutely sobbed while reading the hunger games series. It was amazing. I'm so excited for the movies. I need to read some of the others on your list. We have the same taste in books. Love a good YA novel!

  7. So I finished the Hunger Games! Loved the first two books but was a touch disappointed with the third. The felt like we lost Katniss a little, and I missed the strong, rebellious, selfless girl we saw in the first two books, I felt like she let herself be used a little to much and we spent too much time in the hospital with her. I enjoyed the book overall and liked how it wrapped up, but I wanted a longer conclusion... I wanted more to their story- I needed some more details! :) Reading Divergent now!


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