Best of Reading for 2011
I offered a tongue in cheek version of this survey on Sunday. Below are my more “adult” answers.
Jamie, the Perpetual Page Turner, provided us with a whole slew of questions about our 2011 bookish endeavors. I’m only answering the book questions below–not sure if I’ll use her blogging questions for a separate post or not. Definitely have a lot of blogging thoughts to reflect on, but… :)
1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
I’m sad to say that 2011 was not a year of bests—I was much too distracted to focus on reading and when I do have some time here and there to pick up a book, I usually fall asleep within five minutes. Ha!
That said, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is one that has stuck with me. It was a tough read, but it was beautiful, snuck up on me, and hit me hard.
Looking for Alaska by John Green is a close second. I also really loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett—both the paper and audio versions.
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. After all the raving, I wanted to love this one but just didn’t.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (audio). I had seen this one around a lot but didn’t have much interest in the story. I listened to it while my brother was reading for school and was immediately absorbed.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I think I’m running out of fingers to count the amount of people I’ve convinced to read this book. Some have loved, some didn’t. That’s OK. Second would be The Help. Though I was recommending this one before I even read it!
5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild on audio and Into Thin Air), Bill Bryson (At Home on audio), and W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil).
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audio) was definitely not something I’d normally pick up, but it kept my interest and was a lot of fun to listen to.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson(audio). I have a friend who read the book and had qualms with the writing, but the audio was certainly unputdownable!
9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Yes, it’s a children’s book but It’s Time to Sleep, My Love by Nancy Tillman. GORGEOUS illustrations. I could read this book a million times just for the drawings.
11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Minnie Jackson from The Help. Especially as narrated by Octavia Spencer on the audio version.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
The Painted Veil, The History of Love, The Namesake, Looking for Alaska. All beautifully written in very different ways.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
Not done with it yet, but What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen is one I’m currently reading and wish I could underline every sentence.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Guess I’m good at waiting until some of the hype dies down.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
“I lit a cigarette and spit into the creek. ‘You can’t just make me different and then leave,’ I said out loud to her. ‘Beause I was fine before, Alaska. I was fine with just me and last words and school friends, and you can’t just make me different and then leave.’ For she had embodied the Great Perhaps–she had proved to me that it was worth it to leave behind my minor life for grander maybes, and now she was gone and with her my faith in perhaps” (Looking for Alaska 172).
And the final tally of books read and listened to in 2011. There is a small chance that I’ll finish one of the two books that I’m halfway through, but…
Books Read in 2011 (links to my thoughts)
1. True Grit – Charles Portis
2. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
3. Looking for Alaska – John Green
4. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
5. Notes from the Underbelly – Risa Green
6. Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List – David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
7. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance – Elna Baker
8. The Painted Veil – W. Somerset Maugham
9. The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
10. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley
11. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
12. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
13. Maman’s Homesick Pie – Donia Bijan
Books Listened to in 2011 (links to my thoughts)
1. Good to Great – Jim Collins
2. Friday Night Knitting Club – Kate Jacobs
3. Alice I Have Been – Melanie Benjamin
4. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
5. Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson
6. Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
7. Bedwetter – Sarah Silverman
8. Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
9. At Home – Bill Bryson
10. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
11. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
12. Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief – Rick Riordan
13. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan
14. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
15. Before I go to Sleep – S. J. Watson
16. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
This year is the first year that I’ve counted audiobooks–I don’t think that I’ve ever listened to more than just a couple each year. I’ve really come to enjoy the medium and missed my listening time when I was on maternity leave. I still have a tough time with some audiobooks, but I have an easier time abandoning books if I’m not enjoying them. I look forward to continuing to discover the world of audiobooks in 2012.
Overall 2011 wasn’t a truly terrible year for reading. I wish that some of the books I’d read had been more Spectacular, but for the most part I enjoyed what I picked to read. I don’t think that 2012 will be an improvement on this year, but I do want to continue to pick my books with purpose.
How was your 2011 reading year? Any favorites? Anything you’re dying to read in 2012?