2011 End of the Year Round-up

It’s the start of a new year, and the perfect time to look at the last year–including how my reading went!  I already gave you some of an update in the Reading Challenges Post, but I wanted to do a round-up of favorite books (and least favorite!)

To give you some stats, my total books read in 2011 was 169.  I’ve been keeping track for the last 7 years, and 169 is about normal for me.  My last two years of reading were lower, so I’m glad to see that rise again.  Of those 169, 50 were rereads, or about 30%.  I’ve decided to only choose from new books for the selections below.

Here’s the good and the bad of 2011.

1) Best Book  –  I am having trouble making a decision here.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was amazing; I stayed up late two nights in a row reading it, and I loved the writing and the romance.  Turnip and Arabella from The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig were, as I expected, my favorite characters I met all year.  And The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins really is as good as all the buzz suggests.  So there’s my top three, very different, best books of the year.

2) Worst Book  –  No question here.  Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson was awful on almost every level.  Honorable (or dishonorable?) mention to How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain; you wouldn’t think a book with that title could go wrong, but it did, by being all about a teenage boy’s crush on a girl who was completely horrible to him—but beautiful.

3) Most Disappointing Book  –  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  My hopes were very high (see #1) and they were sadly dashed.

4) Most Surprising (in a Good Way)  –  Probably this one goes to 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.  After seeing the movie, I was surprised by how coherent the book was!

5) Best Series You Discovered – Since I have started a lot of series and need to read through them, I’m basing this one more on promise than on what I’ve actually read.  With that in mind, I’m giving the nod to The 500 Kingdoms by Mercedes Lackey.  Sleeping Beauty was good, and based on the world and the writing, I’m hopeful about the rest of the books in the series.

6) Most Hilarious Read  –  I read several of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, and I’m tempted to give it collectively to them.  To choose one, I’m saying Going Postal.  Funnily enough, Terry Pratchett was my most hilarious read of last year too.  I’m not really surprised…

7) Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2011 to Read It  –  I could say Jane Eyre, but I somehow feel more inclined to say The Eyre Affair.  I first heard about The Eyre Affair in high school, and have been meaning to read it ever since.  I suppose the same is true of Jane Eyre, but I was actually more fascinated by the premise of The Eyre Affair—ironically, since I ended up liking Jane better.

8) Most Looking Forward To in 2012  –  I’m not sure this year.  A lot of authors I follow are working on something interesting, but they won’t necessarily be out in 2012.  So I think I’m most looking forward to the next Jacky Faber book by L. A. Meyer.  I don’t know for sure he’ll have one out either, but I have faith.  🙂  He always has, for the last several years.  But even if I’m not anticipating a lot of new books in 2012, there are plenty of already-published ones I’m looking forward to reading!

13 thoughts on “2011 End of the Year Round-up

  1. I like your end of year round up. I’ve read two of your best books, Jane Eyre – which I absolutely adore and is my favourite Bronte novel and Hunger Games which was also an excellent read – Like you I was disappointed with Mockingjay – I didn’t hate it but I just didn’t love it! I’m doing a Sci Fi challenge for the month of January and so I’m reading some vintage – will be reading Foundation and Positronic Man. I don’t think I read enough Sci fi some I’m giving it a chance! Currently reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

    1. Carl’s Sci Fi Experience, right? I’m doing that too–I’m pretty sure I saw you over on the sign-up page. 🙂 I also feel like I don’t read enough sci fi, so it’s a good incentive to focus a bit. I’m almost done with my first book for the challenge, and have I, Robot and Ender’s Game lined up too, among others. Good luck with your reading! I read Foundation earlier this year and enjoyed it, although it was a trick to keep track of the characters.

      1. Yeah, Carl’s sci fi – I love his blog and he encourages me to read different books out of my comfort zone. Plus I took part in his Lord of the Rings read along last year which was really good with loads of discussion. I’m glad that you’re taking part – you seem to share quite a few of the same books that I like (although, I confess, I do read rather a lot of YA – but I just like it, what can I say, it’s a good bit of escapism!) I wanted to read Ender’s Game but my library don’t have it!! I could order it but by the time I get round to it (being a bit shambolic) the challenge will be finished probably. I’m reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth now (but this is part of The Little Red Reviewer Vintage sci fi month, then going to do Foundation for Carl’s readalong (although I’ll be behind no doubt).
        Lynn 😀

        1. If you like YA, you’re in the right place! I read rather a lot of YA too…I like clean humor and happy endings. And I think YA and kids books (the good ones, at least) can be so much deeper than they’re usually given credit for. I’m not sure I knew about a Foundation read-along. I had been putting off finishing the trilogy until after some other books I have stacked up, but I may need to move it up in my plans…

          I should have my first Sci-fi Experience reviews up next week, and I look forward to reading yours too!

  2. Oh! I love Mercedes Lackey. There was a time in high school when her Valdemar books were just about all I read. The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy is wonderful, if you haven’t already read it. I think of it as Tamora Pierce for adults.

    1. There are few things you could say that would do more to make me want to read an author than to compare her to Tamora Pierce. I was at a New Year’s party this weekend where I got into a very excited conversation with a girl I didn’t even know about how Tamora Pierce changed our lives. 🙂 Mercedes Lackey was already on my “read more” list, and now you’ve given me even more incentive.

      1. I haven’t read her books in ~10 years, so I can’t speak to how well they’ll hold up, but the great thing is that if you like them, there are TONS of them. I’d start with the Arrows trilogy (Arrows of the Queen, Arrow’s Flight, and Arrow’s Fall), and then decide whether you want to skip around with the different series or go back and read the rest in chronological order.

  3. “jJane Eyre” is on my “books to finish reading in 2012” list. I have several I started but haven’t finished after the last few months of 2011. Reading the newspaper every day seriously cuts into my time to read books! My new year’s resolution is to read a book for at least 20 minutes a day, though, so I hope that will be enough incentive to finish the ones I’ve started and to start some new ones, too.

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