Two thousand eleven was the year for comfort reads. While I did read a few thought provoking books, I spent most of the year craving brain candy. When I look over the titles of the books I read this year, I can pinpoint what was happening in my life at that particular time.The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
was a fitting book to read as I gave away hundreds of my own books, preparing for my move. I read most of the Patricia Briggs's books
, beginning with Moon Called
, during my final days of pregnancy when I needed something fast paced and deliciously good to distract me from the million thoughts going through my mind. I read A Game of Thrones
during those seemingly endless cluster feedings. Bloodline
was the first book I read in our new house. And Harley Jane Kozak's Wollie series
was what jump started my reading again when I was beginning to think I might never read again. Madelyn Alt's The Trouble With Magic
saw me through right after my father's death. It's only been in the last few months I feel as if I have found my reading groove again--even if in a limited capacity.
I am breaking from my usual tradition of posting my stats and own special book categories this year. My record keeping fell by the wayside, and I haven't the energy or time to try and pull it all together at this late date. Instead, I am turning to an end of the year survey that is going around thanks to Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner
.1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
Looking over the titles of the books I read this year, I an struggling over which book would take top honors. I read a little less than half of what I read last year, and so I hesitate to make a top ten list like I normally do. Instead, I will share the titles of a few books that most stood out for me:A Game of Thrones
by George R.R. Martin managed to hold me captive despite it's length at a time when my attention span was shot because of sleep deprivation and constant interruptions. It is the first in an epic fantasy series. The characters got under my skin and I fell under the spell of the world so completely. The HBO miniseries based on the book was pretty awesome too.A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception and Survival at Jonestown
by Julia Scheeres was not only well researched but also extremely well written. I learned so much I hadn't known before about the Jonestown Massacre, and about Jim Jones and his followers in general. There is much more to it than what meets the eye.
While Patrick Ness's The Chaos Walking Trilogy
amazed me in its detail and world building as a whole, the first book in the trilogy was by far my favorite. The Knife of Never Letting Go
was much more than I expected in terms of depth and heart. There was one scene in particular that was heartwrenching--I nearly threw my nook across the room.
by Lena Coakley was so very good. The writing, the characters, the setting , and the story . . . There wasn't anything I didn't like about it. It definitely is among my favorites this year.
Linda Castillo's Sworn to Silence
is perhaps my favorite mystery of the year. The protagonist is a complex character and her past played a particularly interesting role in this first in the series. I liked the setting, particularly the Amish cultural aspects and the conflicts that arose as a result.
2. Most Disappointing Book?
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
by L.J. Smith wins this category hands down. I wanted to like it because the television show is a guilty pleasure of mine, but the book fell completely flat for me.
3. Best series you discovered in 2011?
I finally got around to reading Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series and it quickly became a favorite. I am anxious to read more by the author.
4. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
I think most of the authors I read this year were new to me. Among my favorites would have to be Patricia Briggs, Lena Coakley, Linda Castillo, Patrick Ness, and George R.R. Martin.
5. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Hmm. I suppose I'll have to go with a book outside of my comfort zone on this one since I didn't tackle any new to me genres. Bossypants
by Tina Fey--not only did I listen to the audio book (way outside of my comfort zone), but I generally avoid celebrity memoirs. I really liked Bossypants
; I laughed all the way through it and have been recommending it to people right and left.
6. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Patrick Ness's Choas Walking trilogy had me from the first page. I began with The Knife of Never Letting Go, raced through The Ask and The Answer and devoured Monsters of Men.
7. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
I am afraid books were the furthest things from my mind when it came to anticipation. Baby. New House. These were things I anticipated. I did read several books that were published in 2011, however, all of which I enjoyed to different degrees.
8. Most memorable character in 2011?
Todd Hewitt and Viola from The Chaos Walking Trilogy captured my heart, but then, so did Arya Stark, the youngest daughter of Edward Stark, of A Game of Thrones. All three faced difficult times and were forced to grow up too fast. They each had an innocence about them and had good hearts.
9. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
Tigerheart by Peter David probably comes the closest. I loved how the author wrote his novel in the spirit of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. It was poetic and fun. I felt myself transported right into the pages of the book, lost in the descriptions of places and characters.
10. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs was so good! I am still kicking myself for putting off reading the series all these years.
11. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
I wanted to talk about The Chaos Walking trilogy with a passion you wouldn't believe. Only, everyone who had already read it seemed all talked out and those who hadn't yet--well, I couldn't exactly talk to them about it, could I? Ho hum. I almost made my husband read it but then decided against it. With my luck, he'd hate it and then I'd feel bad.
Another book that had me chomping at the bit to discuss was A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres. I actually did talk about it quite a bit as I was reading it--to my coworkers, whether they wanted to listen or not.
Two thousand twelve will no doubt be an eventful year. Soon the finalists for the Indie Lit Awards will be announced, and I will be busy catching up with the top five mystery nominees before the final votes are tallied. I will be hosting my first challenge, the Merely Mystery Reading Challenge, and I hope to join a few others just for the fun of it.
I predict my reading will follow a similar pattern this coming year as it did this year. I have enjoyed reading books from my own stacks and so want to keep the review books to a minimum. Also, I imagine I will be too busy chasing a certain little Mouse all over to read quite as much as I might like!
What were some of your favorite books and authors read this year? Did anything stand out above the rest? What are your goals for this coming year?
I mentioned before I might try my hand at writing about more than just books and movies here at Musings of a Bookish Kitty. I hope to do some of that this coming year. I would love to hear your ideas about what you might like me to write about. I confess I am not the best at brainstorming on my own so could use a little friendly guidance. Pretty please?
Also, I am going to start referring to my reviews as my bookish thoughts. I have never been good at writing a formal review and, really, my reviews tend to be merely my thoughts and reflections about how a book touched me or what I thought of it. Saying it's just my "bookish thought" takes some of the pressure off as well--at least psychologically. It gives me a little more freedom, if you will. Semantics, I know.
Before I close, I want to say again how grateful I am to those of you who are still keeping up with my blog. My posts have been sporadic this year, sometimes few and far between. I have not been able blog hop the way I would have liked which meant a lot less commenting on my favorite blogs. I truly appreciate your support this year and look forward to being more involved this next year. Thank you and have a very Happy New Year!
© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.