Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 in review: Books

For the sixth year, here's a list of books I read between last January and December. A bit of number crunching to follow:

1. The Forest People - Colin M. Turnbull
2. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland - Patton Oswalt
3. U2 At the End of the World - Bill Flanagan
4. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade - Diana Gabaldon
5. Juliet - Anne Fortier
6. Lord John and the Hand of Devils - Diana Gabaldon
7. A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman
8. Skippy Dies - Paul Murray
9. Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern
10. Fall For Anything - Courtney Summers
11. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
12. Room - Emma Donoghue
13. Animals and Objects In and Out of Water - Jay Ryan
14. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love - Kristin Kimball
15. Chocolate & Vicodin - Jennette Fulda
16. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
17. The Memory Palace - Mira Bartok
18. Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson
19. Let it Be - Colin Meloy
20. Bossypants - Tina Fey
21. The Gunslinger - Stephen King
22. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
23. The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King
24. The Waste Lands - Stephen King
25. Wizard and Glass - Stephen King
26. Wolves of the Calla - Stephen King
27. Song of Susannah - Stephen King
28. The Dark Tower - Stephen King
29. The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex - Kristen Schaal & Rich Blomquist
30. Veins - Drew
31. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
32. A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
33. The Wilder Life - Wendy McClure
34. A Clash of Kings - George R. R. Martin
35. A Storm of Swords - George R. R. Martin
36. A Feast for Crows - George R. R. Martin
37. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
38. Sweet Valley Confidential - Francine Pascal
39. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
40. Swimming to Antarctica - Lynne Cox
41. Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares
42. Atonement - Ian McEwan
43. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
44. Incognito: the Secret Lives of the Brain - David Eagleman
45. The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
46. Duma Key - Stephen King
47. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
48. Janes Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. - Caissie St. Onge
49. One Day - David Nicholls
50. The Deep End of the Ocean - Jacqueline Mitchard
51. No Time to Wave Goodbye - Jacqueline Mitchard
52. My Father’s Daughter - E.L. Konigsburg
53. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World - E.L. Konigsburg
54. A Secret Gift - Ted Gup
55. The Unfinished Angel - Sharon Creech
56. The Castle Corona - Sharon Creech
57. Somewhere in Time - Richard Matheson
58. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood - David Benedictus
59. Wildwood - Colin Meloy
60. The Unwritten Vol. 1 - Mike Carey
61. The Unwritten Vol. 2 - Mike Carey
62. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
63. Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth - Matthew Inman
64. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
65. Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin
66. The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje
67. A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard
68. Ashes - Ilsa J. Bick
69. Secret Daughter - June Cross
70. 11/22/63 - Stephen King
71. The Unwritten: Dead Man's Knock - Mike Carey
72. Snow in Summer - Jane Yolen
73. Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine
74. Boy's Life - Robert McCammon
75. The Apothecary - Maile Meloy
76. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
77. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson

78. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
79. The Scottish Prisoner - Diana Gabaldon
80. The Disappointment Artist: Essays - Jonathan Lethem
81. The Family Fang - Kevin Wilson
82. Blue Nights - Joan Didion
83. Black Notice - Patricia Cornwell
84. The Last Precinct - Patricia Cornwell

Total books read: 84. Two more than I read in 2010.

Previously read: 15 (18%) About the same as last year's 17%.

Marketed for children/teens: 14 (17%) The same as last year's 17%.

Fiction: 60 (71%)
Nonfiction: 24 (29%)
Even more fiction-y than last year's 63% - 37%.

You should definitely read: Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Secret Gift by Ted Gup. Tina Fey is smart and awesome and hilarious and supercool and I want us to be best friends. Maybe you'd like to be Tina's best friend too. But until that happens, you can tide yourself over with her excellent memoir. "A mother's prayer for its child," among other things, is just about perfect. A Secret Gift (full title: A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression) was a book I picked up on a whim at my local library. Gup tells the story of the anonymous man who offered $10 to seventy-five Ohio families before Christmas in 1933, based on personal letters of application. The anonymous man was Ted Gup's grandfather, Sam Stone, as Ted discovered - along with all of the letters - in 2009. He tracked down living relatives of recipients to find out how the gift impacted their lives. Their stories are interwoven with the story of Sam Stone, and it becomes apparent that Sam's 1933 philanthropy was just one of his many secrets.

Don't bother reading: No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacqueline Mitchard. I had previously read two of Mitchard's books, Cage of Stars and The Deep End of the Ocean, and enjoyed both. So when I found out that a sequel to The Deep End of the Ocean existed, I couldn't wait to read it. Well ... I should have waited. Maybe forever. I have no idea what happened between the writing of Ocean and the writing of Goodbye, but the difference between the two felt like the difference between the first books of the Baby-Sitters Club series, awesomely written by Ann M. Martin, and book #192, Claudia and the Haunted Ring Ding Wrapper (or whatever), written by some ghost writer who'd barely skimmed the previous books. In short: it is not good.


Heidi said...

I fail at reading books like you do. I wish I could, but I cannot. I will say though, that I enjoyed "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. So yay, I read a book last year! ha ha ha!

Allison said...


Your review actually inspired me to try and get Bossypants from the library. I'm 63d on the waiting list.

And on an unrelated note, google has just given me "humpr" as the security word verification. Humpr.

BeeKay said...

I have the audiobook version of Bossypants from the library right now! I'd been on the waiting list for about seven months. Listening to funny people read their own books is hard to beat. Plus, you get asides like, "Check out the PDF - that pantsuit will blow your mind."

Heidi said...



I'm immature