Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2011 Reading Wrap-Up

I struggled to read this year. I still lack focus, and it seems that fruit flies have longer short-term memories than mine. Books usually serve as my escape, an armor I slip into to shield me.
There are some things in life that you cannot hide from, though, and heartaches and loss that strike like an armor-piercing round.

I finished 169 books in 2011, the lowest number since I began tracking the books I read in 2007. It dropped my average from 202 books a year to 195.

By the Numbers
Total: 169
Number of books that I'd read before: 46
Non-Fiction: 7
Mysteries: 26
Romance: 76
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 17
Young Adult: 16
Anthologies/Short Story Collections: 8

I tried a few new series in 2011, a few that I’ll stick with and a one or two that I’ll skip. I discovered Casey Daniels’ “Pepper Martin” series because they are set in Cleveland. Those were fun. Molly Harper’s “Nice Girls” series involves a librarian turned into a vampire. It shares similarities to Mary Janice Davidson’s Betsy the Vampire series, but the main character in Harper’s series is more likeable.
Here are six books that stand out from 2011:

“River Marked” by Patricia Briggs
The latest in her Mercy Thompson series about a woman who works as a mechanic in the Pacific Northwest and shape-shifts into a coyote. Start from the beginning with “Moon Called.” Briggs’ “Alpha and Omega” series is connected to this one and also worth reading.

“A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah E. Harkness
Very hard to put down, with intriguing characters and a fast-paced stoyline. It’s the first in what will be a trilogy. The next book comes out this summer.

“Candy Freak ” by Steve Almond
An addictive look at not only candy, especially chocolate, but the industry that produces it and the little Mom and Pop-type places struggling to keep their brands alive.

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
Another book that is hard to put down, and one that I was sorry to finish. Loved the characters and the intrigue of it.

“Just Like Heaven” by Julia Quinn
Quinn’s writing creates characters vividly brought to life in books that make me smile, laugh and cry. A wonderful romance.

“Falling Together” by Marissa de los Santos
The author is also a poet, which comes across with her lyrical writing style. I enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as I did her novel “Love Walked In.”

Honorable mentions
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards, “Ghost Story” by Jim Butcher, “I am Half-Sick of Shadows” by Alan Bradley, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, “All Roads Lead Me Back to You” by Kennedy Foster and “The Mark of the Golden Dragon” by L.A. Meyers.

The Meyers and Bradley books are the latest in young adult series, and a lot of fun to read. Butcher's book is the 10th or 11th in his Dresden Files series.

I highly recommend this website if you want to learn the order of books in a series.

I plan to limit the books I re-read in 2012. The few exceptions will be the first Stephanie Plum book before the movie comes out in January, and the fourth Spellman book before the new title comes out by Lisa Lutz. My 2011 resolution was to not buy books, and that lasted until March when I was stranded at O'Hare for six hours and ran out of things to read. This year, I'll limit myself to one new book a month, and if I buy more than that, I have to get rid of two books for every new one purchased. I also hope to read more non-fiction in 2012.

1 comment:

Marja / Glass Elements said...

Love the Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series! I want more! :)