Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Reads of 2011

Two posts in two weeks?  It's been months since I've managed that.  Go me!  Apparently, however, my inspiration is limited to top ten lists hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (and insomnia) but that's okay.  This week, I get to reflect on what I read in 2011.  Whoopee!  Apparently I read 22 books in 2011, including two that I have yet to review, as well as assorted short stories and at least eleven audiobooks, most of which I did not review (because most of them were Harry Potter and been there, done that).  Except for the audiobooks, most of this reading was done in the first eight months of the year.  Here are my top ten favorites, in semi-reverse chronological order:

1) The Boat by Nam Le: I finished this collection in an airport a couple of days ago and haven't had time to review it yet (maybe in the airport later today), but trust me, these stories were absolutely wonderful.  I can't wait to tell you more about them.
2) H.P. Lovecraft stories: I only read a few, but they were freaking awesome.
3) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: I know that my review of this tome was rather ambivalent, but I tore through it and on reflection, it's really grown on me.  There may actually be a super-belated follow-up post on my original review - that's how much my feelings about it have changed.
4) Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: This novel was just beautiful.  I recommend it to anyone who loves to get lost in beautiful writing.
5) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: So the internets have been all aflutter about this book, and not just in the good way.  The industry and some reviewers (including myself) were all like whoa guys, read this, it is the bestest and then people read it and were like well it was nice but what about this and that and that other thing and then the industry and some reviewers I was all like wow maybe you have a point NO I WILL NOT LET YOU TARNISH IT FOR ME AND SINCE WHEN DID YOU GIVE A CRAP ABOUT PLOTS.  I also had the advantage of a pre-hubbub ARC, which probably helped.
6) Room by Emma Donoghue: This book was creepy and disturbing and fed into some news-related obsessions of mine.
7) The Cider House Rules by John Irving: This book was long and awesome and also fed into thought-interests of mine and made me rethink some things, which is a tall order for a work of literature.  Nicely done, Mr. Irving.
8) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: A fun, silly, literary start to a fun, silly, literary series!  Yay!
9) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: This was oddly done (in a good way), disturbing, and really snuck up on me.  It's amazing how for most of the book I could be all meh and then just be struck dumb at the end.  Wow.
10) The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood: I read this nearly a year ago, but I still remember how much I enjoyed it.  This was Atwood's first novel and a really interesting look at how much her writing has changed while her core persona still remains so much the same.  I love how her feminism comes across in this novel and how she doesn't have to write dystopia to be awesome.

Phew!  That's ten!  As I was going back through my archives, I thought that I would go over, but February and March seem to have been dry months for me and I just managed to stay within the limits.  It was a good reading year, even if I've hardly managed to read anything for the last four months.  Here's to an equally successful year of literature in (the summer of) 2012.  And to me managing to get up those last two reviews before this year is out.  Happy reading!


  1. The Night Circus was on my list too (also had an ARC, which I think makes it easier to read a book without expectation or hype). LOVED Room and had it on my list last year. One of my coworkers a couple of years ago loved The Boat and I've been meaning to pick it up ever since. Can you tell me--how does the author pronounce his last name? Is it really like the pronunciation of "le" in French? That seems so awkward for a last name to me...

    Anyway, I'm meandering now. Great list--and yay for two posts in two weeks!

  2. I listened to Never Let Me Go via audiobook, read by Emilia Fox, and I absolutely loved it! So glad you enjoyed this one also.

  3. Middlesex is a grower, isn't it? I liked it a lot when I first read it but like you, I like it even more looking back on it.

    Happy reading in 2012! :)

  4. Crow- I've been pronouncing it "Lay" because yes, the French "le" would be weird. I have no idea if I'm right though as I've only ever read his name.