‘Tis the season for “year in review” posts, whether they are about the most important cats of 2011, or books. 🙂
So here I am with a wrap-up on all things reading in 2011. I’ve also been doing some housekeeping by adding to my Best of Musings page and sprucing up the design with a new header, which also graces the top spot on this post (photo credit). I wanted an image that shows the fun of collecting (and, yes, reading!) used books. In 2011, I added 65 books to my library; 32 were used Virago Modern Classics and 22 were swaps from Paperbackswap (I also sent 18 books off to new homes).
It was a little scary, tallying up my new additions that way. I was truly relieved to find I read more books than I acquired. I’ll end the year having finished 77 books (23,500 pages), an average of about 6 1/2 books per month. I continued last year’s trend of reading much more literature written by women than men. If you’re a graph geek (and you know I am!), you can see all that and more by clicking on the graphic:
I began the year with a pledge to “read normally,” which meant abandoning reading challenges and being more spontaneous in my choices. This worked really well, and both more fun and more satisfying. My top books for 2011 were all 5-star reads, and have earned a spot on my favorites list (click on links to read reviews):
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, by Anthony Powell
- The Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna
- The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
P&P was a re-read, and even more enjoyable the second time around. Dance was a fabulous find, discovered quite by accident after doing the “Which books were on the bestseller list the week you were born?” meme. I’ve since read the “second movement” and plan to complete the series in 2012. The Memory of Love was nominated for the Orange Prize, and The Sense of an Ending won the Booker Prize, so I guess I’m not the only one who liked them!
My least favorite books were two I found weak on both plot and character development:
And my greatest disappointments came from three books I couldn’t finish:
- The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
- The Good Apprentice, by Iris Murdoch
- Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck
I had high hopes for The Eyre Affair, but found it gimmicky. I was most surprised by the Murdoch and Steinbeck, since these are authors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past.
This year I also got a Kindle, loaded it up with free classics, and purchased a few books. I enjoy it but since I’m selective about what I buy, I haven’t gone hog wild. I also acquired my first Persephone Classic, and received two more as gifts, so there may be more collecting in store!
As happens every year, there are so many books I wish I’d read, but just didn’t have time. I know, there’s always next year — and I’m planning to focus heavily on my stacks in 2012. Be sure to stop by on January 1 for my 2012 Reading Resolutions!