Midweek @ Musings: 2011 Year in Review

‘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:

Click here for a 4-graph slideshow!

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):

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:

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!

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8 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: 2011 Year in Review

    • Sherry, thanks for the link! I used to link to your Saturday review all the time, but fell out of the habit. I’m glad you left a comment to re-recruit me.

  1. I loved The Memory of Love too. I have The Sense of an Ending on my TBR. I really want to read the Powell books. Happy reading in 2012!

    • Kinna, the Powell books are definitely a project. I’ve been reading the “movements” (collections of 3 novellas in a single book), which are 700+ pages. Reading individual novellas would be less daunting and you could read one per month. They’re very good!

  2. Looks as though you had a fantastic year. I’m not surprised The Winter Ghosts is your most disappointing read – I suggest you avoid all of her books.

    Your favourites were all great books (although I didn’t love them as much as you did) The only one I haven’t read is the Powell – I’ll have to try it one day. Have a wonderful 2012!

    • Jackie, thanks for the tip on Kate Mosse 🙂 I’m not sure what you’ll think of the Powell. They are slow stories where not much happens, despite taking place over 50 years time!

  3. How lucky that you squeaked by, accumulating fewer books than you read. I guess that means you can buy a few MORE next year, if only you can up your page count?!

    I know the editions of the Powell books you’re referring to, but I have to admit that I like the idea of reading the little pocketbooks that I so often see in second-hand shops. Oops, was that more talk of collecting? ::sigh::

    Off to read your 2012 resolutions now: woot!

    • I am actively resisting the temptation to collect the little Powell pocket books. Since we have all 4 of the “movements,” it’s a bit easier to resist. But I know someday I’ll walk into a bookshop and see one … argh!

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