Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Books (The Sunday Salon)

In 2011 I read and reviewed 42 books here on SmallWorld Reads, and probably read a total of 10 others (juvenile fiction read aloud to my kids and/or books re-read for British Lit). This is down a few from my previous years. (See my other Best of the Years posts.) I have no excuses, other than that I fall asleep more easily than I used to. And so without further adieu, here are my lists.

Top 10 Books Read in 2011

Bloodroot by Amy Greene. From my review: "I didn't want Bloodroot to end. I miss it."

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. From my review: "I wish I had another book guaranteed this good to anticipate!"

March by Geraldine Brooks. Based on the character of Mr. March from Little Women. From my review: "Who is the real Mr. March? A devout minister, a coward, an adulterer, a doting father? Ultimately he is not the man his wife or daughters think he is, but he's also not the man he thinks he is."

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. From my review: "Oh my goodness. I laughed sooo hard while reading this book. I was actually guffawing."

My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. From my review: "This novel set during the Civil War was so fabulous, so compelling that I mourned when I had finished it"

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. From my review: "This is definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy reading around the outskirts of WW2—those unknown stories, the little snippets of lives changed forever."

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Re-read. From my review: "I love re-reading a novel and having it seem completely new."

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. From my review: "Adichie is a phenomenal storyteller and a lyrical writer—my absolute favorite combination."

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. From my review: Focuses on an English butler "whose sole job it is to serve others, even when it means sacrificing—or not being allowed to have—a life of one’s own."

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. From my review: "This is one of those books in which I wanted to keep underlining passages and turning down page corners. Such moments of profundity! Such perfectly poetic descriptions!"

* This is the place where I am supposed to pick out my absolute favorite of the year, but I don't think I can. I can only narrow it down to two. Interestingly, these are both debut novels: Bloodroot by Amy Greene and My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.

* As always, most of the books I read in 2011 were fiction; however, I do love nonfiction, particularly memoirs, and read a few:

* I added 42 book to my Ever-Growing TBR list, and I marked off 24. (Weirdly, those numbers are exactly the same as last year's.) My TBR list continues to grow faster than I can conquer it. But that's OK. I learned about books from posts on The Sunday Salon, Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books, the Book Review Carnival, from various internet sources, and especially from other book bloggers.

* • Below is the total list of books read, minus the juvenile fiction. Each link leads to a review. My star-ranking system is as follows: 5 stars--must read; 4 stars--highly recommended; 3 stars--enjoyable; 2 stars--ick; 1 star--no, no, no.

Linked up on Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books: Best of the Year edition


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I see several books on your list that I've read and enjoyed, like The Midwife's Confession, The Postmistress, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and The Wednesday Sisters. (Two of these I read in 2010).

I really want to read March, so it's going on my list!


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You should be very proud of yourself! What a great year for you.

Here are my Reading Resolutions for 2012.

Leah Courtney said...

I really should stop reading your best of book lists. I've already got so many books on my TBR list that I could live until the age of 100 and probably not finish. It doesn't help that I now have a Kindle and get freebies almost every day!

Rebecca Reid said...

what a great year in reading review! I love your comment on Pride and Prejudice and that's why I love rereading so much! I hope to reread a lot this year. And/or read from my shelves, since I have a lot of books to either read or pass on...

And I can totally relate to "falling asleep easier." That's happening to me a lot these days too!

UK said...

I read "THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS" the book explains how the cells were obtained, replicated, distributed, and used without informed consent of the owner and family by John Hopkins and how they benefitted mankind w/o compensation to the family. Author Skloot tells the story of a family victimized by socioeconomic conditions and racism that can't get fundamental things like health coverage while these cells make a lot of money for the health establishment. It is a disturbing read that will stay with the reader long after the book is finished. It may also make the reader take a long hard look at the need for standardized health care in our society among many other things.
Its a great book!

lee @ said...

so happy to have found you - i've been searching the web for a blogger with similar tastes. and i love that you take time to give the best of the best. i do that yearly, as well.

bookmarking your page so i can spend lots of time comparing lists!