A Year in Reading (Favorite reads of 2011)

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Like any other year, 2011 was a mixed bag of sorts for me. I read about 85 books this year (15 short of my original target) - but many were books that I enjoyed at so many levels that I'm not too fussed by the number. There were a few I could have done without, but overall, it's been a good year in reading.

Of the 85 books I read, 36 were 2011 releases. I'm quite impressed with that because I imagined I read far less 2011 books. Depending on which side of the bed I wake up from each day, I either like reading more current books or not. It's a fluctuating thing - sometimes I wish I read more classics, but the very next day, I'm all into the new releases.

Still, 36 isn't a huge number, so I'm going to list the books that made an impression on me, without looking at their publication dates. I read a total of 62 fiction titles, so I'm listing 10 titles that I would gladly recommend to you.

Favorite fiction reads

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  2. Good Neighbors by Ryan David Jahn
  3. Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb by George Rabasa
  4. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  5. Far to go by Alison Pick
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  7. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  8. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  9. The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
  10. Repeat it Today with Tears by Anne Peile

Favorite nonfiction reads

  1. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
  2. Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford
  3. The Good Daughter by Jasmin Darznik
  4. The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke
  5. The Freedom Writers' Diary by Erin Gruwell
The first four titles above were all ARCs. I was intrigued that most of the nonfiction titles I read are those offered as review copies. Lately though, I've been looking out for more nonfiction titles, so I hope the stats change next year.

Favorite graphic books

  1. Maus 1 & 2 by Art Speigelman
  2. Anne Frank by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
  3. Green River Killer by Jonathan Case and Jeff Jensen
  4. Vietnamerica by GB Tran
  5. Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme
I read about 20 graphic books this year and loved most of them. I hope to continue reading more of them next year.

Some of the books I loved when I first read them no longer seem to hold me in the same awe now, so I did change a few ratings today, but on the whole, I remember most of the books to be just as good as I first wrote about them. Have you read any of these?

38 comments:

Helen Murdoch said...

Great list of books! It is interesting to see which books live to be favorites by the end of the year. My favorites from your list are: MAUS and Bel Canto. I haven't read any of your non-fiction books, which I will have to remedy!

Athira / Aths said...

I want to read more nonfiction titles next year. I've been reading a lot lately, so hopefully I'll have a lot more in my kitty next year.

Kate Towery said...

I loved the Night Circus and really want to read Ready Player One- great list!

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

The only one of those books I've read is Ready Player One and it made my list for the year too.  You've had a busy year.  I hope 2012 is your best year yet!

Jill Broderick said...

So many people have Night Circus on their lists!  And Murakami!  I really want to get to Ready Player One this year!  Great list!

Happy New Year!

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

You had a much better reading year than I did, that's for sure! I'm glad to see The Night Circus on your list because I just bought that book a few days ago. Can't wait to get started!

zibilee said...

I have read a few of these, and a few others are going to be reads that I tackle in the upcoming year, so I am glad to hear that they were so good! I also had to shave down my list a little bit, and change some entries, because while I initially thought that I didn't have a good reading year, when I did some investigating, it turns out that I really did! Great post today, Aths!

Happy New Year!!

Wendy said...

The only book on your list I've read is The Night Circus - which I did love (although it did not make my top books list this year because of the other competition! LOL) I have several of the other books in my stacks (man, there are just too many great books to read!!!) - and a couple you listed I am thinking of purchasing. Thanks for sharing!!! I love this time of year for all these fantastic recommendations :)

Tea Time with Marce said...

I really want to read Repeat it with Tears and Buddha Attic after reading your reviews, great to see them on your fav list also.  Happy New Year Aths :-)

Shelleyrae @ Bookd Out said...

Great picks!

Lorren said...

I read Bel Canto this month and absolutely LOVED it! I've heard really mixed reviews of Buddha in the Attic but it is one I plan on trying out. I'm also curious about the Freedom Writer's Diary!

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I hope you get to both books! :)

Athira / Aths said...

I can't wait for the 2012 reads to kick in! There are so many books I'm looking forward to.

Athira / Aths said...

So glad to see you, Emidy! I've been missing your posts! I loved Night Circus, so I hope you like it!

Athira / Aths said...

Night Circus and Murakami made my year! You should check them both out!

Athira / Aths said...

I really struggled to shorten my favorites list! It was so hard trying to figure out which book was better than the other. But it was fun to do, and I can't wait to get started with 2012!

Leeswammes said...

I think I could easily take these books to a desert island and be happy for a while. I read Far to Go recently and liked it, but didn't love it. The Night Circus is great, as is Kafka on the Shore. I haven't read any of the others but heard good things about it (through your blog & others).

Athira / Aths said...

I had so much fun checking out everyone's lists, but it is so hard figuring out which ones to read soon. There are just so many choices! These lists are just awesome!

Athira / Aths said...

Thank you! Happy New Year to you, Marce! I hope you have a great years in books.

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! :)

Athira / Aths said...

I'm so glad that you loved Bel Canto! It was one of the first books I loved in 2011!

Athira / Aths said...

I wish I could go to the desert island myself. I just came across a ton of recommendations from everyone's year-end posts, that I have no idea where to start.

ChewDigest said...

I have been bugging my library to get A Thousand Lives ever since you reviewed it. I just now gave up being "tight" and bought it. Still have Good Neighbors, Buddha, and Ready Player One in my TBR pile.

Really need to stop reading these wrap up posts, my virtual piles are getting huge!

Happy New Year!

Alex (Sleepless Reader) said...

Miss Entropia seems to be doing the rounds of 2011 Favorites *adds to wish-list*. Bel Canto made my list the year i read it. I've also enjoyed The patron Saint of Liars by her. Happy 2012!

Melissa said...

I absolutely loved The Good Daughter. And you listed a bunch of books that I wanted to read in 2011 but didn't get a chance to (The Buddha in the Attic, Ready Player One, The Night Circus, The Long Goodbye). I will definitely get to them this year.

Jenny said...

Ooh we had some of the same favorites! I read Bel Canto a while ago and really liked it except I didn't care for the ending... but now that I'm older and feel like my reading taste has matured a little, I'm thinking I would like it that much more!

Anna said...

So glad to see The Night Circus and Far to Go on your list, too!  I just finished a graphic non-fiction book, but I'm going to have to read some graphic novels, too.  Maus is high on my list!

Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) said...

I loved THE NIGHT CIRCUS, too.  I think it's one book that actually lives up to all the hype!

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Great year of reading you had. Night Circus is at the top of my list too. You have some gems in 2011.

Athira / Aths said...

I can't wait to hear what you think of the books! I hope you enjoy them all. I have ended up with a huge list of books to read as well from all the wrap-up posts! Sigh...

Athira / Aths said...

I need to read more of Ann Patchett's books - I've enjoyed two of her so far. So glad that you liked Patron Saint.

Athira / Aths said...

I hope you enjoy them all! I can't even choose one book over another. 

Athira / Aths said...

The ending wasn't perfect for me either, but I was so swept by the book otherwise that I couldn't give it any less than 5 stars. The ending of State of Wonder bugged me greatly though. 

Athira / Aths said...

Maus is definitely amazing - I hope you enjoy it! 

Athira / Aths said...

That's what I loved about it. I went in expecting not to like it because of the hype but it managed to impress me. 

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! I hope you get to try some of them! 

Jen @ The Well Read Fish said...

I am SO glad I found a book blog not just about YA novels! Great book recommendations. My Wish List is filling up fast!

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! :) I hope you find a few good books!