• Top 10 Reads of 2011

    Date: 2011.12.28 | Category: Books, Me, Nostalgia | Tags:

    At the end of every year, I like to look back on the books I’ve read and highlight my favorites.

    I was terribly afraid that I wouldn’t have a good selection to choose from because of Sarah taking up so much of my time.

    Turns out because I wanted to read too badly, I managed to read quite a bit. A healthy 37 books. That’s just over three books a month. And I’m not even counting all the children’s books I read to Sarah regularly. Score!

    So here are my top 10 favorite books I read in 2011.

    (Note: I re-read the entire Harry Potter series and it’s still amazing, but because I re-read it I won’t list it here).

    10. The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

    I love Alice Hoffman. So when I was digging through my mom’s books looking for something to read, I picked this one up. At first I couldn’t get into it. The initial story was lackluster and I considered putting the book down, but then I got to the second story… This book actually is composed of three stories that go backward in time. Each earlier story affects the story you read before it. And each story is also better than the one before it. I’m glad I stuck it out, because the second and third stories were fantastic, especially when taken into context of all the stories combined. I loved the mind play.

    9. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

    I listened to the audiobook of this right before I had Sarah. Yes, it has a vampire love story (which I know, I KNOW). But, it takes place in Oxford, which has a special place in my heart. And it’s really more about these amazingly nutty witches and supernatural creatures and their search for a mysterious book. Despite some moments of cheese, I enjoyed this book and enjoyed the characters even more. I didn’t know this was the beginning of a new series though, so the cliffhanger ending was such a disappointment.

    8. Heidi by Johanna Spyri

    This book was on my list of top 100 literary classics I want to read. And while the story was simple, it nostalgically reminded me of watching the movie as a kid. And I loved Heidi’s character and wanted to take a trip to the mountains after reading this book. I can’t wait to share this story with Sarah one day.

    7. Day of Confession by Allan Fulsom

    I’m not normally a mystery/conspiracy reader, but I stumbled upon this one at the library while  I was looking for a fun distraction from life as a new mother. This face paced thriller fitted the bill. It was a fast chase with some awesome and chilly characters. A fun, easy read.

    6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

    I had heard so much about this book from so many people, so I picked up the audio book read by the author. It was bizarre, but beautiful. Lots of universe traveling with a great message. This story had heart and I would gladly read it again.

    5. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

    My friend Dana sent me this book and said I had to read it. This was a story within a story, and while the outer story was bland, the inner story of a famous, mysterious author dictating her biography was fascinating. There are creepy, mysterious twins, a ghost, a house burning and lots of Jane Eyre references. I fun, macabre read. This also made me pick up Jane Eyre again.

    4. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

    Another random library pick, though I do love Neil Gaiman. This is a collection of macabre short stories.  Some were whimsical, some were fascinating, some were creepy and some were down right disgusting. All of his stories have the right amount of mystery and endings that link back to beginnings. I enjoyed this story collection, especially “The American Gods” novella and “The Sunbird.” Wonderfully weird.

    3. Bossypants by Tina Fey

    This book will always hold a special place in my heart because it was able to make me laugh despite going through PPD. This book  put me in a good mood every time I picked it up. Tina is such a talented writer and has perfected self deprecation to an art. Her response to hate posts on the Internet were especially funny, as were her stories about her childhood. A funny, quick read.

    2. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

    Murakami’s stuff is so weird, but so fascinating. This book was no exception.  I love how he mixes ideas, philosophy, reality and the metaphysical to create great mystery stories. There is something very “Lost” about this novel that makes you want to read more and more. Of course, in true Murakami style, there are some disgusting parts to this story, but they all tie in together. And while there are still some parts I don’t completely understand, I loved the ending and how everything came together.

    1. A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice Book 1 by George R. R. Martin

    Fantasy literature is easily my favorite genre. So when I saw that HBO was making a series based on this epic fantasy novel, I added it to my must read list. I wasn’t disappointed. This book has tons of characters, each with a distinct point of view enmeshed in a world of brutal power struggles. Each character is so believable and Martin isn’t afraid to do the unexpected. I absolutely loved this book despite it’s 700+ page length and am already eagerly devouring book 2 of this series.

    Note: All opinions and the list are my own, though if you click the book and buy it through Amazon, I do get a little commission.