Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Reading Year in Review



So here we are at the end of the year and as I reflect back I am amazed at all that has occurred. I wonder how I even found time to read. Between my pregnancy and our traveling I had little attention span and even less time. I guess that accounts for all the "light" reading I did (lots and lots of "cozy-mystery" stories). In fact, I find it interesting to note that my reading total for 2011 is only slightly higher at the end of the year than it was at the end of 2007. I find this fitting considering the fact that in both 2007 and 2011 I spent most of the year either being pregnant or caring for an infant -- those two things alone make it difficult to find quiet time to read. Still, I didn't give up my passion for books entirely, but read as time allowed. And so, as has become tradition (see my postings in 2008, 2009, and 2010.) I want to post a recap of the year by listing some statistics about the books I have read and highlight what I believe were the best and worst reads of the year. (** Note: The books that I have reviewed are hyperlinked to my review and you can view them by clicking on the title and author. ** )

TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2011: 53 (listed here)


LONGEST READ IN 2011: Known & Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld at 832 pages.

SHORTEST READ IN 2011: Antigone by Sophocles at 116 pages.

BEST BOOK DISCOVERY in 2011: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Recommended by a friend I began reading this book knowing nothing about its subject. In the end I came away with the feeling that Unbroken was one of the most powerful books I had ever read. Definitely worthwhile reading!

WORST BOOK DISCOVERY in 2011: The Blue Rose: An English Garden Mystery by Anthony Eglin. This wasn't an awful book, but it certainly wasn't great. It had a lot of potential, but in the end I found it full of cliches and very predictable. It was so-so and I didn't bother to look up any other books in the series.

FAVORITE CLASSIC READ IN 2011: Considering I only read a couple "classics" I don't have a long list to choose from. Still, I think I'd have to say my favorite this year was: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It has been on my "To read" list for several years and I was excited to finally read it. It was definitely a worthwhile read.

BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN 2011: Keeping up both reading and blogging in spite of how hectic my life was between traveling to family weddings and funerals, working a part-time job, taking care of my active 4 year old, and being pregnant... Oh and hosting the third annual Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge during my 8th month of pregnancy.

BIGGEST FAILURE TO COMPLETE IN 2011: There were several books I picked up, began reading and then gave up. I won't list them here, but I will admit that what I consider more of a "failure" was my writing. I really slacked off in reviewing the books I read. In fact, I am ending 2011 with an even worse record of reviews than I did in 2010. As things stand right now I have 16 books un-reviewed compared to the 7 I left un-reviewed at the end of 2010. Still in debate as to whether it's too late for me to post something.. I did catch up on my 2010 reviews in early 2011, so maybe I'll catch up on 2011 in 2012. We shall see.

TOP 5 BOOKS IN 2011 THAT SURPRISED ME (in order as read):
1. The Belfry by May Sinclair
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Chaff in the Wind by Edna Walker Chandler
4. Antigone by Sophocles
5. The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse


GREATEST READING ACCOMPLISHMENT IN 2011: I did not read any mega books in 2011. As I look back over the year and all that occurred I think my biggest accomplishment was that I kept reading. There were so many times when I didn't have time or energy or mental ability to sit and focus, but I kept going. I read as time allowed, I read what interested me, and I read when I felt like it. In the end I have reached the end of the year and feel somewhat revived and ready to tackle a new year. It'll be interesting to see what I accomplish in 2012.

TOP 5 BOOKS I WISH I HAD READ AND PLAN TO READ IN 2012:
1. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
2. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4. True Grit by Charles Portis
5. Snow White by Donald Barthelme


TOP FIVE FAVORITE READS IN 2011:
1. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
3. The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
4. Gaudy Night: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane by Dorothy L. Sayers  
5. They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie


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And so, as was the case in 2011 I will probably just strive to achieve a healthy balance in my life. I want to keep reading and I'd like to keep this blog running, but not to the extent of my family or work suffering. I guess I'll just take things as they come. To echo what I said last year: In the new year I may only read a half dozen books or I may find time to read 100. I may only review my favorites or I may review them all. Whatever happens I am sure the journey will be fun. So here's to 2012! I hope you'll stick around and see where it takes us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

5 comments:

Annette W. said...

:)

Brittanie said...

I want to read The Help too. :)

Angel said...

I read The Help a few months ago and really liked it! :)

dancingbythelight.com said...

You're the second person to talk about "Unbroken." I'll have to put that on my to-read list.

I posted my list here: http://dancingbythelight.com/2011/12/29/what-i-read-this-year-2011/

If you want, I'm doing a "Mr. Linky" link up and you can link this post here. I'm all about sharing the reading love! :)

Carrie said...

I like the way you summarize your year ("longest read", "shortest read", etc.)

Some years are just MADE for cozy mystery reads. To read at all during some seasons of life seems to be a very special privilege. I think you balance remarkably well.