Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Books Read in 2011

I used to keep my book list in a Word doc. Earlier last year I transferred the whole thing to Excel. I guess it finally hit me that this many years’ of books needed to be in a better format. It’s been fun to be able to filter the list and I’ve even created a couple of flags for myself. But how did 2011 stack up? Actually not too shabby! I’m down a few from 2010’s record high but I’m surprised I still hit such a big number. I started a new job in September, requiring me to drive to work instead of take the bus, and that’s seriously depleted my reading time. I guess it helps when I’m rarely tackling such dense tomes that require a month to slog through…

I killed some time last week with an end of year meme over on my LiveJournal. One of the questions was “What was the best book you read?” I can never just pick one. I reread Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle, which is a personal favorite and something I think any ancient history nerd should read. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi was recommended for fans of the Hunger Games and was a fun and exciting young adult story, set in a ruined near future, an original story not requiring vampires or sequels. Matched by Ally Condie was a chilling young adult story that I found to be extremely prescient and could easily see that world happening if we keep on our current path. I recommended that one frequently. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – finally! A supernatural tale written for adults that don’t want stupid love triangles *or* explicit sex! And I fell in love with three new serieses: the Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking, the Alpha and Omega spin-off series by Patricia Briggs, and the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.

I also read a lot of non-fiction. I’m not sure if it was intentional but I definitely fell into the habit of checking out odd memoirs that caught my eye when I read reviews of them. These ranged from celebrities with interesting lives to regular people with interesting lives. Stuntman! by Hal Needham is a must for any fan of Burt Reynolds and American on Purpose is perfect for fans of comedy, Anglophiles, and punk rockers. I think Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio was probably the best of the non-famous people memoirs, and I didn’t even know most of the subjects he dished about while discussing how he essentially invented the modern concierge industry.

Book club had mostly good to excellent selections this year (in italics below), although I did give up on the November pick, Assassination Vacation, despite liking the subject matter because I was completely put off by the author’s voice. My favorites were the Steinbeck, the Gaiman, and the Greene titles. I can’t count the most excellent Down and Out in Paris and London because that was actually for 2009 and it just took me that long to get around to buying a copy and finishing it! I also read my usual dozen and a half or so graphic novels. The standouts there were Batwoman: Elegy, truly an amazing tale and incredible artwork, and The Griff, a unique riff on the apocalypse, told by Christopher Moore.

I don’t think I have any book related resolutions again. Last year I said I was going to sew more. That did not happen. At all. This year I’m going to try to bake something every week. I’m still getting a handle on gluten free eating and baking is definitely the area I’ve been most scared of. I’ve had some successes and some failures and mostly just middle of the road good-enough results. So even if it’s just a mix of gf Brownies from a box, I’m going to bake. And I’m going to get back my confidence. And buy xanthum gum and figure out what the hell it does.

1 Celestial Matters Richard Garfinkle
2 Palo Alto James Franco
3 Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell
4 The Hound of the Baskervilles Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
5 Batwoman: Elegy Greg Rucka & J. H. Williams III
6 I Am Number Four Pittacus Lore
7 Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 3 Hiro Arikawa & Kiiro Yumi
8 Ship Breaker Paolo Bacigalupi
9 Star Island Carl Hiassen
10 About a Boy Nick Hornby
11 Children of God Go Bowling Shannon Olson
12 Magic Bites Ilona Andrews
13 Bloody Valentine Melissa de la Cruz
14 Matched Ally Condie
15 The Help Kathryn Stockett
16 Something From the Nightside Simon R. Green
17 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 7 Twilight Brad Meltzer & Georges Jeanty
18 Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files Storm Front Vol. 2 Maelstrom Mark Powers & Ardian Syaf
19 Agents of Light and Darkness Simon R. Green
20 Nightingale's Lament Simon R. Green
21 Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 4 Hiro Arikawa & Kiiro Yumi
22 East of Eden John Steinbeck
23 Angel: After the Fall Vol. 1 Brian Lynch & Franco Urru
24 Hex and the City Simon R. Green
25 Huntress Christine Warren, Marjorie M. Liu, Caitlin Kittredge, Jenna Maclaine
26 Concierge Confidential Michael Fazio
27 Farscape: Scorpius Vol 1 Let Sleeping Dogs Lie David Alan Mack & Mike Ruiz
28 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists Gideon Defoe
29 Street Magic Caitlin Kittredge
30 Battle Royale Vol. 1 Koushun Takami & Masayuki Taguchi
31 Demon Bound Caitlin Kittredge
32 Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story Harvey Pekar
33 Paths Not Taken Simon R. Green
34 Mister Wonderful Daniel Clowes
35 Dead Reckoning Charlaine Harris
36 Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth Simon R. Green
37 On the Edge Richard Hammond
38 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Alan Bradley
39 Bone Gods Caitlin Kittredge
40 The Girls are Coming Peggie Carlson
41 Hit List Laurell K. Hamilton
42 Switched Amanda Hocking
43 The Wreck of the Waleship Essex Owen Chase
44 Torn Amanda Hocking
45 A Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness
46 Ascend Amanda Hocking
47 Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 5 Hiro Arikawa & Kiiro Yumi
48 Stuntman! My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life Hal Needham
49 Hell to Pay Simon R. Green
50 The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman
51 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 8 Last Gleaming Joss Whedon & Georges Jeanty
52 Ghost Story Jim Butcher
53 Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale Joss and Zack Whedon & Chris Samnee
54 Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy Edited by Ellen Datlow
55 Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil Deborah Rodriguez
56 The Witches of East End Melissa de la Cruz
57 The City of Ember Jeannne DePrau
58 The Member of the Wedding Carson McCullers
59 The People of Sparks Jeannne DePrau
60 Home Improvement: Undead Edition Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
61 American on Purpose Craig Ferguson
62 The Prophet of Yonwood Jeannne DePrau
63 On the Prowl Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, Sunny
64 Cry Wolf Patricia Briggs
65 The Diamond of Darkhold Jeannne DePrau
66 Hunting Ground Patricia Briggs
67 The Florist's Daughter Patricia Hampl
68 Cowboys & Aliens Fred Van Lente
69 Hexed Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, Jeanne C. Stein
70 Nerd Do Well Simon Pegg
71 The Sookie Stackhouse Companion Charlaine Harris
72 Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 6 Hiro Arikawa & Kiiro Yumi
73 Travels with My Aunt Graham Greene
74 Devil's Business Caitlin Kittredge
75 Rosemary and Rue Seanan McGuire
76 Farscape: Tangled Roots Keith R.A. DeCandido
77 A Local Habitation Seanan McGuire
78 Farscape: Red Sky at Morning Keith R.A. DeCandido
79 The Grace of Silence Michele Norris
80 An Artificial Night Seanan McGuire
81 The Griff Christopher Moore & Ian Corson
82 Late Eclipses Seanan McGuire