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2011: The Year in Books

I did it. I read fifty books this year. After 2010's embarrassing performance, I'm rather proud of myself, especially since that fifty includes some really long ones like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and 1Q84 and some really hard ones like The Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children.

I enjoyed the vast majority of them, and I enjoyed the experience of spending most of the year ahead of my quota, then playing catch-up at the very end. I wasn't sure I would make it: I finished #46, Midnight's Children, only a couple of days before Christmas, leaving a week to read four novels. Luckily, I found some good short ones. I'm looking forward to some longer ones this year, but I think I'll try to stay away from the long and difficult. Rushdie does have some shorter novels.

Here's my list from 2011, formatted like my 2010 list. Bold means I really liked it, and italics means I really disliked it. If it's neither of those, it was good enough. I'll use strikethrough for the few books I tried to read and gave up on. You can check out the reviews in the 2011 archive in the right column.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Franny and Zooey
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
  • Good Morning, Midnight
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Oryx and Crake
  • The Satanic Verses
  • The Hunger Games
  • This Side of Paradise
  • Popular Hits of the Showa Era
  • Labyrinths
  • Catching Fire
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Disgrace
  • Mockingjay
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  • Crime and Punishment
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Herzog
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Blue Sword
  • The Year of the Flood
  • Americana
  • The Moviegoer
  • Watership Down
  • The Silent Land
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  • The Short Stories of Conrad Aiken
  • My Life in France
  • The Savage Detectives
  • Cannery Row
  • A Handful of Dust
  • Sweet Thursday
  • O Pioneers!
  • The Lake
  • Lullaby
  • Everything that Rises Must Converge
  • Cosmopolis
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • The Hero and the Crown
  • The Devil All the Time
  • The Book of Sand
  • The Castle
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • The Night Circus
  • 1Q84
  • Wise Blood
  • Midnight's Children
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • The Sense of an Ending
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • The Loved One
I haven't yet announced my favorite book of the year. Last year, it was David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, with Murakami's Dance Dance Dance as a close second. If you would have asked me then, I would have predicted that 1Q84 would top my list this year, but I didn't like it half as well as I thought I would, though that doesn't mean I didn't like it. And, if you've been following my blog recently, you might expect Midnight's Children, but no! It's a close second to...

Drumroll please...

Yep. The best book I read this year was the very first one. I think it's My Very Favorite Book Ever. I'm not going to rehash my review here. The closest rival is, as I said, Midnight's Children, but that's because they're so similar. I hope I find a book half as good as either of those in 2012.

So, that's it. Out with the old, and in with the new, as they say. I have another fifty books ahead of me, and fifty-two weeks to read them. Wish me luck.
How do I...

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