About a year ago I made a new year’s resolution. I resolved to read 52 books in the year of 2011 – a book for every week. Said resolution was based on the fact that a year before that I decided to record every book I read in a year, and at the end of 2010, I was surprised to have read less books than I thought. I read 31 books in 2010 (26 if you’re not counting re-reads, but I count them, as you’ll see if you read the list). If I can put away The Hunger Games in a day, I thought I could do better than that. Frankly, I thought 52 would be easy.
Oh, self. That would be cute if it wasn’t so sad. Readers, I blame the month of July and the month of November for the result of this attempt. July because I read one book. One book. Really. November because sometime during that month, I utterly gave up on finishing. In a way, I think that helped the panic that came with December. Initially I had planned to get off to a good start in the year (which I did) and only leave a book or two for the crazy holiday season of December (which I didn’t).
I read 52 books in 2011. But it nearly killed me. Behold the complete list, which once again does not include submissions to the literary agency I worked at, short stories, fanfiction, essays, or blogs.
But first, I will list my three favourite new reads of the year:
1 & 2) The Demon’s Surrender, Sarah Rees Brennan, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
Tied for first and second place in my mind are two very different books. Rees Brennan’s book is the conclusion of a trilogy I’ve been following for many years. It deals with Human Emotion, brothers, demons, and what it means to actually hate your family and still love them more than anything. Larsson’s book I loved for her. Murder mysteries are great. Seriously. But she shone with the light of a hundred monitors. Salander broke my heart and broke it again. I tried to give a legit first and second place, but I couldn't choose a favourite between these books. For additional interest, I’d like to see the heroes of both these books put in a room together so I can take bets on who speaks first.
3) Misery, Stephen King
Oh, Stephen. You know you are my favourite even if I turn into a sniveling wreck of a woman whenever I read you. Misery had me so far gone that when something good happened, I was unable to continue reading for several hours because I knew it was going to go so horribly, horribly wrong. And I couldn’t! I just couldn’t. I picked it up again a few hours later (because Steve, honey, you know I can’t stay mad at you) and made it to the end, but I knew I was right to take that break. It did go horribly wrong, and I would have been broken.
Valiant, Holly Black – The last line was easily the most romantic thing I’d read all year.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – Because someone was heart-breakingly right about a kiss.