Monday, December 12, 2011

The books of 2011

Last year I read 31 books. And this year I read ... 31 books.

Is that weird, or what? Especially considering that several of the books were from the "A Game of Thrones" series, and those books are like three books in one?

Speaking of that series, this year was the Year of the Series. I typically avoid series because I feel annoyed that the author is trying to trap me into reading all their shitty books. And oftentimes series really are shitty -- like the Twilight series. Lord help me, those books are bad. But you had to read every damn one, didn't you? But anyway, this year I read three series. Although one I finally gave up on -- the Sookie Stackhouse books. Oh, mama, those are rotten. The series I read that I ADORED and which you must read as soon as possible because they are making them into movies is the Hunger Games series. Just fabulous. Those are absolutely my No. 1 books of the year.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the list of books I read in 2011, in the order in which I read them. They are rated on a 5-star scale, 5 being awesome and 1 being crap-tastic.

Angelology, by Danielle Trussoni - 3 stars. This book was like: What if angels lived on Earth and were kind of assholes?

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen - 5 stars. I never did see the film version of this novel but I really, really enjoyed the book.

Origins, by Annie Murphy Paul - 4 stars. This book examined how a baby's time in the womb affects the rest of its life. Pretty fascinating!

Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, by Sami S. David & Jill Blakeway - 5 stars. I bought this book after I'd already been trying for a while to get pregnant. I got pregnant about five months after I bought it, so ... who knows? Maybe it worked. 'Course, I miscarried, but nobody's perfect.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen - 4 stars. This was a fun memoir written by a woman with really astounding bad luck and an awesome sense of humor. She grew up Mennonite, so there is a wealth of material to draw from.

Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work, by Mel Bartholomew - 3.5 stars. I really wanted to plant a garden this year, and reviews on this book were really great. Halfway through it, I kind of wanted to kill Mel. He's always saying it's so easy, but it sounds so hard. I never did get that garden planted, not that I can blame Mel for that.

Room: A Novel, by Emma Donoghue - 5 stars. Awesome book about a woman and her son held captive in a room for several years. You will tear through it once you read the first page. It's just fantastic.

The Genie in Your Genes, by Dawnson Church - 3 stars. The scientific prose in this book had me yawning, but some of the things it had to say about prayer and the possibility of alternate universes were quite interesting. The author believes you can heal yourself ... with your brain.

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, by Ree Drummond - 3.5 stars. This book was just OK. Maybe it's because I'd already read most of it on the Pioneer Woman site. I did get it signed by Ree in person, and was hoping to really love it more, but couldn't get there.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey - 3.5 stars. I really wanted to love this book, too. I love Tina Fey and think she's brilliant and hilarious, but something in this book had me feeling like she thought I was stupid, even though she and I have never met. I'm not sure how she did that.

Tinkers, by Paul Harding - 3 stars. Oh sheesh, Louise. I read this because it won a PULITZER, you guys. Well eff me sideways. If this is the kind of thing I have to write to win a pulitzer, I'll want to blow my brains out when I'm done. It was really depressing is what I'm saying.

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire & Ice, by George R.R. Martin - 5 stars. The first book is undoubtedly the best. And unexpected things happen, which is good.

A Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings, By George R.R. Martin - 4 stars. Pretty good!

A Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords, by George R.R. Martin - 4 stars. Also pretty good!

A Game of Thrones: A Feast for Crows, by George R.R. Martin - 2 stars. This one sucked donkey balls. I wanted to punch George R.R. Martin in the face when I was done with it because I was so bored.

A Game of Thrones: A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin - 4 stars. Pretty good! That's more like it, George.

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. What's up, stuff I read while I was waiting for my miscarriage? Oh, you're a kind of shitty book with a decent story line? All righty then. The TV show is so much better.

Living Dead in Dallas, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

Club Dead, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

Dead to the World, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

Definitely Dead, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

All Together Dead, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh. WHY AM I STILL READING THESE.

From Dead to Worse, by Charlaine Harris - 3 stars. Meh.

A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan - 3 stars. Everyone was going on and on about how much they loved this book. I found it irritating and self-indulgent.

Earth Abides, by George Stewart - 3 stars. What's up apocalypse? Love ya lots! This was written in the 70s and is a commentary on how stupid and wasteful people are. It wasn't as awesome as I expected it to be.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - 5 stars. YES. Awesomesauce. Read it.

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins - 5 stars. YES. Again. Still awesome.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins - 5 stars. What's up, best series of the year?! Can't wait to see you in the theater!

The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides - 3.5 stars. I really loved Middlesex, and wanted to love this book, but it depressed the everloving shit out of me. Its description of depression is way too accurate. Lots of people are loving this book, though, so don't take my word for it.

1Q84, by Haruki Murakami - in progress. I anticipate 4 stars. Shhhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone I thought I was reading a book by Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote Never Let Me Go, which I read last year and LOVED. In any case, I'm kind of loving 1Q84. Feel free to read it!

What books did you read and love this year? Tell me! And friend me on Goodreads! I put a button on the sidebar.


  1. Wow - great list.

    First of all, I never read Water for Elephants but really enjoyed the film despite my dislike for that Twilight dude and an indifference towards Reese Witherspoon.

    Secondly, Game of Thrones FTW!!!

    Third, I got a copy of Square Foot Gardening for my birthday but it's in storage and I never got to read through it much before I moved. But I have it!

    Fourth, yay, another Hunger Games fan! Woo-hoo!

    Fifth, I just reviewed The Marriage Plot and found it pretty meh. I LOVED Middlesex and TMP just didn't live up.

    Again, great list! We have a lot of reading in common, which is always cool.

  2. K just ordered the The Hunger Games and Origins. Speaking of Origins, why haven't I heard of that book before? I'm probably f*#king up my kid already. Great. :D Muah- thanks for the recommendations!

  3. While many of my book club members disagreed with my opinions:

    Absurdistan - Super funny, a little gross. 4 stars

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Perfect, brilliant, 5 stars

    Room: You're right. 5 stars.

    Winter's Bone: 5 stars - excellent

    The Road: omg so depressing 3 stars

    Tons of your books are on my list for next year! Well, maybe not so much the series books, but water for elephants, 1Q84, Never Let Me Go, The Marriage Plot (I loved Middlesex, too ... maybe I'll try to make my book club read that one at some point ...)

  4. Wow, you totally put me to shame! I'm so behind on my reading and it's ridiculous, because I used to read ALL the time! I'm reading The Time Traveller's Wife right now, but as soon as I'm done I'm going to pick up The Hunger Games. I've never heard a bad thing about it.

  5. WC - We do seem to have similar thoughts on books! Let me know if you come across any good ones. :)

    CMoore - drinking gin & tonics is OK when you're pregnant, right?

    SM - Will check out Absurdistan & Winter's Bone (saw the movie and liked it). TILOHL was awesome. And I loved The Road, but I wonder if I'd have loved it if I read it this year ...

    Vanessa - I loved The Time Traveller's Wife! Need to see the movie, although I imagine it will disappoint me. You'll love The Hunger Games!

  6. yes! you inspired my latest post. i agree with water for elephants, that book was like candy, i just ate it UP! ive added a lot of these to my list (hunger games, making babies, mennonite, and ROOM-i cant believe i forgot to get that one!)

  7. Good list!

    I am usually listening to 1 or 2 books and reading 2 or 3 others at any given time. I just started the Game of Thrones...sad that there is some sucky in there...only on Storm of Swords. I have only listened to the Sookie books on Audible...which I loved. Maybe listening to them makes them better?


  8. I read Water for Elephants a couple of years ago, and thought it was wonderful! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I heard it was good. I think the best book I read this year would have to be Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Get through the first 50 pages or so of teenage angst, and you won't be able to put it down. The Help was also fabulous. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox was another favorite of this year's reads. I didn't read as much this year as I usually do. I'll have to add the Henrietta Lacks book to my list for next year - it sounds very interesting. Right now I'm reading The Winter Rose, the second in the "Rose" trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly (everything she writes is pretty amazing), and a book on curriculum theory for a class (which is actually very interesting if you're into education). Perhaps we'll be adding your book to our "to-read" list for 2012 or 2013? Hmmm? :)

  9. Yay Suzanne Collins! In fact, I was so bummed when that was over (or actually, during the wait for Mockingjay) that I went out and bought her series for even younger readers, thinking I might find it slightly lame. I loved it. I loved it. Read the Gregor the Overlander series.
    Also, if you hated Twilight, try City of Bones (also a series...sorry). Clary, our hero, is pretty much the exact opposite of Bella Swan and therefore awesome. I've been reading lots of YA stuff (I didn't when I was a YA), and some of it is fun and good. This series has really snappy writing and interesting characters and I will stop talking now before I ramble on forever. (It has flaws, of course, but overall...).
    I love True Blood, and couldn't make it through the first Sookie Stackhouse book. I thought the writing was dung.