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.
- 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
- Catching Fire
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold
- Crime and Punishment
- The Grapes of Wrath
- Brideshead Revisited
- The Blue Sword
- The Year of the Flood
- 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
- Everything that Rises Must Converge
- 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
- Wise Blood
- Midnight’s Children
- The Sense of an Ending
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- The Loved One
This list is much more impressive than last year’s. In 2012 I’m attempting another fifty and trying to put a more formal spin on things since I’ll be cross-posting to the liberry’s webpage (yay!).
But I’m getting ahead of myself. 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…
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.