Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thoughts on 2011 and Looking Forward to 2012


The year is over, and I completed my goal of reading 60 books in 2011! Actually, I read 61 and beat my previous record of 60 from 2009. [Last year, you may recall, Howard Zinn slowed me down at the end and I didn’t quite make 60. Thanks, Zinn.]

Looking back on my list of reading from the past year, I’m not inspired to create a “best of” list like I’d usually do; there are not a handful of books that stand out as utterly magnificent in every way. Instead, I’m going to make a few lists. (A couple books don’t have reviews up yet…they’re coming!)

Sucked me in the most:

  1. New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
  2. Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagan
  3. Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

Entertained me the most:

  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  2. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
  3. Anastasia Again by Lois Lowry

Pondered the most:

  1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamad
  2. I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden
  3. Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner

Learned the most:

  1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  2. Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
  3. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Bored me the most:
  1. The World As I Found It by Bruce Duffy
  2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  3. The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick [So bored that I didn’t even bother reviewing.]
Disappointed me the most:
  1. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  2. Life With Mr. Dangerous by Paul Hornschemeier
  3. Swamplandia! by Karen Russsell

2011 wasn’t a very profound year for reading in the sense that I wasn’t very adventurous in what I read with the exception of the World Reading Challenge, which expanded my international oeuvre. It was a fabulous way to make me read a larger variety of voices. I didn’t sign up for it again, though, because of my new reading goals…

In 2012, I want to:

  1. Read more non-fiction. I feel I’ve done pretty well with that in the past couple of years, but I think 2011 was the exception.
  2. Read what’s on my book shelf. I have a billion books to weed, but I can’t do that without first determining if they’re worth keeping or not!
  3. Pay attention to my mood when selecting a book. If I just read southern fiction, read something else next. If I want to read something light and easy, pick up that chick-lit I’ve been avoiding for months. If you read according to your mood, chances are you’ll like the book better than if in the wrong frame of mind.
  4. Don’t ever stress myself out over finishing a book on a deadline. Reading is meant to be enjoyed, and it’s not fair to the book or author if you rush through it!
I’m going to keep a reading goal of around 60 books. As busy as I am, I don’t think upping that number is very realistic!
Here’s to a great year of literature!


Aarti said…

I think those are really good goals.  Every year, I put the first two goals you have listed on my list- I really need to read through what I already have, and I want to get more non-fiction in.  I've recently found that I really enjoy social history, so that is how I'm meeting my non-fiction reading goals, for the most part!

Kari said…

I'm with you on the social history. It's my favorite kind of non-fiction, too! I'll have to hunt down some recommendations from your blog.

Susan Bennett said…

60 books?  How ambitious!  I managed a book and a half last year.