Saturday, December 31, 2011
The Year-End Meme
I happened to be over at Jen's Book Thoughts, and when I read her answers to this year-end meme, I knew I had to give it a try, too.
There's something about taking stock at the end of a year. As I turned the pages of the book journal that I've kept, I was reminded of what a wonderful reading year this has been for me. I'll have a "statistics" post coming up in the next day or so, but right now, I'd just like to think of some of the most memorable reads I've had in 2011.
Best Book of 2011
I resist any attempt to force me to choose one favorite book. In a very real sense, it's like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. Each year I have a page on my blog where I keep a running list of the books I've read and to which I've given the highest ratings. I'm on the verge of finishing my last book of the year, and it has all the signs of joining this list which currently holds nineteen books (making this one of my best reading years yet). Of the books published in 2011, three of my favorites are A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley, and A Vine in the Blood by Leighton Gage.
Worst Book of 2011
I'm not going to list any titles here. I didn't finish reading six books this year. I had a couple that I only rated as D's, and there were several C's. For whatever the reason, these particular books just didn't push the right buttons for me, but I don't think any of them deserve being pasted with a "Worst of" label.
Most Disappointing Book of 2011
Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2011
I expect to enjoy each and every book I read, but I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed A.D. Scott's A Small Death in the Great Glen and The Informationist by Taylor Stevens. Scott's Scottish Highlands of the 1950s is vivid and alive, populated with a splendid cast of characters. In Vanessa Michael Munroe, Stevens has created an unforgettable, unpredictable character that I hope to read about for years to come.
Book You Recommended to People Most in 2011
Winged Obsession by Jessica Speart, and The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. The first about the devastation one man has caused in the natural world; the other about two men who were determined not to let poisoners get away with murder.
Best Series You Discovered in 2011
Bruno, Chief of Police of St. Denis, a marvelous village in the Perigord region of southwestern France. This series (I've read two of the three books) pushed all the right buttons so hard that some of them are stuck.
Favorite New Authors You Discovered in 2011
Of course I have to include the aforementioned Martin Walker, but lounging in the front row with Martin are: Timothy Hallinan, whose Nail Through the Heart is exceptional... as is Barbara Nadel's Belshazzar's Daughter. These three authors opened my eyes not only to wonderful characters but to the countries of France, Thailand and Turkey in ways that will remain with me for years to come.
Most Hilarious Read of 2011
Jeffrey Cohen (AKA E.J. Copperman) and Mark de Castrique's Dangerous Undertaking, but the winner is Marshall Karp's The Rabbit Factory.
Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2011
Mad Mouse, and if you know that "mad mouse" is the term for a type of roller coaster, you just might have an a- HA moment!
Book You Most Anticipated in 2011
There are authors whose latest books I'm always champing at the bit to get my hands on... Craig Johnson, Nevada Barr, Deborah Crombie to name three. However if the book itself is more important than the author, I would have to say I was really looking forward to P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley. If you started reading this post from the very beginning, you'll know that the ending of this story isn't exactly a happy one. One can pay quite a high price for being greatly anticipated....
Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2011
However, this UK cover of Ann Cleeves' Blue Lightning is both striking and memorable with its strong weather, lighthouse and bolt of lightning.
Most Memorable Character in 2011
Four came to mind almost immediately: Ruby Thomas, the title character of Joseph Wallace's Diamond Ruby; a horse-- Snowman-- star of Elizabeth Letts' The Eighty-Dollar Champion; Andrew Davidson, grieving brother-turned-vigilante in Bill Kirton's The Darkness; and the winner-- Nina Borg, a woman who found a little boy stuffed in a suitcase and refused to shirk her responsibility for his well being, in The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis.
Most Beautifully Written Book in 2011
A Trick of the Light. I love the way this woman writes. It's as if she has a window into my soul.
Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2011
Two (and both because of the characters): Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friss' The Boy in the Suitcase and Jessica Speart's Winged Obsession.
Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2011 to Finally Read
In the Bleak Midwinter, the first book in the Clare Fergusson/ Russ Val Alstyne mystery series. Sometimes I should ignore all the hype and just. Read. The. Book. Already.
That's it for the year-end meme. I love reading these sorts of lists, so if you have one, please leave a link so I can go right over there and take a look!
My next year-end post will be for all you statistics and chart lovers. Stay tuned!