2011: My Year in Reading!

Friends, here is my 2011 year in reading! (Not counting all of the children’s books I read when I was a nanny,  various zines, magazines, newspapers, online articles, and blogs I read.)  I wanted to write a blog for every book I read in 2011 but that didn’t exactly happen. Out of the 31 (almost 32!) books I read this year, I only wrote blogs for 13 or 14 of them…  Better luck next year I suppose.  I had hoped to read more like 36 to 40 books in 2011, but that’s okay. In 2012,  I am setting my goal at reading 35 books, with the knowledge that I will be in school and will not have as much time to read for pleasure.  Also in 2012, I would like to broaden my reading spectrum and include more non-fiction books and more classics, as the majority of what I read this past year was either young adult or contemporary fiction. So friends, here is my year in books broken up by category. In color is my favorite book I read in 2011 from that genre, followed by a brief synopsis. Oh, and I also tried to include the month I read the book, (although the months may not be entirely accurate…)  Oh, and I made a section for all the LGBT books I read this year even though the books are listed by other genres as well.  Enjoy! And feel free to ask me questions about any of these!

Young Adult Fiction

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (July)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (February)

Forever and Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (February)

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (March)

Catching Fire, Hunger Games, Mockingjay (series) by Suzanne Collins (April and May)

Amazing! Highly rated by many “best of” 2011 book lists and not without cause.  Many people that I spoke to about these books had to run right out and get the next book after finishing the first one.  These books are set in a dystopian society in the future where kids are picked from each family to fight against each other to the death in a giant arena filled with traps. It’s the government’s fucked up way of keeping control of the people.  We follow the heroine, Katniss, as she is chosen to be one of those who fights in the arena and how she comes to win “the games” as they are called.  Thrilling and a must read if you are into young adult fiction or dystopian fiction. Disclaimer: The third book isn’t quite as good as the first two.

Uglies/Pretties trilogy (series) by Scott Westerfeld (April-July)

Matched by Allie Condie (December)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (August)

Empress of The World (March)

Adult Fiction

An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey by Richard Brautigan (December)

Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig (November)

Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates (October)

Ruby-Fruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown (January)

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (July)

This book was one of my most engrossing reads of 2011.  I think during that time period it was the last thing I thought about at night and one of the first things I thought about in the morning.  My BFF loaned me this book which at first I wasn’t too sure about because it is in the genre of “mystery,” something I almost never read.  It is the story of a group of college kids who belong to a Greek society and get so wrapped up in it that they can’t relate to any of their peers and even end up killing their friend because he finds out about their re-enactment of the Bacchae.  The Bacchae is a Dionysian ritual producing a non-drug induced ecstatic fervor,  in which they end up killing a man.  It is told through the eyes of Richard, a simple Californian who covers up for the murders to protect his Greek society friends.  The author has extensive knowledge of Greek literature and history and the characters are all really well developed and completely intriguing.  Donna Tartt pulls you in to the story so much so that you almost begin to empathize with the killers and can see why they did it and why Richard wants to cover it up.  Fascinating and one of the most excellent works of fiction I’ve read.

What is the What by Dave Eggers (August)

The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America by Michelle Tea (May)

Short Story Collections

Oblivion by David Foster Wallace (March)

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs (April)

Music Through the Floor by Eric Puchner (July)

I LOVE short story collections and this has been one of my recent favorites. I ended up reading this one because the author is actually the son in law of the guy I garden for. Neat! For months after I read this collection of short stories, I would have some of the last lines of these stories echoing in my head.  The subject matter of each story was really unique and detailed and full of lines that made me incredibly sad or made me laugh out loud, which is what I really love  in any piece of writing.  I really love losing myself in a book, feeling what the characters feel or somehow being able to understand their emotion because of a parallel in my own life. 

Non-Fiction/Memoir

The Inverted Gaze: Queering the French Literary Classics in America by Francois Cusset (November)

Just Kids by Patti Smith (December)

This book is SO excellent. I really couldn’t say enough good things about it so I won’t even try.  It was wonderful and inspirational and a really lovely and equally heartwarming and heart-wrenching peak into the process of being an artist and also Patti Smith’s relationship with Robert Maplethorpe.  Highly, highly recommended, especially for fans of Patti Smith but also for anyone who is interested in taking a peak at the arts scene in New York City in the 1970’s, or anyone who is a fan of the late photographer Robert Maplethorpe.  I think this is a book that I will re-read again and again, which is something I almost never do.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so upset at the end of a book, just for the simple fact that it was over and I was no longer going to be a part of that world.  Truly an amazing read.

Unbearable Lightness by Portia di Rossi (May)

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit (March)

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (February)

Pathways to Bliss by Joseph Campbell (October)

I adore Joseph Campbell.  His knowledge of myth is impressive and his suggestions about how to apply myth to our modern day lives are truly inspirational.  This is another book that I think I will read again and again.  Reading Joseph Campbell has made me more conscious of the way I live my life, has made me think about it’s meaning and what my unique hero journey might be.  I love that Joseph Campbell is both spiritual and an intellectual.  A truly impressive person.  I would love to read everything by Joseph Campbell someday.

Graphic Novel/Zine

The Adventuress by Audrey Niffenegger (January)

My Brain Hurts by Liz Baillie (August)

Kiss and Tell by Mari Naomi (May)

See my blog post about this book.

Twelve Reasons Why I Love her by Jamie S. Rich (July)

LGBT

Kiss and Tell by Mari Naomi (May)

Unbearable Lightness by Portia di Rossi (May)

The Inverted Gaze: Queering the French Literary Classics in America by Francois Cusset (November)

Just Kids by Patti Smith (December)

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs (April)

The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America by Michelle Tea (May)

Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig (November)

Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates (October)

Ruby-Fruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown (January)

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (July)

Empress of the World (March)

Books I Read Half of and Didn’t Finish

Opening Up By Tristan Taormino (so good, want to finish)

How to be an Adult by David Richo (also so good, I’ve read various parts of it when I’m going through tough time throughout the years, and someday I would really love to read the whole thing)

The 5 Things We Cannot Change by David Richo (also excellent and would like to finish)

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2 Comments

  1. Von McDonald said,

    January 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Some day you and I need to compare notes on books we have read, dear.

  2. January 3, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This really inspires me to read, even though I feel like I’m already reading so much. This slow little reader has become a book addict! I look forward to many book discussions with you over tea at the Beehive Tea Room 🙂


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