GirlReaction Reads: Favorites of 2011

I read 113 books in 2011 which is higher than my 85-book average for the past 6 years (see more stats here) but pretty much par for the course. Also I don’t usually include textbooks and articles on my reading lists but this year I did include all the children’s and YA fiction I read for a class I took this fall because, after all, it was fiction! 🙂 It wasn’t a class that counted toward my degree, just an elective I had been wanting to take. Only crazy people take an extra class during student teaching though; I can’t say I really recommend it!

I read more non-fiction than usual (a lot of memoirs!) but no short stories at all. What? (I did start 2012 off with some though!)

It’s always hard to pin these things down, but…

My top six very favorite books read during 2011 were (not in any order) “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick, Love Is the Higher Law, by David Levithan, “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett, “36 Arguments for the Existence of God”, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (that’s fiction, despite its non-fiction-like sounding title), “Mother’s Milk” by Edward St. Aubyn and “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin.

I also really really loved two of the last books I read in December: “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness (not at all Twilight for adults, as I keep seeing it called–the quirks of the publishing industry’s advertising could really drive one to madness, couldn’t they?) and “Falling Together” by Marisa de los Santos.

I do read a ton of both adult and YA fantasy/sci fi, as you might know heh, and my favorites in 2011 were “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss, “Aftertime” by Sophie Littlefield, “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis and “Hunger” by Jackie Morse Kessler.

Other YA, but not fantasy, or not really, books I loved were “Ninth Ward” by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and both “Okay for Now” and “The Wednesday Wars” by Gary D. Schmidt. And I particularly loved a novel in verse “Inside Out & Back Again” by Thanhha Lai.

I enjoyed Rosanne Cash and Keith Richards‘ memoirs, I loved both the fiction and non-fiction I read by David H. Hackworth, widely known as one of America’s most decorated soldiers (now deceased), I would recommend absolutely any and everything (romance and memoir) written by my good friend Rachael Herron and if you want to revisit my favorite fantasy books of all time as I did this year I recommend The Tornor Chronicles by Elizabeth A. Lynn (book 1 is “Watchtower”) and The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (book 1 is “The Book of Three”).

I read a LOT of stuff I loved this year, a lot of stuff that was good and fun and only a very few things I wish I hadn’t wasted time on and most of those wouldn’t wind up appearing on the read list anyway! 🙂 I grew out of that whole “I HAVE to finish every book I start!” baloney in my late 30s. There just isn’t time for bad books. And there are SO many good ones out there!!

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