Books I read in 2011

So I have to confess that I totally stole borrowed the idea of this blog post from Jake.  My husband has been posting a list of his “Books I read” for the past three years and this year I decided to do the same.

I absolutely LOVE to read and have no doubt it stems from my father’s love of reading and our bi-weekly trips to the library. Oh how I loved to walk in with the stack of books I finished and walk out with a new stack to get lost in. If you ask, my father could tell you a time or two when I was caught wide awake in the wee hours of the night reading quietly in my bed, when I should have been sleeping.  Still to this day, one of my favorite pastime is to curl up with a book and get lost in their stories.

The following books are a collection of some of my favorites from this year that are worth sharing. (Disclaimer: All book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links).

Favorite Fiction 

Room by Emma Donoghue. Narrated from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, “room” is his past, present and future. Jack’s mother has been held captive in this single room for the past seven years and has raised Jack to the best of her ability with what she is given from her captor.  Although truly heartbreaking, you cannot help but fall in love with Jack and have high hopes for him leaving “room” and seeing the outside world. I read this book in a span of two days, staying up late as I couldn’t tear myself away.

Favorite Non-Fiction

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.  Jake found this book at the peak of his running obsession and was fascinated by McDougall’s journalistic nature and his quest to find out the secrets to the Tarahumara Indians and their incredible abilities. Jake could not stop raving about this book, so much in fact that he purchased the book on cd so that I could listen on a road trip to St. Paul.  I was in awe listening to the origins of running and inspired by the athletes in this world.

Scariest Book 

Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion  by Janet Reitman. Having only heard about Scientology in short snip-its about it being the “religion” to some of the most famous celebrities such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise, I really had no idea what it was truly about. I began reading this book shortly after Jake was done and thankful I did. Reitman does a phenomenal job of reporting on L. Ron Hubbard’s bizarre life and attempts at bringing himself to world famous status through his “religion”. Inside Scientology not only captivated me, but had me going through a roller-coaster of emotions of feeling sad, displaced, frustrated, confused, frightened and scared. I couldn’t help but find myself thinking about my college course on cults and the many similarities they share. Seriously terrifying.

Favorite Mind-less 

House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Picoult has a unique way of bringing her readers a cookie-cutter story with every chapter written in the eyes of a different character until the story comes together. Although each of Picoult’s books carries the same format, I cannot help but love the moral and/or ethical decisions her characters have to face. This book offered a nice mental break in between some of the heavier books that required so much energy and thought.

Favorite Based on a True Story 

Come Back: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine. I have always been fascinated by the drug culture and cannot seem to pass up a book to read more about it.  Told in parellel first person accounts, Come Back is an inspiring story of a mother’s struggle to understand her daughter’s drug addiction and her daughter’s journey back to sobriety.

Favorite Short Story Collection

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman. Another book first read by Jake. He finished this book in one plane flight en route to Mexico on our honeymoon. I was super intrigued by the synopsis alone. This was my first read while laying out in the hot Mexico sun while sipping Miami Vices (best frozen drink, imo).  Eagleman, a neuroscientist by trade, tells of forty imaginative and wild ways we could spend our lives after we die.  This was a super quick read that left my mind wandering about the different possibilites in store for us in the afterlife.

Favorite Trilogy and All Time Favorite of 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. To be fair, I started the first book in this trilogy last November as an audio book on our trip to Denver. Jake and I were hooked within the first two minutes. So hooked in fact that as soon as we were done with the audio book, we purchased the second and third books and had them done in a matter of days. The Hunger Games presents a post-apocalyptic world where nations are divided into twelve districts and in the hands of the very rich and cruel Capitol. In order to keep the districts in line, each year the Capitol hosts “The Hunger Games” where a young boy and young girl from each district are chosen at random to compete til their death in a live televised competition. If you only choose three books to read in 2012, these must be the three.

Here’s the complete list:

  1. Before I go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
  2. Tweak by Nic Sheff
  3. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
  4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  5. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  6. Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins
  7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  8. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  9. Come Back: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine
  10. Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion  by Janet Reitman
  11. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
  12. The Bookman’s Wake by John Dunning
  13. Booked To Die by John Dunning
  14. The Bookman’s Promise by John Dunning
  15. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  16. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
  17. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  18. The Invisible Man by Chuck Klosterman
  19. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  20. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
  21. Room by Emma Donoghue
  22. House Rules by Jodi Piccoult

Audio Books

  1. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  2. Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

All of these books were read with actual physical books, aside from the audio books of course.  I realize there is a huge trend towards Nooks and Kindles, but I cannot bring myself to read from an electronic device. I love every aspect of a physical book, from going in to a bookstore, reading the inside or back cover, to the touch and the smell.

Unfortunately, I do not keep the most organized list of books I read, unlike my husband, so may have missed a book or two. I have been a member of GoodReads for the past four years now, but have never been able to commit to posting my books. Maybe 2012 will be the year.

As I am all about being more organized and goal-oriented in 2012, I already have a couple of books on my list to read:

11/22/63 by Stephen King I have never read a Stephen King novel and once read, this will be a goal on my 2012 goals I can cross off.

So Much to Say: Dave Matthews Band-20 Years on the Road by Nikki Van Noy I honestly cannot believe I haven’t read this one yet!

The Vagina Monologues by Even Ensler

I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler Ensler was on NPR this morning talking about her new book and reading from the first excerpt. I was deeply moved and although I have heard about The Vagina Monologues for years, have never picked up the book. I am extremely excited about these two books.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

My goal in 2012 is to read at least one non-school-related book a month.  I am hopeful that I can stay true to this goal and perhaps surpass it.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2011? Do you plan out a list of books to read for the upcoming year? 

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9 thoughts on “Books I read in 2011

  1. I loved The Help, and The Hunger Game books were awesome! I must admit that this year I have only gave myself enough time to get through only two or three books, so I’m definitely putting reading more books on my resolution list, (especially since my boyfriend got a kindle that I can use now).

    • It’s good to know you got the best books read this past year! The Hunger Games trilogy cannot be topped! Good luck with getting more read this year… a Kindle should make it a little easier (So I hear)!

      • I loved the books, but now I’m kinda nervous about the movie, I hope they do a good job on it, plus I have a bad feeling I’ll be one those people who stand in like for hours to see it haha.

  2. I loved reading ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett in 2011. I haven’t planned anything to read for 2012 but I want to read The Hunger Games series after hearing about it. I don’t know much about it at all but I keep seeing references to it so I think a visit to the library is due!

    • If you read anything at all.. it must be The Hunger Games. All you need to really know going in is that it will blow your mind and that you will have trouble putting it down once you start!

  3. I just finished Sue Grafton’s V is for Vengeance. I have been a fan of her’s for a long time and even stood out in the rain and cold to get her autograph back when she wrote T is for Tempted. I had a hard time getting into this one at first because she switched perspectives instead of sticking to her protagonist Kinsey Millhone. Finally, about half way through, I couldn’t put it down and Cait let me read ALL day on Wednesday to finish it. My next book on the list is Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich!

    • I used to be a huge Sue Grafton fan. I picked up her latest book, but couldn’t get in to it at all. 😦 Have you read other books by Janet Evanovich? I have seen her around a lot, but have never picked one up? Any of her’s in particular you recommend?

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