The 2011 Year in Review

I was going to wait until the last day of the year to do this, but since I am sitting around my house, twiddling my thumbs and lacking things to do, I thought I’d take some time to summarize my year in books.

I was also going to post the complete 100-books list here, so you could see what I read all together, but that would be the longest list ever and then you’d probably want to skip reading the post. So I’m sure if you’re terribly interested in a book-to-book recap of this year’s reading, you can start back at the blog’s beginning and go forward from there!

Anyway, if you know me (well, or at all), you know that I am, for the most part, a pretty organized gal. And I rely on lists. I could not live without lists. I need them. So I thought, what better way to sum up my year than in lists? After looking over my full hundred books, I compiled a series of lists to break down the hundred, which covers the best and worst books, some genre-specific lists, counted down from 10 (or 5) to 1. All the lists are my own personal opinion, and don’t be surprised if they sometimes clash with critics’ opinions of the books/genres.

Best 10 Books of 2011:
Read as: my ten personal favourites
10. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You — Peter Cameron
9. The High Road — Terry Fallis
8. The Best Laid Plans — Terry Fallis
7. Son of a Witch — Gregory Maguire
6. Water For Elephants — Sara Gruen
5. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
4. When You Were Mine — Elizabeth Noble
3. 11/22/63 — Stephen King
2. The Fifth Witness — Michael Connelly
1. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — Stieg Larsson

Worst 10 Books of 2011:
Read as: the ten books that I felt were remarkably awful
10. Very Valentine — Adriana Trigiani
9. Dust Tracks on a Road — Zora Neale Hurston
8. Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evils of Slavery — Quobna Ottobah Cuogano
7. Red Riding Hood — Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
6. Divine Evil — Nora Roberts
5. The Search — Nora Roberts
4. Night Smoke — Nora Roberts
3. Nightshade — Nora Roberts
2. Night Shadow — Nora Roberts
1. Night Shift — Nora Roberts
…Sensing a pattern, here?

The 10 Least Memorable Books of 2011:
Read as: I’d have trouble explaining the plot to you because I can’t remember it, or they were just plain boring to read. If you want to know why a certain book made the list, ask me in the comments.
10. The Brethren — John Grisham
9. It’s Kind of a Funny Story — Ned Vizzini
8. William and Kate: A Royal Love Story — Christopher Andersen
7. One on One — Peter Mansbridge
6. Onstage, Offstage — Michael Buble
5. The Case for Falling in Love — Mari Ruti, PhD
4. The Nutcracker, retold by Mark A. Taylor
3. Lady Gaga: Critical Mass Fashion — Lizzy Goodman
2. If You Ask Me — Betty White
1. Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro

10 Books to Make You Weep:
From emotion, not frustration, just to be clear.
10. Water For Elephants — Sara Gruen
9. Flesh and Blood — Michael Cunningham
8. The Forgotten Waltz — Anne Enright
7. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
6. The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger
5. The Truth About Delilah Blue — Tish Cohen
4. When You Were Mine — Elizabeth Noble
3. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini
2. 11/22/63 — Stephen King
1. One Day — David Nicholls (Placed number one because it’s the only book in the challenge that actually made the robot weep.)

10 Best Chick-Lit/Romance Books:
And I mean “chick-lit” in the very best way.
10.  Lucy Gets Her Life Back — Stef Ann Holm
9. A Vintage Affair — Isabel Wolff
8. Girls In White Dresses — Jennifer Close
7. Then Came You — Jennifer Weiner
6. One Day — David Nicholls
5. Something Borrowed — Emily Giffin
4. The Next Always — Nora Roberts
3. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
2. The Single Girl’s To-Do List — Lindsey Kelk
1. When You Were Mine — Elizabeth Noble

10 Best Mystery/Thriller Books:
10. The Poet — Michael Connelly
9. The Scarecrow — Michael Connelly
8. The Girl Who Played With Fire — Stieg Larsson
7. The Brass Verdict — Michael Connelly
6. The Lincoln Lawyer — Michael Connelly
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson
4. True Evil — Greg Iles
3. The Fifth Witness — Michael Connelly
2. 11/22/63 — Stephen King
1. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — Stieg Larsson

5 Best Young Adult Books:
5. The Book of Spells — Kate Brian
4. Gone — Michael Grant
3. The Golden Compass — Philip Pullman
2. The Nature of Jade — Deb Caletti
1. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You — Peter Cameron

5 Toughest Reads:
When I say ‘tough’ I mean that the content is either tough/upsetting to read, or that it requires a certain maturity level to understand it.
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson
4. Divine Evil — Nora Roberts
3. Flesh and Blood — Michael Cunningham
2. Various Positions — Martha Schabas
1. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini

10 Books With Horrible Dialogue:
When I say “horrible” I mean unrealistic, cliche, or downright hilariously painful.
10. Happy Ever After — Nora Roberts
9. Very Valentine — Adriana Trigiani
8. The Search — Nora Roberts
7. Divine Evil — Nora Roberts
6. Night Smoke — Nora Roberts
5. Nightshade — Nora Roberts
4. Night Shadow — Nora Roberts
3. Night Shift — Nora Roberts
2. Ice Blue — Anne Stuart
1. Skyward — Mary Alice Monroe

Responsive/Friendly Writers:
This is just a complete list of every author who has tweeted me/commented on the blog/talked to me this year, either in an interview or in response to my review. They are all lovely, wonderful people and I love that they’re so friendly and approachable. Oh, and this isn’t in a specific order of who’s the nicest.
1. Angie Abdou (The Bone Cage)
2. Terry Fallis (The Best Laid Plans, The High Road)
3. C. Noelle Susice (No Rules…Just Write — self published)
4. Jory John (All My Friends Are Dead)
5. DiDi LeMay (A Winter Solstice Celebration)
6. Tatiana de Rosnay (A Secret Kept)
7. Hiromi Goto (Chorus of Mushrooms)

That’s all for this year, folks. I’ll see you next year (in two days from now) to do this challenge all over again, but with a somewhat twist.

Also: I’m going to try to be better with recommendations this year, so if you possess a book you wish I would read and discuss, let me know and send it my way. All loaners will be treated with tender loving care!

Happy New Year!

– Kelsey

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4 thoughts on “The 2011 Year in Review

  1. I love a good list and I love how you’ve outlined each section. I take it Nora Roberts wasn’t too good to you this year. I haven’t actually EVER read anything by her. Even though, in haste, I have picked up her paperbacks in the grocery store to scan to see if I could read them on the way to the beach, or just bury them in the sand so that no one ever reads them again.

    • Hi, Cassie! I’m so glad you stopped by to comment. 🙂
      I actually read a fair bit of Nora Roberts this year (my mom was giving me loaners and I couldn’t afford to turn down any books) and, to be completely fair, not all of hers are bad. Out of the 14 (14!!) I read this year, there was one that was actually super cute (it was mentioned in the chick lit category) and a few that were mostly unremarkable (which means I basically found nothing to critique about them :P). But haha! That was funny. 😀 (The sand comment, if you were confused.)

      Anyway, thanks again for commenting, and welcome to my blog!

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