Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Salon: Yearly Wrap-up

The start of a new year and the end of the old one. I could make some New Year's Resolutions like wanting to lose weight (duh) and wanting to exercise more (double duh). I could make some reading resolutions like wanting to read more books from my own shelves, purging my enormous cookbook collection, tidying my shelves, and keeping up to date on all my reviews. And I do want to do all of this. Are they official resolutions? Probably not. If they happen, fantastic. If not, well, there's always another year (provided the ancient Mayans aren't wrong). But since the new year is yet to be discovered and the old one is complete, a few thoughts on this past year's reading seem in order.

I read 180 books in 2011. Of those, 132 were fiction and 46 were non-fiction. (Yes, I am aware the numbers don't add up. This is why I am a bookish person and not a numbers person.) I didn't further break the books out into genre or YA as versus adult mostly because I was lazy. My thought in scanning the list is that I read more YA than usual and less genre fiction than I have in the past. Ah, the foibles of mood reading! 180 is fewer than I read last year by 40+ books. Not sure why that is the case and a glimpse of my last year's calendar doesn't enlighten me either. I guess I just read slower. My final book of this year was Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens which I have been reading on and off for several years now. Actually, I think I may have started it in 2009. I am definitely happy to be finished with it. I started two books before the year was out and they carry over into 2012. With luck I will get back to them faster than I did to Our Mutual Friend. That, of course, remains to be seen.

Generally speaking I had a good 2011 and I traveled to many different places and times through the pages of my books. I read some that I loved and some that I definitely didn't. Some of them are pop into my head whenever people ask for a recommendation and probably will for a long time to come. I don't love putting together a year's top ten list because it could be different on any given day that I go to write it but I'm going to give it a whirl anyway. As I sit here on the couch curled up with one of my dogs, listening to overloud tv with my football obsessed husband as lentil and sausage stew burbles on the stove on this January 1, my top ten for 2011 in no particular order would be:

1. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
2. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
3. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
4. Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
5. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
6. The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
7. Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
8. The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker
9. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
10. The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

Here's to another wonderful year of adventures on the page and beyond (and maybe a little weight loss too)!


  1. I liked The Arrivals and Major Pettigrew was one of my favorites. My husband loved Shadow Divers. Good luck with your 2012 goals!

  2. The Weird Sisters and Major Pettigrew were two I really enjoyed in 2011, too. Happy New Year! :)


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