2011: My Year in Reading

January 01, 2012 

Happy New Year to all! I know I haven’t blogged in a few months, and the truth is I’m not sure how much I’ll be blogging in 2012 since I’m about to start a MFA program in fiction writing. However, I did want to at least finish out the year with a post about my year in reading.

This is the first time I kept track of everything I’ve read during the year. Here’s how it breaks down:

83 books read (41 novels/novellas + 15 short story collections + 10 memoirs + 9 young adult + 8 non-fiction)

11 books half-read (i.e., I got distracted for various reasons having nothing to do with the quality of the book or it’s a short story collection and I haven’t read every story yet, but I am planning on finishing it in 2012)

8 books I had to abandon because, well, let’s just say they weren’t for me

Some personal favorites:

Best novel: Galore by Michael Crummey

Close runner-up for best novel: Day for Night by Frederick Reiken

Best short story collection: a tie between Alan Heathcock’s Volt and Caitlin Horrocks’s This Is Not Your City

Made me cry the most: a tie between Joan Didion’s memoir, Blue Nights and Elizabeth McCracken’s memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Best book by someone I’ve also had as a writing teacher: Other People We Married by Emma Straub

Best unexpectedly good read: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Most likable narrator: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Most deliciously unlikable narrator: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky

Best “lost at sea” scene: Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

Most sorry I didn’t get around to reading in 2011: Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia, Kevin Brockmeier’s The Illumination

It was great meeting so many committed and opinionated bloggers in 2011. I wish you all health, happiness and mind-bendingly good reads in the coming year!


4 Responses to “2011: My Year in Reading”

  1. Colleen Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 10:11 am

    The Hottest Dishes is on top of my list to read this year. I read one chapter a few months ago and was totally drawn in!

    Happy New Year and good luck with the MFA!

  2. Ellen Says:
    January 2nd, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Glad to see someone else who has Galore as their favorite! It’s been a while since I’ve read a story collection, so I’ll have to check out the Horrocks & Heathcock. Hope you have a great 2012, and best of luck with the MFA!

  3. jenn aka the picky girl Says:
    January 5th, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I’m loving all the love Galore is getting because it doesn’t come up much in mainstream publications. I really think it was a mightily strong work, and I’m curious to see how it fares down the line.

    You also had a bunch of others on my list, so I can’t wait to get to them. Good luck with the MFA program! I had no idea.

  4. Vasilly Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Good luck with everything, Jen! It was great “meeting” you through Twitter. I hope 2012 is an awesome year for you.