The 2011 recap : the best of the best!

Posted by on January 5, 2012 9:07 am in Book talk | 9 comments

Whew! Another year gone by, and another recap on the way!

In some ways, it didn’t feel like a great reading year; there were many slumps, and many not so great books. But when I look back, I can see that there were, in facts, many books I enjoyed, enough to fill this list of favorites!

There are also many books I enjoyed that didn’t make the “best-of” list; taking a look at the 4 to 5 stars reviews on the sidebar will tell you more about the great reading I did this year :)

Best Romance :

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins : Who thought I’d ever have a romance category on this list? Not me! But, after having read this book, I just couldn’t avoid it. And while we’re at it, Perkins’s second novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door was just as adorable.

Best Non-Fiction

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz : I’m not sure what I loved more in this book : the wonderful feeling of being back in Paris, or the delicious recipes!

Best Mystery

Still Life by Louise Penny : Clearly I’ve been charmed by the fact that this novel takes place in a typical village of my dear province; but still, I enjoyed this cozy mystery enough that I immediately added the next books on my shelves!

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson : While it might not win any fancy literary award, Before I Go To Sleep is a hold-your-breath-till-the-end mystery that was extremely compelling.

Best Graphic Novel :

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle : I loved this. The story was amazing of course, but it also had beautiful illustrations!

Best Fiction :

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown : Though the setting itself was something we’ve often seen before, The Weird Sisters explored family dynamics in a unique and true-to-life way.

Best YA Fiction :

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers : Summers was already an author I enjoyed, but Fall for Anything was by far my favorite of hers – and a favorite of 2011.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman : I had really liked the first book, If I Stay, but this sequel had more depth and hit just the right notes. Definitely worth the read.

Best YA Fantasy / Paranormal :

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst : Beautiful, magical, inspiring. Loved it!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor : Oh gosh! I still have to review this one but it rocked my little world! Talk about different and unpredictable! I really need to find my words and review this one!

Best Magical Realism :

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry : Atmospheric and mysterious, this novel captivated me in an unexpected manner.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen : I had been recommended this author so many times before, but it turned out even more enchanting than I expected it!

Best Speculative Fiction :

Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield : A post-apocalyptic zombie novel exploring both a new way of life and the complexity of human emotion, Aftertime took my breath away and left me wanting more. I still haven’t read the second book, keeping it for my next reading slump.

Best “Books that Will Stay with Me” :

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin : What a beautiful and intriguing novel! I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for so many month before I finally read it. Definitely my favorite of 2011.

Reading Goals for 2012 :

Read 100 books : I barely made it this year, but I want to do it again in 2012! Although, I’m planning on maybe including school reading to give myself a chance, which I didn’t do in 2011.

Read more non-fiction : I enjoy non-fiction but I don’t instinctively go towards it. I would love to read a few more of these this year!

I’m not being too severe with my goals as I am starting my master degree this winter and I’m sure it will keep me real busy!

What were the best books you read in 2011? What are your goals for 2012?

9 Comments

  1. Congrats on starting a Master’s program this year! Wow!

    The only book on your list that I’ve read is The Lace Reader. It was good!

  2. I’ve been loving all of these “Best of 2011” lists. I’m going to be reading The Weird Sisters soon.

  3. I loved Where She Went and Anna and the French Kiss too. I’m definitely going to have to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone too, I keep hearing wonderful things about it.

    2011 was the year I discovered The Hunger Games trilogy, and was definitely a best of 2011 for me :)

    • The Hunger Games would definitely make it a great reading year! I wish I could read them again for the first time, especially the first one.

  4. Wasn’t Before I Go To Sleep long/shortlisted for the Booker prize? If so, then even if it doesn’t win any fancy awards (like you said), it apparently still gets nominated for them… that’s got to count for something, right?

    • I hadn’t heard of that, but then I’m rarely up to date on book prizes and the like. :) Now that you mention it I’ll have to look into it!
      I guess it does count for something; for me it’s still more of an entertainment novel and I didn’t feel the writing was anything special, but what do I know? I liked it, prize or no prize!

  5. Oh, I can’t wait to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and have it waiting for me on my shelf! This was an excellent list, by the way, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts! I wish you very happy reading in 2012!

    • Thank you!
      I simply can’t wait to read your thoughts on Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was nothing like I imagined it to be!

  6. What a great list! Good luck with your reading and your Masters degree!

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