My Favorite Reads of 2011

I wasn’t able to post thoughts on the books I read in 2011 by the end of the year so I am doing it this week.  I noted the general statistics yesterday and today want to tackle my favorite reads.  Like last year, I am going to break in out into categories.

Young Adult Fiction

A large chunk of my reading this year was YA (30 of 79 books were roughly in this category) so I had a lot of books to chose from in 2011. So here are ten of my favorites in no particular order:

  1. Cover of "The Wednesday Wars"

    Cover of The Wednesday Wars

    I am going to cheat a little and put two books by Gary D. Schmidt on the list, Okay or Now and The Wednesday Wars.  “Great stories, great characters, imaginative settings and clear writing make these two books great reads. I highly recommend them.”

  2. I am also going to put N.D. Wilson here because I can’t choose just one of his wonderful books I read this year: The Dragon’s Tooth (start of the new Ashtown Burials series) and the entire 100 Cupboards series)  “… if you like large, complex and imaginative fantasy series this one is a must read.”
  3. Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby “Kirby weaves a great tale. There is historical detail, psychological insight, mystery, intrigue and more.”
  4. Skellig by David Almond “It is a simple and yet powerful story of friendship, family, compassion and faith.”
  5. The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi “The world DiTerlizzi has created is captivating and mysterious enough that you want to keep reading; not just to see the next illustration but to dig a little deeper into the mystery.”

Continue reading

2011 Books Read Statistics

I intended to do some wraping up of 2011 before the year actually ended but some technical difficulties prevented that from happening. So I will instead look back this week.

For the first time since I have been tracking them, I read 75 books in a year – 79 actually.  That is six more than I read in both 2008 and 2009 but I actually read 19,672 pages in 2009. Must have been reading longer books (a couple of Kindle Singles I counted as book too).

Goodreads has the details. Here is the raw data I have compiled

Total books read: 79
Total Pages: 19,135
Young Adult Fiction: 30
“Adult” Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 25
Faith/Theology: 12

I guess I knew this, but what really jumped out to me is how much YA fiction I read. Combine this with a theological focus and you have a lot less “adult” fiction.

In another post I will try to sort out my favorites from 2011.

More on Kindle and the joy of reading

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Miljenko Williams ruminates on Kindle and being engrossed in a good read:

But what I most like about the whole Kindle experience is that in some intangible and inexplicable way it has managed to use digital technologies to turn me away from hypertextuality.

I love the Internet – always will do, of course.  But Amazon’s Kindle has reminded me of the simple pleasure of burying oneself in a text – a pleasure I had lost in an online maze of endless restless clicking.

A simple pleasure indeed.

That wondrous permission we readers sometimes choose to offer up to those deserving writers who with their wisdom regale us and reward us.

That beautiful moment when we choose to allow an author the time and space to lead us through their world.

That is why Amazon’s Kindle is worth so very much more than its technology.

All I can says is, yup. I offered my thoughts along similar lines a few days ago.

When it snows, it's a blizzard

Image by balise42 via Flickr

I tried to adjust the title to account for snowmageddon but I am not sure it works …

The reference is to a phenomenon some of you bookish types might experience.  I was in one of those moods where I can’t decide what to read. Despite a mountain of ARCs/review copies and shelves of unread books I was having a hard time figuring out just what I was in the mood for.

Well, I got onto a bit of a Young Adult run, and found some authors whose backlist I wanted to read, and so I got out of my rut and left my melancholy behind. But at the expense of the never ending – and always growing – TBR pile.

Whilst this was going on I had some publishers sending me emails and is their wont – and their profession – they made these books seem like must reads. So I said: “Oh, sure. Send that one along.”  And “Yes, please.” Etc. Etc.

So here I sit with a growing backlog of fascinating books that I have promised to read.

But at least I will have no trouble figuring out what I want to read for awhile …

The reader versus reviewer conundrum

*Image via Wikipedia

I am a compulsive reader.  Not only do I like to read, but there is some sense in which the act of finishing – not just reading but completing – a book gives me satisfaction.  The problem comes from reading too fast or in reading small sections over a larger period of time.  My compulsion drives me to read whenever I can and to read as much as I can.  Sometimes this leads to less than ideal comprehension or insight into the material read.

And when it comes time to write a review I often feel like I would be better off reading the book again to get a deeper appreciation for the work and to catch things I missed the first time through.  This doesn’t happen all the time, but regularly with non-fiction and more complex fiction.

But to take time to read a book again means a missed oppertunity to read a book I haven’t read yet.  And there are so many books out there that I want to read but haven’t, that the pressure is usually too much.  So I rarely read a book a second time despite the obvious benefit it would bring to me as a reviewer.

Does this make any sense?  Anyone else have this problem?

*It really has nothing to do with the post, but I love that Alice in Wonderland image.