One Literary Hoarder's End of Year Review & Survey

I recently read Lakeside Musing’s End of Year Book Survey and thought it was such a neat idea, that I decided to create my own as well. Hope you don’t mind the lift JoAnn! It’s also a nice and different take on the Best Of Lists that have been floating around in the past few days and weeks…

I read a great deal of historical fiction and mystery books this year! Historical Fiction dominated my reading most definitely. It was a superb year for HF!

I would often write that I wished i was here reading, instead of working the 9-2-5 gig. And as a side note, if you were interested at all in knowing what Squidoo rates as the “10 Best Books to Read by Fire” to be, check this out.

 Best Books Read in 2011 (well you have to add that first!) And these are in no particular order really and I found I did read some very good books this year, so this was an interesting exercise to complete…

  1. The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman
  2. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield (this is coming out in paperback soon by the way. I seriously encourage you to pick it up!)
  3. The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay
  4. Glass Boys, by Nicole Lundrigan
  5. On Canaan’s Side, by Sebastien Barry
  6. The Dressmaker, by Kate Alcott
  7. My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveri
  8. Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See
  9. The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss
  10. Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex
  11. Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker

Most Disappointing Book Read in 2011

  1. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Sorry, this just did not live up to the hype for me.
  2. The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai. Annoyed to no end by the “heroine” of this book. Like nails down a chalkboard.
  3. The Abstinence Teacher, by Tom Perrotta. I don’t know if it was the narrator (suprisingly, Campbell Scott is a horrible horrible narrator. Droning bored-sounding and grating voice) or just the story itself, but really didn’t think this was all that in any way. I was very happy when it was done.
  4. Graveminder, by Melissa Marr. Not only did the narrator get on my nerves, Marr inserted zombies and vampires from a bad teenage dream novel and I hit eject quick as quick! I don’t do zombies and vampires.

Most Surprisingly Good Book Read in 2011

Hands down, it was Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex. I have never read Dracula, really have no interest – see point about Graveminder above. So suprising to me, this story of Dracula, with Mina Harker as the focus and main character was amazing! I loved this book so much! (Jackie says it was because of all the sex in it, not really, (well ahem, maybe a little?) it was just such a wonderful story about Mina! Loved it.

The Books I recommended the most in 2011

  1. See above. Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex
  2. My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveri
  3. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield (absolutely perhaps the most recommended of the year!)
  4. The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman

The Best Series Read in 2011

I discovered Maisie Dobbs! Oh how I love her. Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs is a great character and her mysteries are wonderful to read. I still have the final 2 to get to before she releases another one…

Favourite new author(s) discovered in 2011

Alice Hoffman for her amazing and beautiful writing. Like poetry or butter, whichever way you would rather visualize.

Nicole Krauss, Sebastien Barry and Jacqueline Winspear too.

Favourite Cover (Looks like the old world B&W got me, and then another historical time & dress)

Best Inside of Book Read in 2011 (I’m adding this category because I read a few books this year that had beautiful, journal-like pages. These were the books that couldn’t be enjoyed as much with your e-reader, for the quality and feelings evoked from the pictures, side writings, etc. would be lost!)

Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2011

#1 is most definitely The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny comes in at #2 and lastly would be On Canaan’s Side, by Sebastien Barry.

Most Memorable Characters

Well if the Academy Awards were given out to characters in books, the golden statue would absolutely go to our following:

  1. Ras Ballenger from The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield. My stomach would go in to tight knots, I would feel sick with fear whenever Ras Ballenger entered the page. A character that STILL has not left my mind!
  2. Lilly Bere from On Canaan’s Side, by Sebastien Barry. Lilly was just a wonderful, wonderful person that broke my heart. I love and miss her.
  3. Garrett Glass from Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan. A frighteningly disturbed boy!
  4. Mary Sutter from My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveri. A fabulous heroine!
  5. Bird from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Just loved that boy!
  6. Oh, and I can’t forget Ruth from A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny. She cracked me up every time!

The Books that had the Greatest Impact Read in 2011

Well right up there in the #1 spot would be The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield. I have never before read a book where my stomach was in knots and I would go taut as a wire whenever Ras Ballenger entered! Whew! What a distrubing but incredible read!!

Same goes for Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan. Garrett Glass was disturbing but what a great read!

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, was just gorgeous and wonderful. Absolutely loved every single moment of that book. It’s definitely one to read again!