2011 was an incredible reading journey. My daily commute gave me ample time to read and I have spent every possible minute with my head in a book. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to read so many amazing books and I’ve tried to take away something useful from each and every one of them, even the ones I didn’t like that much. Writing reviews has helped me keep track of them and also to realize what genres I’m most attracted to. This year I managed to read 60 books, two of them not reviewed (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – this last one I’ve read in 2010 and the next year I just browsed through it so I don’t consider it as “read in 2011”).
Here’s a list of my favorites:
The most beautiful love story: The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson
Favorite classic: The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
A book that made me cry: Little Bee – Chris Cleave
The best opening line and also the best book of the year: Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The best book that is part of a series: Farundell – L.R. Fredericks (review & author interview) (I can’t wait for the next one, it comes out this year!)
The best story: Drood – Dan Simmons Part I and Part II
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver Part I and Part II
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one.
Best short story collection: Haunts – Reliquaries of the Dead, edited by Stephen Jones
The shortest book: The Woman in Black – Susan Hill (160 pages)
The longest books: Drood, by Dan Simmons (976 pages) and The Passage – Justin Cronin (963 pages)
Other books that left a lasting impression:
Under The Dome – Stephen King
Burmese Days – George Orwell
Man and Wife – Tony Parsons
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales
The Kill – Émile Zola
The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters
Letters from Thailand – Botan (Supa Sirisingh)
I’m definitely a fan of Gothic stories, contemporary or classic. Ghosts, haunted houses, mysteries, noises in the dark, if a book has at least one of these, I want to read it. Chick lit books are not really my type. I’ve read a couple of them last year – they’re ok but not something I’d feel compelled to read. YA books don’t really appeal to me but I won’t say no if one comes my way. It’s just not something that I would buy.
Drood gave me an appetite for more of Charles Dickens’s stories and also Dan Simmons’. The Woman in White made me curious to try more books by Wilkie Collins. Vampire books are also high on my list and I won’t say no to love stories either.
The first book I bought in 2012 was Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris. I’ve wanted to read at least one of her books, ever since I watched the movie Chocolat. Burmese Days, by George Orwell and Secret Histories – Finding Geroge Orwell in a Burmese Teashop, by Emma Larkin, made me add Burma to the list of countries I want to visit.
Letters from Thailand resonated with me because I’ve been living in Bangkok for quite a few years and I could identify with the main character in many aspects. A good book for anyone who likes immigrant stories and is interested in Thai/Chinese culture.
I look forward to a new year of reading – if it’s at least as good as 2011 that would be great!
Have you read any of the books mentioned here? What was your favorite book of 2011?