Monday, January 2, 2012

Books Read in 2011

Reading Girl by Gustave Adolph Hennig (1797-1869)

Last year was the first I kept a record of the books I'd completed. I wish I had done this long ago, as it's been helpful to look back and reflect on my reading habits. In all, I read 33 books (adult ones that is; I've read more than 100 children's books, many of which I've discussed in this blog).

Without further ado, here is my list. Where's yours?

1. Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs
Graphic novel about the author's parents' life from their meeting to their deaths. 

2. Bonk by Mary Roach
The science behind sex. 

3. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
Is there life after death? Not according to Roach.

4. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger 
A modern-day ghost story set in London's Highgate cemetery.

5. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Sprawling novel with a huge cast of characters, all interlocked through a connection to the music industry. 

6. Tinkers by Paul Harding 
The memories and final thoughts of a dying man.

7. Special Exits by Joyce Farmer 
Graphic novel about the author's elderly parents.

8. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson 
Literary mystery, one in a series featuring Jason Brodie.

9. The Old Romantic by Louise Dean
An 80-something man, convinced he's about to die, harangues his estranged son to make up his will.

10. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
A girl disappears and is never found. The suspected murderer is never charged. Twenty years later, another girl goes missing.

11. The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
A woman returns home to care for her elderly mother and renews an acquaintance with the married brother of a childhood friend.

12. Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer
Memoir that explores author's life through yoga.

13. Room by Emma Donoghue
Jack has lived his entire five years in one room, his only companion his mother, who is being held captive there.

14.The  London Train by Tessa Hadley
Man caught in mid-life crisis leaves home to live with his adult daughter.

15. Tigerlily's Orchids by Ruth Rendell
Immature young man is smitten with Asian woman and tries to save her.

16. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Woman suffering from dementia accused of murder.

17. Among the Missing by Morag Joss
Suspense novel about three lost souls and the ties that bind them.

18. Sister by Rosamund Lupton
Big sister investigates younger sister's murder.

19. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
A family struggles to stay connected in our turbulent times.

20. I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
A woman snatched as a teenager gets back in contact with her kidnapper, now awaiting his execution.

21. Emily, Alone by Steward O'Nan
Elderly woman living on her own after husband's death.

22. I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
Amusing essays by a great stylist.

23. Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
Suspense novel about two women recently released from jail. Both were accused of killing a baby when they were kids.
24. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
Suspenseful mystery with detective sidelined due to pregnancy, yet she still manages to solve case.

25. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Thriller about a woman who wakes up each day not able to remember who she is.
26. The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
Suspenseful novel about group of teens who wander woods and find a hermit who is ultimately killed. 

27. The Vault by Ruth Rendell
Wexford, now retired, is called in to investigate four bodies discovered in an underground vault.

28. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Two sisters disappear from a shopping mall. Thirty years later one returns.

29. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Funny memoir of Fey's rise to queen of comedy.

30. To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman
Three teenage friends, one shooting.

31. Murder at Mount Holly by Paul Theroux
Black comedy satire about old people involved in a bank heist.

32. Blue Nights by Joan Didion
A hauntingly sad memoir about Didion's relationship with her adopted daughter, who died several years ago.

33. Howard's End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill
Memoir focused on books in author's home library.

Fiction: 24
Nonfiction: 9
Mystery/suspense: 14
Memoirs: 7
Graphic novels: 2

Favorite Book: Room by Emma Donoghue
A tour de force, a novel written from the POV of a five-year-old boy and every word rings true.

Runner-up: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Sleeper: The Old Romantic by  Louise Dean

Least Favorite Book: Tinkers by Paul Harding


  1. What a great list. You have so inspired me. Some of them I've read, but can hardly remember what they were about. I wish I'd known of some of these earlier. I just heard of Sisters, for example, and put it on hold at the library. Did you like it?

    For some reason, I've never kept a reading list. 2012 is the year to begin. And blog about? Perhaps. I realize I wish I knew what you thought of several on your list. I just finished The Buddha in the Attic. My first read of 2012.

  2. While the premise is good, I ultimately didn't like Sister. I found it tiresome, but judge for yourself. I can recommend Turn of Mind and Before I Go to Sleep.