2011 in books

What a year! What a remarkable, memorable, life-changing year 2011 has been! It has brought me wee reader – and with him, parenthood and its many joys and trials. And visits from his grandparents. As well as his first ever flight (and what a long one it was) to the other side of the world to see his extended family. Somehow in spite of this tremendous change, I managed to do some reading. And I surprised myself with doing quite a bit more reading than I expected. So here are the numbers. And here’s wishing everyone a very happy and bookish 2012! Thank you for having shared my journey through 2011.

Total books read: 171 (not counting 9 books I started but did not finish)
Science fiction/fantasy: 17 (9.94%)
Comics/Graphic Novels: 25 (14.62%)
Mystery/crime: 9 (5.26%)
Poetry: 1 (0.58%)
Young adult: 18 (10.53%)
Non-Fiction: 25 (14.62%)

By Women: 82 (47.95%0
By Men: 79 (46.2%)
By Men and Women: 9 (5.26%)

Longest book: Vanity Fair at 912 pages
Shortest book: The Night Bookmobile at 40 pages (page numbers taken from Goodreads)

E-books: 62 (36.26%) (didn’t expect that!)
Library books: 127 (74.23%) (includes Overdrive e-books)

Favourite authors discovered this year: Elizabeth Knox, Laurie R. King, Richard Flanagan, Guy Gavriel Kay
Favourite books of the year: Tigana, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Dreamhunter/Dreamquake, Wanting, Unbroken

Most memorable characters: Aud Torvingen, Mary Russell

Countries I visited: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, the Caribbean, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, the future!, Germany, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, outer space!, Romania, Sarajevo,
Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam, as well as plenty of invented realms

Hello, 2011

Hello! How have you been? Hope you had a good holiday and are ready for the new year! How was your Christmas? We had a feast on Christmas Eve and plenty of leftovers for the next few meals.

I can’t believe that in a few days it’ll be 2011! I really like this time of the year. That holiday feeling still lingering, the anticipation of (hopefully) better and brighter things to come, the gazillions of ‘best of’ lists which add to my already too-long to-be-read list, and of course time to reflect on the year that has passed and the year that is to come.

Before the year is out though, a second roadtrip with the in-laws, this time to Sonoma valley, land of boutique wineries (none for me, unfortunately). good food (also unfortunately, there are plenty of no-nos for me right now too!) and gorgeous scenery. Hopefully we’ll have better weather than our Carmel/Monterey/Big Sur trip last week!

And it’s back to more bookish bits.

I’m on the last few pages of David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, which I had brought along on the roadtrip (but didn’t really get to reading, as I was quite tired at the end of each day, and dropped off to sleep without reading much… if any). So it took me a while to get into the book. I’ll write more about it when I’m done with it, probably later today, although it will be unlikely that I’ll blog until next year. I’ve also been reading the Beacon Best of 2001, edited by Junot Diaz and featuring pieces (prose and poetry) by Agha Shahid Ali, Danzy Senna, and Zadie Smith, among others. It’s been a great book to dip into here and there (and it was a lifesaver while the family was out shopping at the outlet mall – I would hit a bench and read a story or a poem or two while they were shopping away).

Also, it looks like I’ve finally hit my 200+ mark! Reading isn’t about the numbers I know, but I delight in the fact that I make it past 200 (although that pales in comparison to other readers/bloggers who easily hit that mark earlier in the year!). I’ll probably chalk up far fewer reads in 2011, so I’ll bask in my 200+ for now!

I don’t have a list of favourite reads of the year for you, I’m not sure if I can limit them. I’ll just say I had a good reading year, both fiction and non-fiction. And have enjoyed chancing upon new-to-me authors, such as Nicholson Baker, Dawn Powell, Helen Oyeyemi, Elizabeth Gaskell, China Mieville, Kage Baker, Sonya Chung,Paolo Bacigalupi, and more, as well as falling back on those I’ve already fallen in love with, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Iris Murdoch, Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, Penelope Fitzgerald.

Unfortunately, as I typed out that list, I know that many of these writers and their books are set in the western world. And that is something I hope to change in the new year, by reading more books by Asian and Middle Eastern writers, as well as by reading around the world with challenges such as the 2011 Global Reading Challenge. I also have full intentions of reading more non-fiction (in 2010, 21% of the books I read were non-fiction). Of course I say all this now… but will I actually be able to read much once the wee-reader arrives? We’ll see!

In the meantime, have a safe and happy new year. May 2011 bring you great reads!