January 28, 2012

Top Reads of 2011

I've been keeping track of how many books I read each year since 1999. I don't know if those early records included the books I quit on or just the ones I finished, but this year's total is the lowest in recorded history! Take a look:

1999 42 books
2000 60 books
2001 63 books
2002 72 books
2003 88 books (includes books I quit on)
2004 82 books (doesn't include the books I quit on)
2005 57 books (quit on 12)
2006 73 books (quit on 17 more)
2007 58 books (quit on 9 more)
2008 46 books (quit on 6 more)
2009 45 books (quit on 7 more)
2010 52 books (quit on 3 more)

and this past year...

2011 35 books read (quit on 9 more)

I decided to do away with my usual (long!) list of stats, but wanted to include just a few:

25 female authors; 10 male authors

22 new authors

30 fiction; 5 nonfiction

21 borrowed; 14 from my stacks

13 audio books

And now for my Top Reads for 2011 (listed in the order read) ...

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (4.5/5)

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy (4.5/5)

Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister (4.5/5)

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (4.5/5)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (4.5/5)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (4.5/5)

The Pioneer Woman: From High Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond (4.5/5)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (4.5/5)

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (4.5/5)

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (4.75/5)

Beachcombing For A Shipwrecked God by Joe Coomer (4.5/5)

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore (4.75/5)

Faith by Jennifer Haigh (4.5/5)

Honorable Mentions:

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (4/5)

Think of A Number by John Verdon (4/5)

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (4/5)

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve (4/5)

The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear (4/5)

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (4/5)

Good Night, iPad by Ann Droyd (4/5)

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (4/5)

Click on highlighted titles to read my review.

You can also find a list of reviews for all the books I read in 2011 here.


  1. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I've read 6 of your top 13 and 2 of your honorable mentions and loved all the 8 I've read. Well, I was tiny bit disappointed in SHOOT TO THRILL, but my expectations were way, way too high.

    I've been thinking of doing a post about how my reading has increased or ebbed and flowed in the years I've been keeping track - since 1993. It's almost 20 years.

    I've also been thinking of doing a post about male/female writers and how my reading has changed that way. I think my 2011 reading was something like 95% female! LOL

    Love your new header photo.

  2. I've only read 1 of each! I did love Cutting for Stone and The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.

    Oh, wait, I stopped reading one. Couldn't get through The Pioneer Woman's book. It made me too homesick.

  3. I've only read 3 of your top reads! How can that be?

  4. Love today's header--beautiful lighting on the flowers!!

    I've only read a few of these but enjoyed them (Before I Go to Sleep, Elegance of the Hedgehog to name two). I have a few more on the shelf and really would love to get to Cutting for Stone one day soon.

    Great year for you with all of these 4-5 star reads!

  5. I read, and liked very much-The Arrivals, Major Pettigrew, and Mapping.

  6. Excellent list!!! I've read some of these, have some on my wishlist and library list, and others I'm just lusting after. I had a low numbers year but a great quality year. Looks like the same for you!

  7. Some great choices, Les! Cutting for Stone and Elegance of the Hedgehog both made it to my lists. Should just copy and paste the rest on to my wish list, but most of them are already there :-)

  8. I love your list...many of them I've read and enjoyed, while others have went on my TBR list because of your reviews!

  9. The good thing is that with a smaller reading number you still read a lot of really great books!

  10. Happy to see The Arrivals on your 2011 Top Reads list, Les. I read this last May, and the characters and the details of their lives are still rolling around in my mind.

  11. Kay - Guess I'm in good company, eh? You know, I was probably a little disappointed with Shoot To Thrill, too, but I loved the ending. Wonder when the next installment is due out...

    I'm amazed that you've kept track of your reading for almost 20 years, but then I look back on my reading journals and I've been recording my thoughts since 1995. The first book entry... Anna Karenina!

    I'm having so much fun with my header. I love being able to change the photo every week. Thanks for noticing.

    Nancy - I remember how you couldn't get through The Pioneer Woman's memoir. Totally understand. But Cutting for Stone and The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories were great!

    Pam - Well, you've been busy with your photography and cooking and wine tasting and... I'm sure there's something else. :)

    Trish - Thank you! Did you see last week's sunset? I posted it just for you. :)

    Don't be intimidated by the size of Cutting for Stone. It takes a few chapters to get hooked, but once you do you won't want it to end. Loved it!

    Nan - I think you and I discovered The Arrivals thanks to our dear friend, Marcia. Oh, how I loved that book. I wrote to the author and received the sweetest response. I may have to post that later this week.

    Andi - I'm all about quality and I'm trying to ignore the final year-end count. That said, I'm off to a great start this month. Well, great for me. Five books finished! Whoohoo! :)

    JoAnn - Thanks for you nice comment. I hope you find time to read everything on your wishlist. Lots of wonderful books, imho.

    Staci - Awww, thank you. I hope they live up to your expectations.

    Kelly - Isn't that the truth! And 2012 is starting off with a bang, too. This is my year of "mindful reading."

    Marcia - Hello, dear friend!!!! I am so sorry you've decided to stop blogging, but I'm thrilled you're still bopping around the blogosphere. Please do keep in touch and let me know what you've read and loved. I've come to rely on your recommendations and never would have even seen The Arrivals had it not been for you. I know there are dozens more that you've mentioned over the years and I thank you for all of your lovely reviews. I think you have my email address. If so, please drop me a note when you come across any fabulous books that you think I may enjoy. Our reading tastes are so similar. Take good care, Marcia. xoxo

  12. Great lists, Les! Hope your 2012 reading brings you even more top reads!

    It's been a slow start for me in discovering a best read, but I checked my 2011 list and didn't get one until March, so not much is different this year.

  13. Joy - I'm having a great year of reading, so far. Not sure what the difference is from 2011. Maybe I'm just picking books that are so good, the pages keep flying.


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