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2011 Books in Review

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s almost 2012? I feel like I’m living in the future.

Sierra Godfrey’s post last week reminded me that I used to wrap up the year with a list of the books I’d read that year. My goal is always to read two books a month, and with two little munchkins, I just barely made it this year:

1. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
2. 13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro
3. A Tiger in the Kitchen by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
4. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
5. Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow by Nathan Bransford
6. We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb
7. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
10. Room by Emma Donahue
11. The Peacock Sings for Rain by Alison Singh Gee
12. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
13. Plastic by Susan Freinkel
14. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
15. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
16. How I sold 200,000 e-books by H.P. Mallory
17. Blindsight by Chris Colin
18. In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
19. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
20. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
21. In the Mirror by Ann Best
22. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
23. Twenty Somewhere by Kristan Hoffman
24. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

I hate to pick favorites because so many of them are really wonderful books, but I did particularly enjoy Room, In Zanesville, and The Tiger’s Wife. I’m a sucker for great literary fiction. What about you? What were your favorite books of 2011? Any recommendations?

21 comments to 2011 Books in Review

  • I just finished reading The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai and I heartily enjoyed it. You might also enjoy Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson or The End of Country by Seamus McGraw. Henderson's novel is a bit historical fiction, set in the straight edge movement; McGraw's is about hydrofracking and his experiences as a homeowner in Pennsylvania. Both are well written and have strong narratives.
    Nice job on completing the Hunger Games trilogy! I read them early this year and I gobbled them up, one after another. I'm looking forward to the films, too!

  • I was lucky enough to win the signed copy of A Thousand Lives and it was incredible. The story of how one person could be so spectacularly manipulative is –seemingly– astounding. But how the author weaved so much information into a page-turner is even better. Her book is a must-read! Thank you for sharing it with me!

    • meghancward

      Oh, Molly. I'm so glad you liked A Thousand Lives! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fantastic nonfiction read. Julia Scheeres' memoir, Jesus Land, is fantastic, too.

  • I enjoyed The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings and Empty Arms by Erika Liodice. I found The Descendants after a review on NPR, which made me think the topic could help my memoir topic. It was a wonderful story.

    • meghancward

      Stacy – I know Kaui and have seen the movie The Descendants, but haven't read the book yet. It's definitely on my list! Did you see the movie? I'm curious to know how the two compare.

  • How fantastic to see books by blogfriends Nathan, Kristen and Ann on your list. There's also a very strong tiger theme going on here. All bestsellers. I wonder if putting "tiger" in our titles would help sales? Maybe use tigers to rebrand classics so they'd sell better? "Island of the Blue Tigers", "Moby Tiger", "Gone with the Tiger", "A Tale of Two Tigers" ?

    • meghancward

      Anne, There was an article about all the tiger books that came out last year – and there were many. I do think the sale of one helped with the sales of others partially because people confused the titles. And haha on your rebranded book titles! How about "The Gatsby Tiger" and "Paris on Less Than 10,000 Tigers a Day"?

    • annbest37

      I love this reply, Anne! I think you've got a winner here with the "tiger" motif!!

  • Nina Badzin

    Seems the Hunger Games series was on everyone's lists this year, including mine. I haven't ripped through books at that pace before or since!

    • meghancward

      Nina, I haven't either! I love reading books that I can't put down, that make me want to read instead of watch a movie at night.

  • I agree with Nina – The Hunger Games tops my list. Also Sarah's Key and Those Who Save Us

  • Kristan

    YAY for The Room. I need to check out The Tiger's Wife. My fave books of the year are here:

    • meghancward

      Kristan, I also loved Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother! And the Book Thief is fantastic. I couldn't get into Water for Elephants, even thought it was highly recommended by several people. Maybe I'll try again some time.

  • Thanks for the shout out–I love seeing your list and giving me suggestions for my 2012 one!

    • meghancward

      Thank, YOU, Sierra, for posting your list. I had completely forgotten that I used to do that at the end of each year (it must have been on my old blog).

  • Ann Best

    This reply system is confusing me. I just lost a comment. So here goes again.

    That's awesome that you made managed to do this. I had trouble when I had "little munchkins" even reading a story in a magazine, let alone 24 books in a year!!! I'm honored to be on your list. Now I'm looking forward to YOUR published memoir!

  • Ann Best

    I'm trying again to see if this will go through with my picture and link….

    • meghancward

      Ann – I have that happen, too, sometimes when I comment on other blogs – that my picture doesn't show up. But thank you for your comments. It was a lot of fun to read your book this year. And I DO hope that you will be reading mine someday! 🙂