The Books of 2011

I don’t know how I managed it all, but I read 75 books in 2011. That’s more than I have in quite some time. Admittedly, some of the reading was for school and some of it was also done at school when I had time on my hands early in my internship at Darien High School. Also, once I began commuting to school, I began “reading” via audio book, using CDs from the library to either read books being taught in school or the occasional personal choice. And with 75 books read, it’s interesting to note how there were long stretches where everything I read was not necessarily what I wanted to read.

Still, I managed to sample more than a few new authors, honoring my annual commitment to reach out. So, what stood out in my mind as worthy of recommendation? The full list is behind the cut but I should mention Colonel Roosevelt, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The White Tiger, Juliet, Naked, Baseball in the Garden of Eden, The Magicians, and In the Garden of Beasts. I truly enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy although felt the final chapters of book three fell apart and needed serious reconsideration. It did not dampen, though, my anticipation of the movie in April. I also enjoyed the final book in my friend Laura Anne Gilman’s Vineart War trilogy and wish she would write some more.

I continued to read my usual assortment of newspapers, magazines, and comic books although I always felt behind. Starting in the fall, my local weeklies and weekly magazines began showing up later and later. I called and complained to the post office and got a “we’ll look into it” but my local carrier told me that a new sorting system was screwing everything up and no one cared enough to fix it despite the complaints. So, Time, Entertainment Weekly and The Week – which normally showed up on Fridays – began arriving anywhere from Monday to Wednesday making them dated.

I’ve begun using the iPad for some reading and this week have begun downloading the magazines on their scheduled release date so I can remain contemporary. Earlier this year, I experimented with reading a text book via the Kindle app for my phone, laptop, and tablet and decided this was a useful step forward and suspect in the coming year, will switch more of my reading to an electronic device.

Here’s my reading list. What do you recommend I try in 2012?

1

Colonel Roosevelt Edmund Morris

2

Blackmark Gil Kane with Archie Goodwin

3

Speak Laurie Halse Anderson

4

Star Trek: Typhon Pact – Rough Beasts of Empire David R. George III

5

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Helen Simonson

6

The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

7

The Help Kathryn Stockett

8

Frankenstein Mary Shelley

9

The Three Musketeers Alexander Dumas

10

Star Trek: Typhon Pact – Rough Beasts of Empire Dayton Ward

11

The White Tiger Aravind Adiga

12

Great Expectations Charles Dickens

13

The Awakening Kate Chopin

14

Monster Walter Dean Myers

15

A Separate Peace John Knowles

16

Night Elie Weisel

17

Chronicle of a Death Foretold Gabriel Garcia Marquez

18

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis

19

Persepolis 2 Marjane Satrapi

20

The Camelot Papers Peter David

21

Ariel Sylvia Plath

22

Imagining Argentina Lawrence Thornton

23

Go Tell it from the Mountain James Baldwin

24

The Whale Rider Witi Ihimaera

25

Indefinite Renewal Aaron Rosenberg

26

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

27

Nineteen Minutes Jodi Picoult

28

The House of Mirth Edith Wharton

29

My Antonia Willa Cather

30

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll

31

The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison

32

The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion

33

The Chocolate War Robert Cormier

34

Annie on my Mind Nancy Garden

35

Thud! Terry Pratchett

36

Revenge and Forgiveness Patrice Vecchione, editor

37

The Giver Lois Lowry

38

Juliet, Naked Nick Hornby

39

Sidekicks Jack D. Ferraiolo

40

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

41

The Alchemist Michael Scott

42

Going Postal Terry Pratchett

43

All the Pretty Horses Cormac McCarthy

44

The Golden Compass Philip Pullman

45

Good Omens Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

46

Maus Art Spiegelman

47

The Last Mission Harry Mazer

48

Catching Fire Suzanne Collins

49

Seal Team 6 Chuck Dixon

50

Star Trek: Indistinguishable from Magic David MacIntee

51

Mockingjay Suzanne Collins

52

Tongues of Serpents Naomi Novik

53

Krazy Kat & The Art of George Herriman A Celebration Craig Yoe

54

Star Trek: Vanguard – Declassified Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri, David Mack

55

Baseball in the Garden of Eden John Thorn

56

Star Trek: New Frontier – Blind Man’s Bluff Peter David

57

The Silent Season of a Hero Gay Talese

58

Bye, bye, Baby Max Allan Collins

59

Star Trek: Cast no Shadow James Swallow

60

The Magicians Lev Grossman

61

Pobby & Dingan Ben Rice

62

In the Garden of Beasts Erik Larson

63

FadeIn Michael Piller

64

Boldly Writing Joan Verba

65

The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell

66

Ellen Foster Kaye Gibbons

67

Lush Life Richard Price

68

The Road Cormac McCarthy

69

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

70

Star Trek Vault Scott Tipton

71

The Life of Pi Yann Martel

72

The Book Thief Markus Zusak

73

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

74

Revolutionary Road Richard Yates

75

The Shattered Vine Laura Anne Gilman

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