I know, I know…it’s so cliche. Another “Best of” list. After all, it’s that time of year, when every other blog post or tweet is a link to one list or another. (Ok, it WAS that time of year, last week, and some of us are just now getting around to it!). But I’m always fascinated by book lists, particularly book lists put out by individuals – the more personal, the better! I want to know what people are REALLY reading, not what the NYT Book Review says they are buying (I mean, come on, we all know people just buy those lofty titles to read the first chapter and then display prominently on their coffee tables to make themselves look more intellectual, right?). It’s a matter of principle to me to be completely honest about my reading habits – the good, the bad, and the guilty pleasures.
So I carefully record and rate each book read throughout the year (thank you, GOODREADS!), and then come January 1, voila! I have fantastic stats of the previous years reading habits! It’s an interesting, if self-indulgent, look back at my year. I categorize things by “shelf”, mainly to satisfy my obsessive need to organize everything. There’s a nifty little pie chart that gives a visual, and I was a little embarrassed (but not surprised) to note that while 2010 was characterized with a large slice of the “spiritual”, 2011 was dominated by “mindless guilty pleasures”. What can I say? Let’s hope this isn’t a trend?
But perhaps my favorite piece of the statistics tool is the list that is generated grouping your books by year, by rating. There’s nothing like a cool graphic with bars and stars and tiny little thumbnails of your top-rated books of the year all lined up. Ah, the memories. It’s almost as good as alphabetizing your bookshelves! Apparently, I started off the year quite optimistically, giving 5 stars to 4 different books in January. 2 in February, 1 in March, May, June, August & September. July & October each had 2 5-star books. Clearly, there was a dearth of good reading in April, November & December. Pitiful.
All in all, it’s a pretty good list, and I’d venture to say there are several on the list I’ll re-read. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them to just about anyone. Some authors are old favorites (John Irving, Chris Bohjalian), some are new to me (2 Amy’s – Aimee Bender & Amy Greene). I jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon with the 1st in the series, and was not disappointed. Sometimes there’s a reason everyone’s talking about something, even if I do get tired of hearing “Do you have those books about the Throne Game, or Game Throne, or whatever it is??”. So without further ado, and reserving editorial comments for future blog posts, here are my top rated books of 2011:
My resolutions for the New Year include:
- More r
eviews! (Only 1 of my top rated books actually had a full-fledged written review – if I like it enough to give it 5 stars, I should be able to explain why! And not just by saying “it was AMAZING”! http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php – shout out to LSSU for the banished words list of 2011!)
- More 5 star books! How to know if they will be 5 stars before I begin? More recommendations, more reading of reviews, more award winners!
- More mindless guilty pleasures! ok, not really. That was a joke. Let’s try this…
- More balance! An equal slice of the pie (chart) for all the shelves!
Until next time…