Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Reads

Every year, I keep a running list of books I've read in the back of my planner, usually with some sort of schizophrenic rating system that inevitably changes sometime in May and becomes indecipherable by November. Learning how to effectively use my GoodReads account would likely serve me better, but that's a fish to fry for another year. For the time being, here's 2011's Mini Book Reports, in 30 words or less. {Top Five Favorites notated in the swirly brackets.}


New-to-Me Books
The Hour I First Believed Too many issues to manage emotionally. I'll stick with She's Come Undone- an all-time favorite.

The Zygote Chronicles It's like my Pregnant Brain penned a mini-autobiography, except Finnamore is {forever} wittier than I could ever hope to be. {#3}

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain Had to quit halfway through. But, probably a decent read if you don't have Moderate to Major Food Baggage.

Cutting for Stone Glad I finished but it felt like an Ironman Competition in the interim.

One Day Loved it until the end, and then I wanted to stab myself in the eyeball with a dull butter knife.

The Lost Symbol Um, it's a Dan Brown Book: Intriguing Topic & Storyline / Prose a la Third Grader with Crayon.

The Art of Racing in the Rain So charmingly wonderful. {#2}

Room If this were a high school English paper, I would say "thoughtfully written; enjoyable use of unexpected narrative voice."

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The best non-food-related nonfiction book I've read in years. {#5}

Sarah's Key Maybe it was all the hype and my expectations were too high, but... meh, predictable.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake Good stuff. Good, good stuff. {#4}

Bossypants Oh Tina. Yes. A thousand chuckles, yes.

The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship Another great nonfiction read. My nerdy inner sociologist was quite pleased.

The Rainmaker Um, it's a John Grisham Book: Makes You Want to Be a Litigator / Unless You're Actually a Litigator & Then You're Just Bummed That Life Isn't a Grisham Novel.

Her Fearful Symmetry BOO. Didn't expect it to top The Time Traveler's Wife
- another all-time favorite - but this was so bad, I was actually pissed I paid for this.

Girls in White Dresses More good stuff. Really liked the vignette format.

Then Came You I'm officially too old for chick lit shit that is any fluffier than the aforementioned Girls in White Dresses. This one confirmed it.

The Tiger's Wife See: Cutting for Stone.

State of Wonder If this were a cheesy People Magazine book review, I would use words like "spell-binding" and "breathtaking composition." {#1}


Fertility & Pregnancy Related

I'd recommend all of the above, save for What to Expect, which I found to be unduly dramatic on the 1st Trimester "What Can Go Wrong" junk and annoyingly sing-songy elsewhere.

Water for Elephants

Obviamente, I'm an all-around big fan of these suckers.

On Deck for 2012...
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
The Marriage Plot

What were your favorite reads in 2011?


  1. Oh I LOVED Major Pettigrew's Last Stand! I read it this summer, one of my favorites for sure!

  2. Lots of books to check out! I loved This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Very, very good. Also, What to Expect While You're Expecting is a terrible pregnancy book (I preferred the Mayo Clinic's guide), but I do recommend What to Expect the First Year. Oh! And, we love The Wonder Weeks. If you're looking for another baby book :-)

  3. My bookclub is reading Cutting for Stone in feb and State of Wonder in May. Glad to hear you liked State of Wonder as your #1.

    You must be a fast reader!

  4. I couldn't finish Art of Racing in the Rain... made me too sad.

    But I read I Was Told There'd Be Cake a few yesrs ago and LOVED it. She came out with a new one last year - How Did You Get This Number? - and it was fabulous too.

    Adding State of Wonder to my Goodreads list. :)

  5. Loved The Art of Racing in the Rain. Read it a couple of years ago on a road trip to New Oreans. I'm holding it in my "bring your favorite book 'cause we are taking your picture with it" photo at school.

  6. I always tell people to read Shantaram. It is really long but it is so worth it, definitely in my all time top 3. I would read it again but I passed it on to a friend like I do with most books after I read them. Another of my top 3 is A Confederacy of Dunces. I also love anything by Cormac McCarthy. I know none of those books are new but they are worth reading.

  7. I completely agree about Wally Lamb's books I read She's Come Undone probably 12 or so years ago and still love it. I could not finish The Hour I First Believed (and I was pregnant confined to the couch!).

    The Art of Racing in the Rain is now a new favorite of mine after reading it last year. I also read all of the Hunger Games books and became hooked despite the fact that they are considered young adult.


  9. were a super reader this year!!

    Some thoughts...

    1. The Art of Racing in the Rain is so so good. I am glad you read it. I recommend it to everyone I meet who is a dog lover!
    2. Her Fearful Symmetry...BARF. I am so glad I got my copy at the library. Sorry you lost money on that one.
    3. I need to email you about some of your baby making books.
    4. I read half of Henrietta Lacks this year but then i had to return it to the library because I chose words with friends over reading. I hope to finish it in 2012. I loved the first half.
    5. Thanks for some of your suggestions! I added a bunch of these to my list.
    6. You should totally read Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. So funny and a light, quick read!

  10. I always enjoy your book recommendations, we shared a few books this year that I loved! I'm definitely adding Girls in White Dresses and State of Wonder to my 2012 list. I can't wait to hear what you think of The Marriage Plot. I've heard wonderful things about it.

  11. this is great- so excited to add some of these to my reading list. have you heard of Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles- its about Manhattan in the 30's... its delicious AND heartbreaking!

  12. I agree, One Day was THE WORST. I kept yelling at strangers in the movie ticket line who paid to see the movie. "Don't, ug, just DON'T."
    My fiance was not amused. I quit Henrietta half way through, it just made me feel dirty. Also, I made the mistake of reading a Jen Lancaster novel. YUK. Racing in the Rain was one of those books that I finish reading and just hugged it to my chest. Lately I have been reading things WAY to embarrassing to share with you, but my job is so intense, I need some escape.

  13. You're such a good reader! I had a good reading year in 2010, but didn't really have my act together in 2011. Room is on my list of things i would like to read in 2012 for sure.

  14. I think I must be the only person who loved Her Fearful Symmetry, but then again, I despised the Time Traveler's Wife. Thought the movie was better, and I NEVER say that! I just finished State of Wonder, though, and I agree with your assessment. I couldn't put it down!

  15. I was a student at Virginia Tech when the Incident (capital I) occurred in April 2007, and I made the mistake of picking up "The Hour I First Believed." I give Wally Lamb huge credit for being able to write such a book, because it is so chillingly emotionally accurate, but I was in no way emotionally ready to read it. I cried my way through the beginning of it, and eventually just tucked it up on the shelf. I think I'd like to read his first book, though. I've heard very good things about it. I just received the book about Henrietta Lacks for Christmas, and I can't wait to start reading! Excellent reading list. Thanks!

  16. I read (a combined) 1.75 books this year. Shamed and humbled over here! haha At least now you've culled a great reading list for me to piggyback off of for 2012? ;) xoxo


happy little comments!