Sunday, 15 January 2012

Reading 2011

I'm officially retiring my book blog, having only posted a couple of times in the last two years, so when I do write about reading it shall be here.

During 2011 I read 39 fiction and 11 non-fiction. I also started Catch 22, but couldn't get past 50 or so pages. It's unusual for me not to finish a book, especially one that I feel I ought to read. I'll probably try reading it again in a couple of years.

It's also unusual for me to read significantly more fiction than non-fiction, but last year I decided to focus on reading modern fiction that friends and family had recommended.

The fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The gates of Rome
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The death of kings
Hosseini, Khaled - The Kite Runner
Hosseini, Khaled - A Thousand Splendid Suns
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The Field of Swords
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The Gods of War
Golden, Arthur - Memoirs of a Geisha
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
Martel, Yann - Life of Pi
Albom, Mitch - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Mitchell, David - Cloud Atlas
Barbery, Muriel - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Edwards, Clive John - 1874 (okay so I might be a little biased here!)

I'd not read books by any of these authors before and it will definitely encourage me to read more fiction in future.

The non-fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Chang, Jung - Wild Swans
Harrer, Heinrich - Seven Years in Tibet

The other books I read were the following. The books with a star did not receive 10 stars, but I still consider them 'must-reads':

Goodkind, Terry - Temple of the Winds
Goodkind, Terry - Soul of the Fire
Goodkind, Terry - Faith of the Fallen
Kuegler, Sabine - Child of the Jungle (non-fiction)
Fuller, Alexandra - Don't let's go to the dogs tonight (non-fiction)
*Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Horwood, William - The Boy with No Shoes (non-fiction)
Banks, Iain - The Wasp Factory
*Filopovic, Zlata - Zlata's Diary (non-fiction)
Horwood, William - Hyddenworld - Spring
Forster, E M - A Passage to India
Forster, E M - A Room with a View
*Zola, Emile - Germinal
Faulks, Sebastian - Engleby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
*Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Latifa - My Forbidden Face (non-fiction)
Sebold, Alice - The Lovely Bones
Golding, William - Rites of Passage
*Donague, Emma - Room
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Sasson, Jean - For the Love of a Son (non-fiction)
Randell, Nigel - The White Headhunter (non-fiction)
Faulks, Sebastian - The Girl at the Lion d'Or
Shah, Hannah - The Imam's Daughter (non-fiction)
Wharton, Edith - The Age of Innocence
Twining, James - The Double Eagle
*Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day
*Thomas, Abigail - A Three Dog Life (non-fiction)
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz - The Shadow of the Wind
Fynn - Mister God This is Anna
Fielding, Helen - Bridget Jones's Diary
Fielding, Helen - Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason

I find it extremely difficult to choose the 'best book' that I read in 2011 - for me it comes jointly between Cloud Atlas and Wild Swans. Interestingly my father's favourite book of 2011 was also written by David Mitchell.

I'm back reading non-fiction in 2012 and have already given 10 stars to Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman.


  1. Some of the titles on this list I know I've read. Some of the classics I read such a long time ago that I've had plenty of time to forget them again! Others I think I've seen as film but maybe never actually read the book.

    Has CJ's book has been published? If it has, then he's either kept very quiet about it or I have some serious catching up to do...

  2. Hi Monica,

    Thanks for stopping by. Unforunately 1874 hasn't been accepted by a publisher yet, but we are all keeping our fingers crossed (my Dad's actually about to revise it before sending it off again).

    I also tend to watch films of the classics long before I read them (if I ever do). If only we could read books in as short a time as it takes to watch the films.

  3. Wild Swans is one of only two books (the other being The Glass Palace) that I have read in one sitting (travelling to or from NZ in the days when I never even dozed on a plane). I also think that they are two of my 'best reads'.

    From your list
    Martel, Yann - Life of Pi
    Albom, Mitch - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
    Barbery, Muriel - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
    Edwards, Clive John - 1874 (okay so I, too, might be a little biased here!)
    Sebold, Alice - The Lovely Bones

    Are books I have read and feature very high up my 'good read' list.

  4. What a great selection you read and our tastes are very similar - quite surprising considering the generation gap and some of the widely differing interests we have. And so few 'frivolous' ones. A lot of mine are just cosy crime or cosy historical novels.