Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favorite Things: Books

Among my favorite things to do when I can choose to do whatever I want
to do: reading.  Here are my favorite reads of 2011, aka

Sarah's Top Seven Books Read During 2011 (catchy, no?)

7. The Hunger Games trilogy.  I'll admit it: I was prejudiced against Suzanne Collins trilogy.  Figured all the buzz was hype.  I didn't read THG till this summer, and I wasn't really hooked until Katniss (our powerful, if flawed, protagonist) was launched up the tube into The Hunger Games arena.  But once I was hooked, I was enthralled.  Truly thought provoking and downright captivating, all three books are excellent.  I hadn't expected the story and message to be so political.  (I guess I thought it would be sci-fi-ish fluff?  See?  Prejudiced!)  But I am very impressed with how Collins portrayed violence and power.  Perhaps it's not for all, but I know where I'll be on March 23, 2012.*   

*in a dark theater, cursing the Capitol regime, and throwing popcorn at President Snow

6. Graceling.  Apparently I'm a sucker for Young Adult Fiction with a strong female main character.  I kind of want to be Katsa when I grow up.  She's clever, witty, and completely bad ass.  She's one of few in her kingdom "graced" with a special power, and we get to watch her make mistakes, learn, and grow—come-of-age, if you will.  Part adventure, party mystery, part bildungsroman; totally enchanting and so very cool.  A nice, and unexpected, combo. 

5. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.  Aaaaaand, here we are again with Sarah's "strong [teenaged] female main character" paradigm.  Though I didn't love TDHoFL-B like the other books already noted, I did enjoy this read.  Frankie attends a boarding school, and when she feels she is wronged by an all-male secret society at said school, we get to watch her exact her revenge, which consists of carefully plotted, elaborate pranks.  The setting, plot, and characterization are reminiscent of John Green (which is a very good thing), but if you want to read "John Green" at its finest, read Paper Towns.  Sigh.  The best.

4. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.  A fun read.  I'm not usually into "romance" or "rom-com" type books, but this one's pretty cheeky.  Dash and Lily are both smart, savvy, word- and literature-loving types.  Before they ever meet in person, they interact with cryptic messages passed back and forth in books (!) in a bookstore.  Solid. 

3. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee.  Disclaimer: Sarah Silverman's humor is not for everyone.  Most call her crass; some call her much worse.  I find her hilarious, and laughed out loud at least once per chapter.  If you don't dig her style, nothing I say will make you dig this book.  For what it's worth, I was thoroughly entertained by The Bedwetter.  

2. Great House.  In an effort to prove that I do read books intended for adults . . . ahem.  Nicole Krauss is the author of one of my favorite books of all time: The History of Love.  Though I wasn't equally enamored with her Man Walks into a Room, I was really looking forward to reading GH.  

It neither dazzled nor disappointed me.  Like always, Krauss' phrasing is gorgeous.  Her words, mesmerizing.  But I didn't really ever grow to care about the characters, so my desire to feel moved as the story unfolded, was unrealized.      

1. The Book Thief.  Truth be told, I read The Book Thief before 2011.  However, I'm including it in this countdown because I re-read it.  For the fourth time.  I want everyone in the world to read The Book Thief.  Just once, even.  It is stunning and heartbreaking and powerful.  A treasure.  It's magnificent.  A magnificent treasure.

Up next for me?  The Night Circus and The Fault in Our Stars (John Green's soon-to-be-published latest effort).  Is it possible that I'll enjoy more adult literature in 2012?  Sure, anything is possible.  ;]

What were your favorite reads of 2011?
I'm always seeking recommendations!


  1. Tonight I said to my roommate: "we're going to camp out to get tickets for The Hunger Games, right?" I too have a thing for strong female leads, especially in YA fiction. So glad to see The Book Thief on your list. I push it on my advanced readers at school. ; )

  2. Well, sadly, I didn't read as much as I would have hoped, but that's part of my resolution for 2012...

    Anyway, I loved "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Motivational and beautifully written!

    Just a few pages left on "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." Set in Great Britain following the liberation after Germany occupied the island of Guernsey in WWII. Another wonderfully written piece with deep & rich characters that will tug at your heart. The kind of book that makes you want to catch the next plane to breathe the same air these characters did. I don't know a person who wouldn't love this book!

    Looking forward to putting these all on my list!

  3. Caitlin - not sure I'll camp out. Will you save me a spot in line? ;]

    Meliss - yes! That's what resolutions are for! 1 of mine this year is to document all the books I read b/c I actually had a tough time coming up with which books I read in 2011, let alone my favorites, as I was writing this post. I'll be keeping track over @ my Goodreads profile if ya wanna follow along. And thanks for sharing your favorites; I'll go put them on my to-read list now. :]

  4. John Green's "Looking for Alaska" was by far my favorite of his, though "Paper Towns" was a close second...