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!