Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 Final Book Report

Here's where I go into a little more detail about the books I read in 2011, as well as pick my favorite book of all the books I read this year.

102 total books read (1.96 per week)
76 books read for the first time
47 books of nonfiction/biography/memoir
40 books read for work
24 read on the e-reader
18 books for children or young adults
17 sci-fi books
7 fantasies
5 Austen-related
classic for first time

Pretty interesting when I compare to 2010; the percentage of books I read for the first time was 75%, almost as good as last year (77%) and better than 2009 (71%). Unlike last year, when the majority of books I read were for young adults or children, this year the biggest portion of my reading material (46%) came from nonfiction, mostly books I read for research. Sci-fi was up by a couple of books and fantasy down by almost two-thirds. Classics and Austen-related books also took big hits, as I didn't have time to write about them in my blog.

The most interesting number, I believe, is the new line item: 24 books read on the e-reader, which I received for Christmas 2010. I've purchased a few e-books online, checked out several from the library, and got a big hunk of the ones I read from  CDs included with the latest volumes of my favorite series from Baen publishers. It will be interesting to see, especially with no big research project looming, how much that e-book number grows in 2012. You'll just have to check back in a year to find out! In the meantime, here were my favorite books of 2011:

Favorite book of the first quarter: E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, a funny YA school story with lots to say about friends and gender roles.

Favorite book of the second quarter: Ian McEwan's Atonement, both a historical novel and a meditation on writing.

Favorite book of the third quarter: Louis Sachar's Holes, the 1998 Newbery Medal winner (I'm a little behind) and still a wonderfully plotted book with great characters.

Favorite book of the fourth quarter: Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (fiction), a moving mystery about a girl's suicide; and Erik Larsen's Devil in the White City (nonfiction), an intertwined account of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the murderous doctor who haunted it.

And my favorite book of 2011? Of course, I have to choose Atonement. Beautiful language, epic scope, and a doozy of a final twist—all to explore the role of the author and the act of writing. How could I resist?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photo of the Week--1/9/12

For this week's installment of picture of things framed by other things: Picture Rocks National Lakeshore! The only way to really see this beautiful part of Michigan is by boat, which we did a couple of years ago. (In the future we'd love to do it by canoe, but that requires planning ahead for the special class.) I love the patterns the water makes on and through the rocks; testament again to the patience and power of water. Wait long enough, and water will triumph. It's an example to keep in mind as I prepare yet another cycle of revise-and-submit for my novel.