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Favorite Books, 2011

For three years in a row, beginning in 2009, I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read. My goal is simple: read more books than the year before. I started with 26 in 2009, clocked 30 in 2010, and finished 38 last year.

I’d say that all of the books I finished in 2011 are good reads. (That’s mainly because I don’t balk at putting down a book I don’t find compelling in the first few chapters.) A lot of them are great books. But my favorites, by far, are the following:

My goal this year is to finish 40 books. That’s roughly 3 1/2 books per month. I think that’s doable. One of the benefits of reading more is developing the ability to read with a fair amount of speed. While I’ve always been a faster-than-average reader, setting a yearly goal has given me an additional motivation not to linger too long on a single page. Maybe I should add speed-reading to my goals for 2012.

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Books I read in 2010

1. The Mermaid’s Madness / Jim Hines

2. Pirate Latitudes / Michael Crichton

3. The Everafter / Amy Huntley

4. Princess Academy / Shannon Hale

5. Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist / Michael J. Fox

6. The Time-Traveler’s Wife / Audrey Niffenegger

7. Write Great Fiction: Plot and Structure / James Scott Bell

8. Alex and the Ironic Gentleman / Adrienne Kress

9. The Sea of Monsters / Rick Riordan

10. Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas / Elise Primavera

11. Auntie Claus, Home for the Holidays / Elise Primavera

12. The Polar Express / Chris Van Allsburg

13. Auntie Claus / Elise Primavera

14. Thirteen Reasons Why / Jay Asher

15. The Titan’s Curse / Rick Riordan

16. You Wish: The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff / Jason Lethcoe

17. Mistwood / Leah Cypess

18. The Shifter / Janice Hardy

19. Spells / Aprilynne Pike

20. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus / L. Frank Baum

21. Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate / Adrienne Kress

22. The Magic Thief / Sarah Prineas

23. The Fairy-Tale Detectives / Michael Buckley

24. Heist Society / Ally Carter

25. The Magic Thief: Lost (audio) / Sarah Prineas

26. Magyk / Angie Sage

27. The Magic Thief: Found / Sarah Prineas

28. Flyte / Angie Sage

29. Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen (re-read)

30. The Portrait of Dorian Gray / Oscar Wilde

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Books I Remember

I’m organizing my reading lists here on the blog. In 2009, I read 26 books. Here are some of those I remember having read before then:

1. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee

2. Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, by Michka Assayas

3. The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children, by Robert Shaw

4. Coma, by Robin Cook

5-11. The Harry Pottter Books, by J.K. Rowling

12. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

13. James Herriot’s Yorkshire: A Guided Tour With the Beloved Veterinarian Through the Land of All Creatures Great And Small And Every Living Thing, Gloriously Photographed and Memorably Described, by James Herriot and Derry Brabbs

 

* By Favorite Authors:

James Herriot: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful , The Lord God Made Them All

C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books)

Sophie Kinsella: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister

Tom Clancy: The Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games, The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Without Remorse, Debt of Honor, Rainbow Six

Michael Crichton: The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park, Airframe, The Lost World, Timeline, State of Fear

Antoine de St. Exupery: The Little Prince

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Book Shelf Update

I just updated my book shelf, which is my little tally of the books that I read. I am now at 14 books since the start of the year. OK, so I cheated a little, because 4 of those books are considered picture books. I read them for research, but since I still read them through, I figure they have a place in my list.

Last year, out of the 26 books I finished, two really stood out. One is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the other is Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant. Not that the others weren’t any good (they were), but these two books have stayed with me. Austen’s language and characterization were inspiring. And The Magician’s Elephant! Wow, there was so much beauty there, for a book so short.

So far this year, there are 2 books that I will also not forget anytime soon: Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy, for her ease in weaving a highly believable magical story; and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. I almost have no words to describe this last book. I thought the topic was going to be depressing, but it was in fact, enlightening. This is a profound book, that was written with much skill. There’s a reason it’s spent weeks on the NYT Bestsellers Lists. A must read for teens, parents and educators.

And, on to what I’m reading now. I have Rick Riordan’s The Titan’s Curse and am going through it quickly. I also have L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which I’m afraid is taking me a long time to to read. It just somehow has not really drawn me in.

I’m looking forward to reading Mistwood, and Spells. So have you read any good books lately?

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Books I Read in 2009

At the start of 2009, I made a resolution to read more books. I didn’t quantify it, because I didn’t read that many books in 2008. I’m happy to say that I’ve definitely met this goal. I kept a record of the books, and I was able to do 26 in all! Yay me!

Here’s the list of books, mostly fiction, that I read in 2009:

1. The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Unabridged Classics) / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Author), Scott McKowen (Illustrator)

2. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income / Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

3. Anne of Green Gables / Lucy Maud Montgomery

4. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

5. The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

6. The Letter Writer / Ann Rinaldi

7. Remember Me? / Sophie Kinsella

8. A Wrinkle in Time / Madeleine L’Engle

9. The Wedding / Nicholas Sparks

10. The Testament / John Grisham

11. Wings / Aprilynne Pike

12. The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Liming Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life / by Leo Babauta

13. New Moon / Stephenie Meyer

14. True Believer / Nicholas Sparks

15. Nights in Rodanthe / Nicholas Sparks

16. Eclipse / Stephenie Meyer

17. Breaking Dawn / Stephenie Meyer

18. On Writing / Stephen King

19. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy / Jeanne Birdsall

20. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) / Rick Riordan

21.  Holes / Louis Sachar

22. Bud, Not Buddy / Christopher Paul Curtis

23. The Magician’s Elephant / Kate DiCamillo

24. Prada and Prejudice / Mandy Hubbard

25.  A Wind in the Door / Madeleine L’Engle

26. Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen

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So for 2010, my reading goal is simply to top 26!