Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of the Year

I like to tally up my year's reading statistically...well, somewhat so, anyhow. It's entertaining to see what you've done over the year and to refresh your memory of some of the gems that were found over a year's reading. Once again, I've read more fiction than non-fiction, and more female authors than male. Pretty much normal. But I did read a lot more poetry than I do generally, not sure why, but it was enjoyable! Here is my record of 2011:

Total Reading: 159


Female: 97
Male: 58
Nongendered (collections, multiple authors, etc.): 4

Genre etc.

Fiction: 95
Non Fiction: 54
Poetry: 10

In translation:

Russian: 4
French (Quebecois): 3
Dutch: 2
Portuguese: 2
German: 2
Norwegian: 1
Korean: 1
Ukrainian: 1

My Own Books: 66
Library Books: 93

Rereads: 7


The last week of the year is also my favourite time to think about the "Best of the Year" -- the best that I've read, as judged according to my personal taste and reading experience. These are titles that spoke to me in some way, either with fantastic writing, memorable characters, or an overall "something" that has stuck with me. Sometimes it just reflects how much fun I had reading! So this is not a Best Literature Ever list, it's a Best Books for Me This Year list. Hope you will enjoy.

10. The Right-Brain Business Plan / Jennifer Lee
I'm including this one because it was so meaningful in my business planning this year. I enjoyed it so much that I bought myself a copy that I continually refer to. It's a creative, inspiring way to look at business planning.

9. The Artificial Silk Girl / Irmgard Keun
Pre-Nazi Germany is the setting for this epistolary style novel. I said upon reading it: "Keun is a great discovery and provided a bracing reading experience."

8. Blackout & All Clear / Connie Willis
Excellent, excellent 2 volume novel that I loved -- as I have all of the Oxford Time Travel series. This was a fabulously enjoyable reading experience, even if I didn't talk about it in my blog!

7. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows / Alan Bradley
Love Flavia De Luce, and this was a wonderful addition to the series...Christmas in a big old house, fun stuff.

6. To This Cedar Fountain / Kate Braid
This collection was full of poetry based on my favourite Canadian artist, Emily Carr. I love Carr, and I was intrigued by Braid's eloquent take on her life via poetry.

5. Anya's Ghost / Vera Brosgol
I never did review this one, but it was a graphic novel that actually drew me in -- I loved it.

4. The Rose Garden / Susanna Kearsley
No-one can write romantic suspense/time travel like Kearsley. Great addition to her oeuvre!

3. Kaleidoscope / P.K. Page
I can't repeat often enough how much I love P.K. Page. This book is a huge collection of her work, vital to any fan of Canadian poetry, in my opinion. Gorgeous stuff.

2. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt / Caroline Preston
This unusual book caught my fancy this year, and the illustrations were out of this world. I adore the Twenties and this fed my fascination with the era.

1. The Forest Horses / Byrna Barclay
I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover -- but I totally judged this one on its evocative cover, so much so that it made me decide to read it! And I'm glad I of my definite favourites this year.

Hope you all had a wonderful reading year as well, and here's to marvellous new bookish discoveries in the New Year. Happy 2012 to all!


  1. It's funny that so many bloggers that I follow also read more women authors than men (I do the same myself). Not that I set out to do that either, of course.... :) I loved The Rose Garden, too, and after I finished it I ordered three more of her books! I can't wait to read them, but I will ration them out. I plan on reading Connie Willis next year, too, though I want to read To Say Nothing of the Dog. It looks like you had an amazing reading year (wish I could read even half that number in nonfiction!). Happy New Year and happy reading in 2012!

  2. Danielle - glad to hear that you are also a Kearsley fan :) The first Connie Willis I ever read was To Say Nothing of the Dog and it was fantastic. Absolutely delightful; it made me a fan.

    It is funny, isn't it, how most of us just seem to read more women naturally -- our natural inclination, I suppose!

  3. I was thinking the same thing as Danielle about the bloggers I follow who read more women than men.

    I haven't read any of the books on your list, but I'm interested in several of them, the Connie Willis books, Anya's Ghost, The Rose Garden, and The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt are all ones I've added to my list. They look terrific!

  4. You had an amazing reading year. I love how detailed you stats are.

    Wishing you and everyone close to you, good health and happiness in the New Year. I am so happy i discovered your blog when I did.

  5. I always seem to be read more women than men. I will have to see where my stats are for this year, though.

    I bought The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and it is on its way to me right now. :)

  6. Teresa - all of those choices are very enjoyable reading :)

    Diane - thanks! Glad you enjoyed. Fun to see how the year stacks up in stats ;) Happy New Year to you and yours as well!

    Kailana - it seems to be a regular stat for most of us...will be interested to see yours too. Hope you enjoy Frankie Pratt!

  7. At first I misread your first sentence as that you like to tally up your year's reading sarcastically-- which could have made for an equally entertaining post.

    I tallied up my male/female averages yesterday and was surprised (as it wasn't a conscious decision on my part) that I'd read an almost equal number of each. For graphic novels, however, I definitely read more male authors.

  8. John - hmmm, that might be a totally new approach to take to reviews....LOL Would certainly add a little spice, though not sure it would be entirely palatable.

    Do you think that there are just more male graphic novel writers out there at the moment, or that your reading has simply brought you into contact with more?

  9. Ditto what everyone else said about the gender ratio. I love that book blogging (or the corner of it where I spend time) provides a nice balance to mainstream reviewing in this regard.

    I'll definitely have to read Blackout and All Clear in 2012. Happy New Year!

  10. Happy New Year to you, Melwyk.
    You read four times more books than I did in 2011.
    Please tell me your secret.
    Are you... a lottery winner?

  11. Wow! a really good year! I hope 2012 is just as good or better. Happy New Year!

  12. Nymeth - you're right about balancing out mainstream coverage; I neveer thought of that1 Hope you'll enjoy the Willis books. Great reading!

    Cipriano - LOL -- if so I'd have a lot more reading on my list, all read under a palm tree somewhere...

    Stefanie - It was a good year! Found a lot of good reading, and have a bunch more ready for me in 2012 :)

  13. Thanks for all the recommendations, through the year and onwards. I already have Connie Willis on my list for 2012; I read (and loved) TSNOTD, but I need to go back to Doomsday and then step up to the two you've mentioned here. I'm looking forward to them immensely!


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