Welcome 2012 and my favorite books of 2011

Welcome to 2012 and a good Sunday to you all!

I am grateful for what I have, for the company of Mr. G and the lovely Cassandra, for friends and family and for those who visit Page247.  I am also grateful for the wonderful community of book lovers out there who share their thoughts, start important conversations about books and literature , and introduce me to new authors and new books.

I managed to read 128 books in 2011 and reviewed 77 of them.  There were fewer 5-star reads in 2011.   I’m not sure why that happened.  Maybe I’m becoming pickier as I age.

Plans for 2012 include the TBR Double Dare Orange January/July  and the 2012 Speculative Fiction Challenge, along with some read-alongs and seasonal events.  I’d like to read some Dickens and read and write about poetry.   We’ll see if that happens.

Here are reviews of my favorite books  from 2011.  Thanks for stopping by!

Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk

Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras

The Disappeared by Kim Echlin

The Anthologist by Nicolas Baker

The Birthday Boys by Meryl Bainbridge

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak

Bohemian Girl by Terese Svoboda

And to make it and baker’s  dozen I finally read the whole of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  The translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is brilliant, dense and rich.  I loved it.

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38 Comments

Filed under Best Of, Sunday Salon

38 responses to “Welcome 2012 and my favorite books of 2011

  1. I expected your list to be full of interesting titles and it is.
    I wish you a wonderful 2012.

  2. Ha! I see some of my favorites on your list!!! And also some I hope to read in 2012 :) Happy New Year – here is to fabulous books in 2012!

  3. Agaat was my nr 1 read in 2010, I loved it. Triomf should be a great novel as well. Didn’t get the chance to read it yet.

  4. JoV

    I love Annabel too, but it’s a near miss in my top 10, because there were so many good books I read this year! Happy new year.

  5. So few that I’ve read! And I trust your recommendations 100%, so I’ll have to try and find many of those.

    • I have to say I really liked all of the books on my list but they are very different. I think you would like Bohemian Girl and Salvage the Bones(if you can get past the dog fights). Here’s to great reading in 2012!

  6. I’ve read two of them (Crooked Letter and Extremely Close) and would totally agree with you. You have had a great year, even if you have had less five star reads.

    • Thanks, Sandy. You have me thinking I have to try audio books, maybe while riding my stationary bike or walking after work. Any suggestions?

  7. Happy New Year, Gavin! I’m so glad I found your blog so long ago. :-) I hope 2012 is full of rich reads and great joy.

  8. I’m collecting year end/beginning lists at Semicolon’s Saturday Review of Books this week:
    http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=16513
    And as a bonus, I’m suggesting books for each blogger based on their list of 2011 favorites. You’re invited to add a link to your list post if you’re interested.

  9. Happy New Year, Gavin! Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is the only book on your list that I’ve read, but it was one of my favorites, too.

  10. Happy New Year, Gavin!

  11. Wow! you read quite a bit this past year and wishing you luck on your reading challenges this year.

    Here is my Sunday Salon post.

  12. Wow, all of War and Peace… that’s amazing! Did you readalong with Books on the Nightstand listeners? Wishing you another great reading year!

  13. I’ve read ONE of your top books: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Loved it.
    It’s really odd (and cool) that I have had 17% of the books I read in 09, 10 and 11 be five star. I don’t plan it, just seems to work out that way.
    Happy New Year!

  14. wonderful top book list gavin ,all the best for the coming year stu

  15. Eva

    I already had a lot of these on my wish list from your original posts! :D

  16. Books in the Burbs

    What a great list!!! I love reading everyone’s blogs and seeing which books made their list :) Just gives me more books to add to my TBR list :D

  17. I think I give out lower ratings over the years, too. I also find as I go back and think about books later, that my ratings often change – either up or down, with the passage of time. That’s actually why I stopped rating books on my blog, though I still do on GoodReads and LibraryThing. I also think that as you get older and read more amazing books, you get more discerning about what really stands out and what doesn’t. Or… we get more ornery ;-)

    • I’m the same way with rating books. I sometimes change my mind which is why I’ve never developed a rating system fro my blog. I use GoodReads and have been know to change stars!

  18. I experienced the same thing … I only had one 5 star read last year. I guess I’m getting pickier too!

    • Picky is good, I think. I am much more likely to put down a book that doesn’t click with me then I used to be. Now I have to go find out what your 5 star book was!

  19. I have to admit that I didn’t like Annabel. I actually thought that it dulled in comparison with Middlesex and I got bored… I hated that because I thought I would love it!

    • It’s been a while since I read Middlesex. I should add it to my list of must rereads. There were parts of Annabel that didn’t quite work for me but over all I found it a brave and beautiful book.

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