Friday, December 30, 2011

Books I've Read This Year: 2011

"Happiest is he who judges and knows books." - Thomas Davies, 1845

It's that time of year again where I place all of the books I've read in one post so that they will be archived and I can finally clear out my sidebar. However, this year I'm also going to rate all of them. I know I've written reviews for a few, but I also flat-out disagree with some of them now, so I won't link to them.

No stars = don't bother
1 star = If you are holding it, I won't tell you to put it down
2 stars = I will hand this book to you
3 stars = I will beat you with this book until you read it

It should be noted: These rankings are based on how much I enjoyed them, rather than overall quality, which means the 2 star rating encompasses a large range and a 3 star rating doesn't have any set criteria, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But a very small grain, because I have excellent taste.

  •    Across The Universe
  •  **Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (Mark Twain)
  •   *All The Time in the World
  •    All These Things I've Done
  •  **Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)
  •   *Anna and the French Kiss
  •  **Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)
  •   *Believing Brain, The-- NF
  •   *Between Shades of Gray
  •   *Blink & Caution
  •  **Bluefish (Pat Schmatz)
  •   *Bored of the Rings
  •   *Brightly Woven
  •  **Brotherband Chronicles: The Outcasts (John Flanagan)
  •  **Cardturner, The (Louis Sachar)
  •  **Charmed Life (Diana Wynne Jones)
  •  **Chime (Franny Billingsley)
  •   *Chosen One, The
  •  **Cinderella Ate My Daughter -- NF (Peggy Orenstein)
  •   *City of Bones
  •   *Crucible, The
  • ***Dark Lord of Derkholm (Diana Wynne Jones)
  •  **Dash And Lily's Book of Dares (David Levithan)
  •    David
  •  **Dealing With Dragons (Patricia C. Wrede)
  •    Delirium
  •   *Demon Trapper's Daughter, The
  •   *Divergent
  •    End of the Line, The
  •  **Every You, Every Me (David Levithan)
  •  **Everybody Sees The Ants (A.S. King)
  •   *Exposed
  •    Family
  •    Genetics For Dummies-- NF
  •  **Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, The (Catherynne M. Valente)
  • ***Going Bovine (Libba Bray)
  •  **Half Magic (Edward Eager)
  • ***Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling: Goddess)
  •    Hereafter
  •    History of Last Night's Dream, The-- NF
  •  **How They Met (David Levithan)
  •  **How To Be Alone-- NF (Jonathan Franzen)
  •    How To Rock Braces and Glasses
  •   *Huntress
  •    I Am J
  •  **I Am The Messenger (Markus Zusak)
  •   *I Was A Teenage Fairy
  •   *Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain - NF
  •  **Incredibly Alice (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)
  •    Jekel Loves Hyde (contains hot, dark, and handsome Englishman, if that's what you look for in a book)
  •  **Justice-- NF (Michael Sandel)
  •  **Last Little Blue Envelope, The (Maureen Johnson)
  • ***Little Brother (Cory Doctorow - link leads to free download. FREE DOWNLOAD.)
  •  **Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)
  •  **Lover's Dictionary, The (David Levithan)
  •    Lunch Box Dream
  •    Matched
  •   *Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Except for Millard. Millard gets 2 stars.)
  • ***My Unfair Godmother (Janette Rallison)
  •  **Name of the Star, The (Maureen Johnson)
  •  **Near Witch, The (Victoria Schwab)
  • ***Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
  •   *Nightspell
  • ***Paper Covers Rock (Jenny Hubbard)
  •    Possession
  •   *Post Secret
  •  **Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril
  •    Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
  •   *Rock and the River, The (really good book, but only gets 1 star based on how I've set it up)
  •  **Room: A Novel (Emma Donoghue- scary/disturbing as heck)
  •   *Rule of Four, The
  •    Scarlet Letter, The
  •   *Scorch Trials, The
  •    Secret of Rover, The
  •   *Shatter Me
  •  **Stardust (Neil Gaiman- personally, I liked the movie better)
  •   *Stork
  •   *Story Time
  •   *Their Eyes Were Watching God
  •   *Thief, The
  •  **To Timbuktu --narrative NF (Casey Scieszka) 
  • ***Tough Guide To Fantasyland, The (Diana Wynne Jones- really pisses me off there isn't a Kindle edition because I so want to have this with me at all times)
  •    Travelers, The: Spader
  •  **Variant (Robinson Wells)
  •    Water Wars, The
  • ***Welcome to Bordertown (edited by Holly Black)
  •  **Westing Game, The (Ellen Raskin)
  •   *What Happened to Goodbye
  •  **When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
  •  **Wide Awake (David Levithan)
  •   *Wildthorn
  •  **Witch Week (Diana Wynne Jones- this is close to 3)
  •    Witchlanders
  •   *Wither
  •   *World War Z (loads of people adore this book, but I didn't)
  •    XVI
  • ***Year of Living Biblically, The - narrative NF (A. J. Jacobs)


You all know about my massive crush on the younger version of Neil Gaiman, but he really is a brilliant writer.

A few words on Diana Wynne Jones: I never read any of her books until this year, but had I done so when I was younger, the nostalgia factor probably would have bumped all of her books in this list up to a 3. The Tough Guide holds the record for book that has made me laugh the most and hardest. I completely adore it.

Also starring (pun intended) in this list is David Levithan. Just go to his section of the library and pick a book at random, really. And then pick another one.

Cory Doctorow is a genius. Going Bovine is...a masterpiece of thought-provoking hilarity. Mad cow disease. String theory. Music and Disney World and punk rock angels. What more could you possibly ask for? It is a book truly deserving of the Printz award.

The first half of Bordertown consumed my mind for an entire day. And it's a 500 page book, so it gets 3 stars even when the second half is completely ignored.

Paper Covers Rock is beautiful. Gorgeous. To the point that I read it out loud to myself the first time through, as weird as that is.

My Unfair Godmother, which I just read this past week, is clever and amazing and so, so real. Despite involving magic and wishes and fairy godmothers. We laugh when certain people in my book club clutch certain books to their chests, but I fully intend to do that with this book at the meeting tomorrow.

And then there is The Year of Living Biblically, my favorite nonfiction book ever. A man sets out to find out what's so great about religion (in the form of Judaism and Christianity), and decides to do so by making a list of all of the rules the Bible mentions, and then following them. It's emotional, relatable, and fascinating. It's downright hilarious. It's changed how and what I think about religion, and about people. (Plus I learned a lot about Judaism.) Read this book ASAP. Really. Regardless of what religion or lack thereof you associate yourself with.

1 comment:

  1. Those all sound really interesting! I will have to put my bookstore gift card to good use.


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