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Best of the Year

Here are the five best books I read last year, alphabetical by author's last name, with first lines. I have completely cheated on this this year and included two series to count as one book each. I've only put the first line of the first book for the series. (This is actually a double cheat since the first book in one of those series was one of my best books of 2009, and a triple cheat since both series include books I've read before.)

  • The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore.
    For months, I relived the pas de deux in my dreams, in that multisensory Technicolor of a memory I'd much rather forget.
  • The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
    When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.
  • Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.
    When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose."
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.
    A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere.
  • The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner.
    I didn't know how long I had been in the king's prison.
All of the Year

A decade ago, I decided that I would keep a list of all the books I read. It would be, I thought, interesting to see how much, and what, I actually read. So when I read a book, I wrote it down in my notebook. I liked the whole project so much that I've been doing it again each year.

What's here:
  • Books I read in 2011.

  • Authors of the books.

  • Dates I read the books.

  • Short notes about each book, including links to my reviews if I did one. Note: reviews all contain spoilers.

  • Approximately how many times I've read the book.
What's not here:
  • Magazine and newspaper articles.

  • Web-published fiction I read.

  • Short stories and individual chapters I read to remind myself of what the book was about.
This year, I read 46 books. For those of you playing along at home, that's 15 more than last year. 38 of those, or 83%, are books I read for the first time. 27, or 80%, were Young Adult or children's books. 3 were written by a PoC author; 44 were written by a female author or coauthor. Of the 44 books for which I counted protagonists, 5 or 8 (depending on how you count Katniss Everdeen) had a PoC protagonist; 37 had a female protagonist.

January 1 Of Time and of Seasons by Norma Johnston. This is one of those books that probably isn't that great, but I loved it when I was a teenager. I was pleased to see I still loved it now. Fourth or fifth reading.

January 2 A Striving After Wind by Norma Johnston. Sequel to Of Time and of Seasons. Fourth or fifth reading.

January 3-12 The Killing Room by Gerri Hill. Terrible, terrible book, although the sex scenes are hot. My review is here. First reading.

January 16-20 The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Fantastic book. My review is here. First reading.

January 24-28 A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. First book in a highly entertaining YA trilogy. First reading.

January 29 Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. Sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty. The writing gets better at this point. First reading.

Dates Unknown The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. Sequel to Rebel Angels. First reading.

Dates Unknown Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore. This was okay, but I learned from it that Rosemary Clement-Moore is probably one of those authors who writes the same thing over and over again, and this wasn't as good as The Splendor Falls. First reading.

Dates Unknown Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott and Lisa Fyfe. I remember reading this quickly, but I had to look it up at Amazon to find out what it was about. First reading.

Dates Unknown How Not To Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler. This was a fast read. I don't recommend it, though, because of the way the main character hurts others (often through not realizing she's being hurtful rather than maliciousness). First reading.

February 27-28 Matched by Allie Condie. This was a fantastic dystopian novel. It is the first in a trilogy, but I was surprised by how dark the ending was. First reading.

April 4 The Snow Queen by Eileen Kernaghan. I love fairy tale retellings. This one was fairly good, but (a) for some reason I kept thinking it was a retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," and (b) I really wanted it to be a lesbian story. First reading.

April 21 A Woman Worth Ten Coppers by Morgan Howell. First book in a trilogy. This one was actually pretty good, but the others were bad to terrible, so don't start. My review of the trilogy is here. First reading.

April 21-23 The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie. This was fun. It is very much a Jennifer Crusie book, and very clearly an early one. First reading.

April 21-25 The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. This was interesting and may eventually be useful for writing research, but it wasn't really what I wanted. My review is here. First reading.

April 25 Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. I don't really remember any details about this, but I did like it enough to want to read the next book in the series. First reading.

April 25-December 31 Nobody's Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker by Anthony Lane. As much as I love Anthony Lane's writing, a whole book of it is a lot to take at once. My review is here. First reading.

May 19 Candle in the Storm by Morgan Howell. Second book in a trilogy. This is where things started to fall apart. My review of the trilogy is here. First reading.

May 19-24 Exile by Anne Osterlund. This is a sequel to Aurelia, which I read last year. I loved them. They're kind of like a fairy tale/fantasy novel without the magic element. First reading.

May 30-June 2 Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. This was a fantastic book. Melina Marchetta is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. First reading.

June 12-18 The Iron Palace by Morgan Howell. Third book in a trilogy. This one is just terrible in many, many ways. My review of the trilogy is here. First reading.

June 19-24 Huntress by Melinda Lo. I loved this book. My review is here. First reading.

June 25-26 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. First book in a trilogy. These books are as amazing as everyone says they are. Second reading.

June 27-28 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Second book in a trilogy. First reading.

July 1 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Third book in a trilogy. First reading.

July 1-3 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This is a fantastic YA series. I reread the first three books so they would be fresh in my mind when I read the fourth. Second reading.

July 4-6 The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Second book in the series. Second reading.

July 7-8 The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Third book in the series. Second reading.

July 9-12 A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner. Fourth book in the series. First reading.

July 13-20 Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins. I couldn't stop reading this, even though I thought it had some flaws. My review is here. First reading.

July 21- Heist Society by Ally Carter. I couldn't get into this at all. I think the only reason I made it even as far as I did was that I started reading it when I was away from home with nothing else to do while my parents browsed a camera store. First reading (unfinished).

August 3-5 Trust Me On This by Jennifer Crusie. This was okay, but not one of Crusie's best. First reading.

August 10-September 18 River Marked by Patricia Briggs. It took me about ninety pages and two tries to get into this, but then I read the rest of the book in no time. First reading.

August 29-September 4 Just Kids by Patti Smith. Fantastic book. My review is here. First reading.

September 18-21 Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. I discovered flipping through my book list notebook that I have actually read this before. It is still fantastically written. My review is here. Second reading.

September 21-23 The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard. This was not horrible, but it was very flat. First reading.

September 26-October 6 Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I read very few books written by men or with male protagonists, but I'm glad I gave this one a try. It is excellent. First reading.

October 7-12 Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. This was a good book, but it was not quite what I expected from Jennifer Crusie. It doesn't quite follow the romance novel formula you expect. First reading.

October 20 Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie. Jennifer Crusie writes a paranormal novel. I quite enjoyed it, although I was surprised that it was actually paranormal and not something with a mundane explanation. First reading.

October 23 The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff. I adore this series, and this book was also very good. First reading.

October 23-November 4 Sable, Shadow, and Ice by Cheryl J. Franklin. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I'm not sure it's actually that great as a book, but I still loved it this time around. Fifth or sixth reading.

November 15-18 A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King. Mystery novel with a lesbian protagonist. Very good for the first half of the book, and overall good enough to make me read the next book in the series. My review is here. First reading.

November 20 Chalice by Robin McKinley. This is rapidly gaining on my two other favorite Robin McKinley novels. Third reading.

November 21-23 Amplified by Tara Kelly. This is a mediocre YA novel. I found it compelling enough to stand in the library reading bits of it, but in the end, it's not a very good book. First reading.

December 2 To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King. This is the second in the Kate Martinelli series. This one is very well written, but it's not very good as a mystery. My review is here. First reading.

December 5-9 The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. This is a terrible book that could possibly have been better. My review is here. First reading.

December 20-22 Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. Marisa de los Santos is a fantastic writer, and I loved this. My review is here. First reading.
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rsadelle: (Default)
Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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