Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year In Books

If you missed my earlier post, you can find out more about 2011: A Year in Books by clicking here.

A Year in Books

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern

I'll admit this was a somewhat difficult decision; I've read a lot of good books this year. But The Night Circus definitely stood out as the best. It created a world that was unique and beautifully described, and I was in love with the story and the characters. It was amazingly written, and as soon as I started reading it I couldn't put it down. By the time I finished, I knew it was going to make it onto my list of all-time favorite books. It was so breathtaking and engaging that I can't even describe it - you'll have to read it to find out. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. 

To Kill A Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

This one was a lot easier to decide. I've loved this book since the first time I read it, and when we read it again for English class, I only discovered more to love. There are so many characters, stories, and events, and they're all well-written and tie into the main theme. Plus, there are just so many different nuances and comparisons & contrasts - I discover more about this book every time I reread it, and as I've said before, I could easily spend the rest of my life analyzing this book and be perfectly happy. 

What I've Read:
(Other notable books in the same genre, to show what the winning book was compared to.)
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
1984 by George Orwell
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemmingway
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
Our Town by Thorton Wilder

Edited by Sharyn November

This year, I've come to appreciate short stories a lot more than I had before, and so I've been reading more collections of them. I haven't been disappointed by anything I've read so far, but Firebirds was especially awesome. Each of the short stories were unique and I loved every one of them. (Though my personal favorite was Little Dot.) I can't wait to read Firebirds Rising and Firebirds Soaring.

What I've Read
Young Warriors, edited by Tamora Pierce
The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford

You Have to Stop This 
By Pseudonymous Bosch

I'll admit that there wasn't a lot of competition in this area; I haven't read a lot of comedy/humor besides A Series of Unfortunate Events (which is an interesting blend of comic and tragic.) Still, I can't imagine that there's much out there that I would enjoy more than Pseudonymous Bosch's Secret Series. The humor is so similar to my own I almost could have written the books myself, and over the previous four books, I've come to adore the characters. This book was just as hilarious as the others, and I couldn't imagine a more fitting end to the series.

What I've Read
The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket
The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
The End by Lemony Snicket
(I'm sensing a theme here, are you?)

Life As We Knew It
By Susan Beth Pfeffer

This book wasn't a typical "dystopian" novel like Divergent or The Hunger Games, but it still fits the definition, and the fact that it was unique was one of the things I liked about it. Although I enjoyed the whole series, I thought this one was definitely the best, and what made it so incredible was that it was so terrifyingly real. I felt as if I was right there with the characters, more than in any other book I've read. Simply outstanding.

What I've Read
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

13 Curses
By Michelle Harrison

I read 13 Treasures, the first book in the series, last summer, and adored it. Although I couldn't put it down, I was also sad when it ended, because it was so amazing that I just wanted to keep reading. I hadn't realized there was a sequel until I stumbled upon it in Barnes & Noble while school shopping. I bought it immediately, and it was a lot of work to keep from reading it until school started. I loved it just as much as the first book, and 13 Secrets - the third book - can't arrive fast enough. 

What I've Read
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin
Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Though it might come as a surprise, fantasy's not my only favorite genre. I love historical fiction, and I really need to read more of it. This year, I found several historical fiction books that I enjoyed, but the best, by far, was Chains. When I checked it out of the library, both librarians told me it was fantastic, and they were absolutely right. I loved it, and the sequel, Forge, and once again, I'm left eagerly waiting until the next book comes out. 

What I've Read
Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge
Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

By Kate Cann

I loved the characters in this book. That's one of the main reasons I liked it so much. Then there's the fact that it was just perfectly chilling - unsettling enough to be effective, not so scary that it was difficult to read. I loved the setting, too, and the overall concept of the book. Just - amazing. 

What I've Read
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Other Notable Books:
Of course, these aren't the only books worth mentioning that I've read this year. There have been a lot of other amazing books that I've read this year. One that's probably even better than some of the books above but didn't fit into any of the genres is Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor - definitely one of the most unique fantasy books I've ever read, which is why it was impossible to categorize. Another one was The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall. Just as awesome as her previous books - I love the Penderwick sisters. Then there's What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - I could keep going, but I'll just finish by saying that 2011 was a wonderful year for reading, and I hope that 2012 is just as great. 

Looking forward to a bunch of new books in 2012,


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