Wrapping Up 2011!

Sheesh! It’s that time of the year already!! I feel like I just did my 2010 wrap up! Though if I look back at this past year, so much has happened. Of course, the immediate thing that comes to mind is my relationship with Matt. This is by far the happiest I have ever been in a relationship. I don’t talk about us all that much on this blog because it’s not a super personal blog, but I will tell you all that I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I see big changes and more happiness coming in that area in 2012 🙂 Definitely grew professionally this year as well with my private practice continuing to expand. There were the downers…like dad going back into the hospital a couple of times…but…well he does it to himself and I’m not going to harp on that. I read some AMAZING books though this year!!!! I’ve also read the least amount of books ever since blogging, but I’m ok with that.

This year was a bit of a blogging funk all around. I’ve felt really shitty about the way I blogged this year. I blog because I love this community so much. I treasure my friendships with each and every one of you so much. And I feel like I let a lot of that slip through the cracks which makes me incredibly sad 😦 I barely responded to my comments. I posted so erratically. And I hit the “Mark all as read” button more times than I care to admit. So I hope to change that in 2012 and get back to the blogger I used to be.

Anyways, lets start the stats with my favorite books of 2011! I always surprise myself with this…when I go back and look at what I read, some of those books that I SWORE would be a favorite don’t hold that same magic and some that I didn’t think were a big deal ended up being favorites. Always happens. So in no certain order and with no certain limit (I’m not good at doing say a “top ten” list :p), here are my favs of 2011:

1. Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block – This collects all of her amazing Weetzie Bat books and wow weren’t these all amazing! For some reason I avoided these books for so long, but I’m so glad that I finally read this collection. Full of love, acceptance, individuality and hope. Just gorgeous books.

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This one actually exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot right there. After the Chaos Walking trilogy, I wondered how he would ever follow it up. But he followed it up with something completely different and completely beautiful. A story of struggling with a truth that you don’t want to see. Beautiful characters, beautiful story and beautiful illustrations.

3. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson – This one goes instantly onto my list of favorite books ever. Just amazing! The WORDS! OMG the WORDS. Some of the most poetic prose I’ve ever read. And a tale that is full of magic and folklore that is completely engrossing. I literally got lost in this world.

4. Two Weeks With the Queen by Morris Gleitzman – I found a new favorite author in Gleitzman after reading this book. I knew right away that after reading this, I’d need to read everything else that he wrote. Such a sad story but such an uplifting story at the same time with a genuine respect for all walks of life.

5. Wicked by Gregory Maguire – This was another one that I just didn’t think I’d like for so long. I didn’t think I’d ever read this one. And then I met Matt and he told me it was his favorite book. And I can see why! This is another new favorite. I will forever HATE Dorothy after reading this book. Maguire gives us Elphaba, the green witch, and shows her as the revolutionary woman that she is. God I loved this book….

6. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – I actually listened to this on audiobook and I think it’s the best experience I’ve ever had with an audiobook. The narrator was amazing, but even more amazing was this captivating story of a surgeon going through Alzheimer’s from a first person point of view as she’s questioned as a suspect in a murder. Incredible book.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Good lord was this ever an amazing book!!!! I cannot WAIT for Erin Morgenstern to write more books. The circus itself was one of the most amazing characters ever. And it was complemented by the cast of magical humans and the tales of love that accompanied it. If you haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for?!

8. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – Another one that I ask myself why the HELL I waited so long to read! I expected a story of an intersex person…and that’s what I got, but the story was more than just Cal being intersex. It’s about this history of his family and those relationships and how they affected who he is and wow, it’s just an awe inspiring book!

9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Best Jack the Ripper tale that I’ve ever read. BOARDING SCHOOL…GHOSTS….MAUREEN JOHNSON! I think that the sequel to this one is currently one of my most anticipated books. It ended in a way that I cannot WAIT to read the next one!

10. Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen – I knew this one was going to be good ahead of time. You see…my dear friend Debi told me that it would be. And I trust her. BUT I didn’t know that it would TEAR ME APART. I’ve NEVER read a thriller that was like this before. McFadyen goes places that most authors just don’t go. I just can’t figure out why I haven’t read book two yet!

11. Kraken by China Mieville – So I’m only 100 pages into this one. And I haven’t even posted it to bad bloggers yet! Renay will be getting the point for this one. But DAMN this book is good and FILLED with WTF. I know know know that it will be a favorite of the year….that is IF I get it finished by the end of the year!!

And now for stats….my beloved stats:

Total Books Read for the Year: 70

Total Pages Read: 18,360

Comics/Graphic Novels: 15

Non-Fiction: 6 (this stat is kind of pathetic)

Short story collections/essays/anthologies: 5

Poetry: 2 (:/)

LGBT books: 16

By Women: 27 (Same as last year…exactly…this needs to improve)

By Men: 42 (Also the exact same as last year…how the hell did I pull THAT off??)

Chunksters (450+ pgs.): 7

Average number of pages per book: 262 pgs. (Which I have to say is about how I like my books :p)

Goals for next year: Read more women, more LGBT books, more nonfic, more poetry. Anyone have any good ideas for LGBT non fiction by women??? Sounds like those are the books I need :p Also, I would LOVE to finally read 100 books in the year, but I won’t make my happiness depend on that. I WILL be a better blogger, commenter, and reader. Hope everyone has an AMAZING 2012!!! Look forward to growing my friendships with you all 🙂


20 Responses

  1. Of your list, I LOVED Middlesex when I read it a few years ago, and for this year The Name of the Star was exceptional.

    Looks like a pretty good reading year.

  2. I’ve only read four of those on your list, but agree COMPLETELY with what you said about each one! I haven’t made a favorites of the year list–but A Monster Calls and Two Weeks with the Queen would definitely be on it if I did! And Dangerous Angels and Shadow Man would be on my favorites lists of whatever year I read them, too. 😛

    Hey, Rich is reading Kraken right now, too! And yes, it may be the most WTF-ing book he’s ever read. In a very good way, of course.

    As for Face of Death, the next McFayden book…wait till you’re in the right frame of mind for it. It is definitely every bit as intense and heart-wrenching as the first. There’s one scene in that book that continues to haunt me all the time…so powerful. And yep, it will have you sobbing just like Shadow Man did.

  3. Kraken is nuts! Insane! Madness! Awesome!

    I want to read Middlesex. Maybe over the holidays.

  4. The Night Circus will also be in my top books next week when I post them. The Name of the Star is a close runner up as well – so good!! My fav of Maureen Johnson’s so far!

    If You Follow Me is a great one for LGBT fiction by women. I’d have to think back harder for more because of course my go-to is Julie Anne Peters and you already know her. I didn’t track my LGBT books this year (actually, I didn’t track a lot of stats, because they were stressing me out) but I know I didn’t read as much as last year, since last year about 30% of my books were LGBT. I sort of ran out of books after that, haha.

    I’m glad 2011 was such a happy year for you Chris, even if you haven’t been blogging.

  5. GREAT list, Chris!!! I see lots of goodies I loved (Night Circus!!!) and several I want to read (A Monster Calls!). I’m glad it’s been a good year for you personally, too. While you’ve been blogging less, I know all your followers just want you to be happy. 🙂

  6. You always have such awesome book lists- I haven’t read any of these! My blogging year has been kinda lame, too- I have failed to keep up with google reader, commenting, or writing decent posts. I’m hoping to do better next year!

  7. I put Name of the Star on my wish list when you reviewed it but still haven’t gotten it..one day I will though!
    Gads I can’t believe you are doing a wrap up already! where has the year gone?

    hope you are feeling better !
    love Mama

  8. A Monster Calls and The Night Circus are definitely on my list! (Name of the Star stands a good chance, but I’ve not thought about the rest of the list yet.

    Looks to have been a pretty decent reading year for you, here’s to an even better 2012!

  9. OOo GOOD. I’m excited about Kraken. Happy 2011 – what’s left of it, and a super dooper 2012! 🙂

  10. Dude, 70 books ain’t shabby at all. I’m so happy that you are in luurrve! :)) It’s been great seeing you grow into the relationship. Here’s hoping to an even more exciting and enriching 2012. xoxo

  11. Who cares about the blogging (although I do love reading your posts) when you’re happy! THAT is what’s important!! Happy holidays, Chris!



  14. So glad you loved The Fox Woman and Middlesex. And that you are loving Kraken. Happy Holidays, Chris!

  15. Ok, I’ve just starred my want list for Name of the Star! I MUST read this book asap. How did it ever escape my radar??? and why haven’t I read Kraken, or The Fox Woman, yet???? I own Kraken…..What a wonderful set of books you have for your best of 2011, Chris! It sounds like it has been quite a year for you, too. Mostly good in then end, despite the slowing of blogging 🙂 Here’s to a happy 2012 for you!!

  16. I need to find time to read Kraken… I have it and I really enjoyed other books I read by him.

    And, hm, I am spending gift cards and now I want some of the books on your best of lists because I know my library doesn’t have them… So many options!

  17. Yay for happiness! 🙂 Here’s looking ahead to 2012!

    You’re not alone in the bad commenting. This has been my worst year ever for blogging, blog reading, and commenting. Work has been crazier than ever though, so I’m cutting myself some slack.

    I read Francesca Lia Block back in college, but really should revisit her books. I’ve also wanted to read Patrick Ness, so these are both a good reminder. Oh, and can I admit that I’ve owned Middlesex since it came out and still haven’t made time for it? *shakes head* I’m just glad they are all getting your thumbs up, so I know I have great books to look forward to in 2012! 🙂

    Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

  18. Name of the Star sounds great. You had me at boarding school and ghosts! Did you know there is a new Weetzie Bat book coming out? I guess it’s a sort of prequel. It’s called Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie Bat. I may need to reread the other books for fun first. I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  19. After seeing A Monster Calls EVERYWHERE I think I finally need to read it. Though after reading Andi’s post on how motherhood changes everything and learning vaguely what the book is about I’m a bit scared.

    So thrilled you loved Wicked! And I just got The Night Circus for Christmas so hope to read it soon. Happy new year Chris.

  20. Wonderful to read about your happiness and I hope it grows in 2012.

    Debi has already told me that I “have” to read A Monster Calls and I’m seeing it pop up all over people’s end of year lists, so I’m certainly up for it.

    Don’t beat yourself up and the blogging. You are keeping your hand in by posting still and we all go through those times when we just naturally disconnect because, lets face it, life is busy and complicated and full.

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