Despite my best efforts to find something enticing enough to read in the last couple of days of 2011, I fell one book short of my goal and ended with 49 books for the year. I am pretty proud of getting that close to the goal I set for myself...and even more importantly, I enjoyed every minute of it.
In no particular order, here are my favorite books from the past year (or so...a couple might have been from late 2010):
- A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness It has vampires, but the grown-up, non-sparkly kind. With plenty of history and strong, capable female characters, this one was definitely near the top of my list for the year.
- Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris This one may be cheating a little, because I don't know if this is my favorite of the Sookie Stackhouse series or not. It is the first one though, and since the series consumed the bulk of my summer reading, I feel it's only right to count it somewhere. Are these books great literary treasures? No, but they are some of the most entertaining books I have read in years. I only wish there were more books already out so I would never have to stop reading them.
- The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen This was my first Sarah Dessen book, and I think I started with the best. I loved every word of this book, and reading it really kicked off a YA trend for me this year.
- What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen Dessen's latest is nearly as good as The Truth About Forver. She definitely has a personal style and pattern to her books, and she works it well. I love that minor characters often recur in other books; it's fun to see who will turn up next.
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins I think this one may have been read in late 2010, but it is fresh on my mind due to all the talk surrounding the upcoming movie. When I first started hearing talk about this book, I was not at all sure I would like it. In fact, I waited until I could get it from my library because I didn't want to spend money on it. As a stand-alone, the first book may not have made my list, but the trilogy has definitely stayed with me. (Yes, I am among the many looking forward to the movie, and I may very well reread the books before I see it.)
- The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield Again, pretty sure this one was late 2010, but oh my, it is one my favorites. It is just a story, plain and simple, and once you get to the end, you want to start all over and pick up on all the clues that you missed.
- Next to Love, by Ellen Feldman This was the last book I read in 2011, and I never expected it to be one of my favorites. Beautifully written. Full review here.
- The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly I love a good action-packed suspense novel sometimes, and this one absolutely delivered. It's a lot like the style of John Grisham, but with a much faster pace and less depressing introspection.
- The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han Why don't we just call this the year of the YA trilogies? I gobbled this series up in less than a week. I wanted to strangle some of the characters at times, but let's be honest, when does that not happen?
- Pack Up the Moon, by Anna McPartlin I might not have remembered this one if I hadn't looked back at my Goodreads list for the year, but I really enjoyed it. It was both funny and very emotional, without venturing into the melodramatic, which was a good combination for me.