2011 and 2012

Happy New Year!  After a rather prolonged absence during 2011, my goal for the upcoming year is getting back to writing more regularly. I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, but this is one I definitely hope to keep. (Not that writing “more regularly” is setting a very high standard, given my total neglect of this site in the last few months.)

But before we move on to 2012, I want to take a quick look back on my reading of 2011.  Though my writing was considerably lighter than the previous year, my reading didn’t fall off all that much.  Here are a few figures (keeping in mind that my definition of “read” includes audiobooks):

Books read: 60
Read for the first time: 44
Rereads: 16
Juvenile/Young Adult: 35
Nonfiction: 8
Newly published in 2011: 7

Considering 2010’s numbers, no huge shifts in my reading habits.  My juvenile/YA reading was up a bit, mainly on the juvenile side of things I think.  My nonfiction numbers were a bit higher (especially considering my overall reading was lower) as well.  But overall, my full list of read-in-2011 included my usual mix of classic and contemporary, novels and memoirs, and lit for kids and adults.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few notable discoveries for the year, both in terms of great books and great characters.  My travels this fall introduced me to two sets of very different characters, both of which I can see myself returning to again and again when wanting to slip into comfort and familiarity.

The first of these was the Penderwick family.  Written by Jeanne Birdsall, the Penderwick books follow four young sisters through various adventures.  They are absolutely charming and exactly the type of book meant to be shared with a whole family.  It only took me a few pages to become captivated by Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, and I worked my way through all three of the books on audio in no time at all.  Birdsall writes with warmth and humor, and though relatively recent (the third came out this year), the books convey a timelessness of childhood that convinces me they’re going to be appreciated for years to come.

The second discovery came through a reacquaintance of an author I’ve enjoyed before.  I first read – and loved – Agatha Christie at the age of 12, but her use of repeating characters (and my compulsion to read the books of repeating characters in the order they were written) has always made me pause before picking up her books.  But somehow I stumbled upon the first collection of stories that Miss Marple appears in, and I’ve been hooked since.  I’ve now made my way through two Miss Marple novels as well (yes, in order!), and brought the next two home from the library with me Friday.

I’m really bad at picking favorites from the past year – for one, because I feel like I read such a range of books, and for another, I’m usually enamored by whatever crossed my path most recently – but there were a few individual book standouts as well.  Bossypants by Tina Fey was absolutely hilarious.  I’m not sure what else to say about that, except that she reads it herself on the audio version, which only makes it that much more worthwhile.  Another standout (and falling into the category of recently enamored by) was The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  I first saw – and fell in love with – the movie Hugo before even being aware the book existed.  The movie had such a magical quality to it – and upon discovering the book, which fell into our hands in a Christmas exchange, I now understand where that magic came from.  Brian Selznick won the Caldecott in 2008 for his beautifully illustrated book, which is a novel told in both pictures and words.  If you haven’t read it and/or seen the movie yet, I would recommend doing both as soon as you can.

There were plenty of other great books that crossed my path this year that I’m a little sad I haven’t written about: Moon Over Manifest, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, High Fidelity, and The Prize-Winner of Defiance, Ohio, to name a few.  But I’m going to focus on looking forward to the books to come in 2012 instead.  Here are just a few I’m looking forward to tackling:

What are you looking forward to?

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~ by Molly on January 1, 2012.

One Response to “2011 and 2012”

  1. I have the same goal, Molly! I spent most of last year MIA and I really want to change that this year.

    Sounds like you had a great reading year. I just finished Wildwood this morning, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    Happy New Year!

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