Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Reads of 2011 and Year-end Wrap-up

This has been a wonderful reading year. I have discovered new genres, new fave authors and learned a lot through some of the many non-fiction books I have read. It's also been a great blogging year and I have grown both as a blogger and a reader. I loved connecting with blogger friends and my readers!

This year I read a total of 112 books (16 children's, 30 middle-grade, 12 YA, and 54 adult books, of which 18 were non-fiction). You can view my complete list here: Books read in 2011

These are the books that have made it on my list of best reads for 2011. Three are YA which reflects my growing interest in this genre, and so I plan to read more YA in 2012.
Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey From the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope by Randye Kaye
Fostergirls by Liane Shaw
The Frankincense Trail by Jody Kihara
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Secret Daughter by Shilipi Somaya Gowda 
To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
The Giver by Lois Lowry

I also wanted to highlight books that I've read that have what I call an "unforgettable factor". There was definitely something that stayed with me for one reason or another long after I read these books.
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner 
Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle
The Speed of Light by Lee Baker
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

And these are my favorite reads in middle-grade fiction. I spent many happy hours reading these books with my daughter.
Tomorrow Girls #1: Behind the Gates by Eva Gray
The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone
13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson
- Love is a Four-Letter Word by Vikki VanSickle (review will be posted on Dec 31st)
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

In 2011, I also participated in 11 challenges and completed 8 of them. They were a lot of fun! Here is a recap:
  1. TwentyEleven Challenge (Completed!)
  2. Historical Fiction Challenge (Completed!)
  3. YA Reading Challenge (Completed!)
  4. Support Your Local Library Challenge (75% done)
  5. Steampunk Challenge (Completed!)
  6. Middle Grade Reading Challenge (Completed!)
  7. Dystopian Challenge (Completed!)
  8. The Dewey Decimal Challenge (Completed!)
  9. Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge (20% done)
  10. Italy in Books Reading Challenge (75% done)
  11. Reading Challenge Addict (Completed!)
I plan to continue participating in challenges in 2012 to expand my reading horizons. I am also hosting three of those challenges:
Time Travel Reading Challenge
Short Story Reading Challenge
I Love Italy Reading Challenge
I hope some of you will decide to join me in these challenges!

But enough about me, here are my review partner Sandra's best picks for 2011:

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock
Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey by Alison Wearing
The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley

Finally, I want to thank all my readers and blogger friends who have supported Sandra and me with your heartfelt comments. A big thank you to all the authors, publicists, book tour organizers and publishers who trust us with their books and allow us wonderful hours of reading!

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