Friday, December 30, 2011

Highlights and Favorites: 2011

2011 will be remembered as the year I began moving toward a reading and blogging regimen that fits the rest of my life.  The combination of no challenges/minimal commitments with great events/group reads reduced pressure and resulted in a very satisfying reading year. A few more adjustments are needed, but I'm definitely headed in the right direction.


The TBR Dare brought me back to Richard Yates.

Virago Reading Week warmed up a snowy January.

Persephone Reading Weekend  was spent book shopping in London!

Paris in July, and finally reading A Moveable Feast

The Art of the Novella Challenge - my August classics fix

A stormy Labor Day weekend spent indoors reading Wish You Were Here blazed a path for a new  Stewart O'Nan devotee.

The House of the Seven Gables group read - meeting new blogging friends proved more enjoyable than Hawthorne's novel

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Fiction Honorable Mention:
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman 
Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates


A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey
- the best literary biography I have ever read

Non-Fiction Honorable Mention:
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner

Audio Honorable Mention:
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Peony by Pearl S. Buck

"Bliss" by Katherine Mansfield
Although short stories haven't been featured over the past several months, "Bliss" was my clear favorite of 2011. 

Reflections, Resolutions, and Plans for 2012 coming soon...


  1. This is the second list I've seen Emily, Alone on. The fact that two of his books made your lists makes me very interested to try him!

    I have A Moveable Feast on my list of books to read next year. I'm glad to see you liked it!

  2. Yay, someone else who loved On Chesil Beach! It's such a good book.

    I'm glad that blogging and reading is fitting into your life well at the moment. I still have some adjustments to make but I'm looking forward to blogging in 2012.

  3. So jealous you got to read the Barnes book. I'm something like 127 on the hold list at the library!

  4. Lists give me ideas about my reading plans. Thanks for sharing yours.

  5. Great post! I haven't read anything on your list -- looks like I better get reading. Wishing you a fabulously bookish 2012!

  6. Another list with Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on it. Good choice! I thought that was a very good read. It's nice that you've molded the blogging life to suit you so well. Happy reading in 2012!

  7. The only book I've read on your list (physical books, not audios) is On Chesil Beach which I loved. I really need to get to O'Nan's and Barnes books...those two keep popping up on people's bests lists!

  8. Richard Yates... Yet to read but his name popped up so often in 2011, maybe 2012 is my year for him.

  9. I am going to try the no challenges this year and see if I can accomplish some stress-free reading!

  10. you have such great taste in books! :-) i can't wait to read the barnes. can't believe i haven't yet!

  11. I love the direction of your blog this year...I'm sure that 2012 will be even better for you. I'm steering my course for the less commitment less pressure too!! You've introduced me to some great authors that I would have been too intimidated to read, but with your thoughtful reviews I have decided to go for it!!

    Happy New Year, JoAnn!!

  12. I'm so enjoying all the year-end lists! The idea of challenges is so appealing, and there are so many great ones out there, which I could manage almost just from the TBR piles - but I'm afraid to sign up for too many all at once.

  13. Thanks so much for all the comments. I love these year end lists, too.... so many additions to my tbr list. Happy New Year!

  14. Group reads are a fabulous way to forge bloggy friendships! There's nothing like bonding over a bad book. ;-)

    Happy New Year!

  15. Softdrink - It took a long time to recover from Wuthering Heights;-)

  16. Richard Yates is one of those authors I really want to try, but haven't yet. I own quite a few of his books so have no excuse. I think I'll make it a resolution to read him in 2012. O'Nan is an author I want to try too. I don't own any of his books yet, but I'll work on that in 2012 ;-)

  17. Jackie - Reading Yates isn't exactly an uplifting experience. His characters are almost universally unhappy or troubled, but the writing is superb. Hope you get to sample his work (and O'Nan's) this year.

  18. So many books on this list that are on my wishlist now! Richard Yates was one of my favorites of 2011, & I'll be reading more of in 2012. I'm attempting to take my blogging/reading life in the same direction you've been moving...less challenges etc.

  19. Melody - Richard Yates is pretty amazing... glad you got to enjoy his work last year. I'll be reading at least one more of his novels this year, too.


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