I stumbled across a fun idea today of doing a year in review for books. I’m stealing the questions from The Story Siren. The sixteen-year-old host of that site stole them from The Perpetual Page Turner. Just goes to show the best ideas are stolen!
1. Best book you read in 2011?
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
It’s a beautiful book, well-deserving of the Newbury Medal. I loved the folklore elements, the intriguing characters, and the uplifting messages. If you haven’t discovered Grace Lin, start with this book and then borrow the rest of her fiction for young people. She’s that good!
2. Worst book you read in 2011?
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I feel ashamed to hold an English degree. It’s such an important book in literary history that I feel I should like it, but I don’t.
3. Most surprising book you read in 2011?
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
If not for Kate McMurry, I probably would have missed this delightful book. Romance is rarely high on my list of books to read. Yet I loved this chick-lit entry!
4. Most disappointing book you read in 2011?
Flawed Dogs The Novel by Berkeley Breathed
I loved Flawed Dogs the Picture Book! As soon as the novel came out, I added it to my wish list. The moment it came into our school library, I received special permission to borrow it. I desperately wanted to love this book, but it was overwritten, the characters were not sympathetic, and so much more was wrong with it.
5. Best series you read in 2011?
The Year of…. books by Grace Lin
One of my resolutions for this year had been to read fiction from other ethnic groups. Before the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, Grace Lin had been an unknown to me. When I read that she drew upon her Asian background to write her fiction, I immediately decided to attend. I’ve never regretted the decision!
6. Best book that was outside of your comfort zone?
Because of GoodReads, I discovered One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Pretty much everything I’ve read of Rita Williams-Garcia pushed me outside of my comfort zone. For that reason, I credit her with my resolution to broaden my reading experience.
7. Book you can’t believe you waited to read until 2011?
A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
How can I have lived almost fifteen years in the Midwest and so blatantly ignored its most famous literature? Aldrich writes with love about small towns and conservative values. Now I’m slowly building up a collection of her works.
8. Book that didn’t get enough press?
Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz by Laura Toffler-Corrie
Actually, I have to admit that I don’t really know what books didn’t receive a lot of press. However, this book never showed up on lists in my reading groups, on bestseller lists, and probably wouldn’t have been on my radar if not for a lovely thing called Giveaways.
9. Best book that you reread this year?
Meet the Austins by Madeleine L’Engle
After reading lots of current books, I found myself looking sadly at old favorites sitting forsaken on my bookshelves. Finally, I decided to start including a few of them in my selections. To celebrate the new year, I’ll post a round-up of L’Engle’ s books.
10. Book you wish you had read this year?
Squashed by Joan Bauer
I first became acquainted with Joan Bauer’s books when she spoke at the Plum Creek Literacy Festival. Squashed is her first and sounds intriguing: “I wrote this story after a serious car accident. The laughter in Squashed, I assure you, helped me heal. The metaphor about growing a big dream is with me always.”
Whenever my husband and I visit a restaurant, I always struggle to choose my meal. I can quickly narrow my options to two or three, but then I get stuck. This is how I feel about books. If you asked me in a week for my answers to these above questions, I’d quite likely pick different ones.
Now how about you? What were your best and worst book finds of the year?