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1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres. Far and away the best read of 2011. I did also enjoy The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja. Some great classics found their way in, too: The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway and 1984 by George Orwell. All of these books got perfect ratings from me.
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon. I so, so wanted to love this book. When I first found out about it, I was stoked! A story about Alexander the Great’s boyhood, and his mentor Aristotle? AMAZING. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t very good.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. I’ve had the book on my shelf for years – sort of afraid to pick it up. I loved my one other experience with Doctorow (Homer & Langley) but, for some reason, I had a fear of hating this one, or being bored by it. Fortunately, it was brilliant and I loved it. Great way to end 2011! I’ll be reading Billy Bathgate sometime in 2012, since I’ve owned that one for quite some time too.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres.
5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Well, I’m not sure I would say I “discovered” this series in 2011, since I’ve known about it since I was a boy – I used to watch the movies and t.v. show, I dressed up as the main character for Halloween, etc. But, the best series I dove-into reading-wise for the first time in 2011 was definitely the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read the first two novels (A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four) and cannot wait to read more in 2012!
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Andrew Smith (author of one of my favorite books of 2011, Stick).
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Hmm.. there’s not much that I would consider out of my comfort zone. I did, however, read some “Classic Erotica” this year. I discovered a book called Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal which was technically written anonymously, but scholars have deduced that the likely author was Oscar Wilde. Now, being a vehement originalist (one who searches for unexpurgated and unabridged original texts) and a lover of Wilde, I had to get my hands on a copy. I did. I had to read it. I did. And, I loved it! I don’t read erotica, but I’ll never refuse to read Oscar Wilde.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Either The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens or The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
Probably The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. And The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper. They didn’t disappoint!
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Oh, boy. Let’s see. There are Tristan and Istvan from Under the Poppy. The narrator from The Marbled Swarm. Humbert Humbert from Lolita. So many good ‘uns!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov were probably the best written books I read in 2011. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone as well.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres (Am I sounding like a broken record yet??)
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
1984 by George Orwell – so freaking good!!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At such time, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing, to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate.” – Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
I will definitely be re-reading Stick by Andrew Smith.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The opening scene from Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja is INSANE. I loved it and it definitely set the tone for the rest of the novel, but it was a “SAY WHAT?!” moment, for sure.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?
Hmmm… that’s tough. I really think all my 2011 favorites are old favorites from 2010. The blogs I visit most often are:
A Literary Odyssey, A Room of One’s Own, Dead White Guys, and The Blue Bookcase.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?
I suppose I was pretty proud of my reviews for 1984 and Oliver Twist.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Darkness and Light in Young Adult Books
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I think the number of posts that came up about the “darker” elements of YA were interesting to read, as were the many posts on censorship and banned books. Nothing I can (or want to) point to specifically right now, though.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Book Blogger Appreciation Week, ArmchairBEA, Indie Lit Awards, Literary Blog Hops, Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thons, Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.) and Blog Bash.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
When Roof Beam Reader was nominated for -and made it to the final round of voting in- a BBAW award (Best Literary Fiction Blog). That was an incredible honor and a great moment for me and the blog.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most viewed post is my review of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (interesting, because it has hardly any comments). My most commented-on post is the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge Sign-Ups! A good sign for reading in 2012, I hope!
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Hm.. maybe my review for Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Out of Print Tees. Oh, yeah!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed my own 2011 TBR Pile Challenge (barely) but I failed miserably at all the other challenges I signed-up for. In 2012, I’ve limited myself to three challenges, and I really think I can manage them!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
Gone With the Wind – I’m reading it right now!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?
Passenger by Andrew Smith (the sequel to The Marbury Lens)
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
I hope to stay active in the community in general – participating in various events and such. I would like to meet some more book bloggers (new ones, or ones I just haven’t developed a relationship with yet) and keep in contact with some of my favorite book-blogging pals. I’d love to attend some in-person events, too, such as BEA. We’ll see.
Gone With The Wind is amaaaaazing, I hope you enjoy!
Under the Poppy intrigues me.
Where in the world did you find that Oscar Wilde book? Is it available online somewhere?
Under the Poppy was definitely an interesting experience… I read it in January 2011 and am obviously still thinking about it!
Yeah, I was reading about Oscar Wilde and stumbled across the title and synopsis of the book which, at the time, people said could possibly have been written by Wilde. Now, the book is still published under “Anonymous” but the general consensus seems to be that it was written by Wilde (and, although I’m not exactly an expert, I have read quite a bit by Wilde and I agree that this one seems like him). I bought my copy online – a Wordsworth Classics edition.
I loved “Ragtime” too. I read it years ago, but I can still feel and see that house in upstate New York. And I really loved the way Doctorow incorporated historical figures into the book.
Adding “We the Animals” and “Under the Poppy” to my TBR list.
Good luck with your reading this year.
I think you had a fabulous reading year! I am still bummed that I failed so miserably at your TBR Challenge in 11, but I have a feeling that this year I am going to rock it. 🙂 I’m reorganizing how I do reading this year, so it won’t be July with only one book read off of the list. 😉
I look forward to seeing everything you reading in 2011 and getting to know you even better! You have a wonderful blog and it is definitely one of my favorites. I just need to comment more (I really stink at commenting).
Happy New Year!
wow, I had such a hard time with The Night Circus. here are my favorites: http://wordsandpeace.com/2011/12/30/year-of-reading-2011/
I do hope to see you at BEA! It sounds like you had a great 2011 and I hope you have an even better 2012!
I’m glad to hear such great things about the Night Circus. I checked it out from the library last week and it’s patiently waiting for me to pick it up. Unfortunately I have a few other books due first so I haven’t been able to get to it yet. I can’t wait!
I discovered Oscar Wilde this year, and he is one amazing writer. I can’t wait to read more of his works. I don’t know if I could read erotica, but I’m glad it worked for you.
OK. I just finished Lullaby… I have loved pretty much all of Palahniuk’s book’s that I’ve read, but this one may be my new favorite. He really gives you a lot more to think about in this one.
Thank you so much for linking me, Adam. I’m honored. 🙂 Also, I cannot wait for you to finish Gone With the Wind. And you have me really interested in Sherlock Holmes, as well as Irving Stone.
I have yet to write on it, but I’m so glad you mentioned Walden that day last August, on Twitter. I ended up really, really loving it. I didn’t have time to read much by Emerson (I read three essays), but I’ll be retunring to him later this year. 🙂
Yes! I’m glad you enjoyed it… I love it (I even got an Out of Print Tee for it) but it sounds like most others who read it on my recommendation for Transc. Month didn’t enjoy it as much. =/
I’ve been meaning to read Holmes since I saw the BBC miniseries adaptation staring Benedict Cumberbatch (*amazing*). I should have added A STUDY IN SCARLET to my 2012 Reading Challenge list! Oh well, it doesn’t mean I can’t read it 🙂 Good luck on completing your 2012 goals.
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I need to read Stick by Andrew Smith. I love Oscar Wilde. And Out of Print tees is a new fave of mine too. I got The Outsiders t-shirt for Christmas…wore it today actually. 🙂
New reader here, loving this post because it gives me a snapshot of your reading. 🙂
I read some of the Sherlock Holmes stuff for the first time this year. The short stories were kind of “meh,” but I loved The Hound of the Baskervilles — much scarier than I thought it would be.
If you liked the stories, I think you should check out “Sherlock,” the BBC series. The first few episodes are on Netflix, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are amazing. It’s a modern retelling of the stories, but they’re fantastic!
Looking forward to more reviews. Happy Monday!