Book rundown, 2011

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It’s here! It’s here at last! It is the 6th annual review of books, here at The Lesbrarian! I have been waiting for this post all year! Haven’t you? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! On January first at midnight, when other people are drinking champagne and throwing confetti and frolicking, I am laboring to make sure that you have access to the minute details of my personal reading history. You just don’t get service like that from people these days, nosiree.

2011 was a bittersweet book year. For the first three quarters I was reading like a demon. By the end of August it looked as though I would surpass all the previous records (130 books in 2006; 141 books in 2007; 83 books in 2008; 101 books in 2009; and 112 books in 2010). Only then I quit my job and moved to another state, which is the sort of thing that consumes all of one’s free time. And then once I got settled, I found out what it’s like to be a regular person– not a librarian, just a normal civilian. Normal people, I discovered to my regret and horror, normal people go to workplaces where they are not surrounded by books.

So, although I am content with this year’s respectable grand total of 128 books, I am just a little bit melancholy knowing that it could have been a lot higher.

(I always get sentimental at the new year. Don’t you?)

Total books read, cover-to-cover: 128

Age levels:

  • Adult: 115
  • YA: 13
  • Children’s: 0. Whoops. I did mean to read that one about the bear and the hat. I’ll put that on the list for 2012.

Books read that were published in 2011: about 40.

Nonfiction: 23

Fiction: 105

Genres: (as some books have more than one genre, total exceeds 128)


  • Art: 1
  • Business: 1
  • History: 2
  • Humor: 4
  • Language: 1
  • Political Science: 2
  • Science: 11
  • Social Science: 7
  • Women’s Nonfiction, which is a genre, dammit: 1


  • Canonical/Classic: 1
  • Crime: 14
  • Fantasy: 37
  • Historical Fiction: 4
  • Horror: 14
  • Humor: 5
  • Literary Fiction: 6
  • Mainstream/Popular: 11
  • Mystery: 7
  • Romance: 2 (one of which I enjoyed, to my great surprise; that would be One Day, by David Nicholls)
  • Science Fiction: 7
  • Superhero: 2
  • Suspense/thriller:11
  • Western: 1 (True Grit, which was good fun, and if I were the sort of person who watched movies I would see both versions)


  • Audiobooks: New! This is the first year I’ve listened to audiobooks. I’d still much, much rather read a book on a page, but that’s very difficult to do while hiking, and I’ve learned that I can tolerate them pretty well if they are nonfiction. I listened to two books, The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan, and America’s Women, by Gail Collins. And actually I listened to a third after I’d read it in print. Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of Go the F*ck to Sleep is uproarious.
  • Comics: 2 collections, both hysterical; Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, by Matthew Inman, whom I intend to marry, and Dawn of the Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley
  • Graphic Novels: 32, of which 3 were nonfiction
  • Novellas: 2
  • Photo Collection: 1
  • Picture Book: 2, both of which were adult spoofs: Go the F*ck to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, and Pat the Zombie, by Aaron Ximm
  • Short Story Collections: 3


  • Annual fat Russian novel: The Conquered City, by Victor Serge, which is the most incomprehensible Russian book I’ve ever read. Which is saying something.
  • Re-reads: 13, including the entire 100 Bullets series
  • Annual grammar book: How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, by Stanley Fish

Authors: 86

New (to me) authors: 66

Best book of the year: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, both by Patrick Rothfuss. Storytelling does not get better than this.

Honorable mentions:

  • Elmer, by Gerry Alanguilan
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Beasts of Burden, by Evan Dorkin
  • In the Woods, by Tana French
  • The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
  • Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, by Hal Herzog
  • Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series
  • Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, by Matthew Inman
  • The Postmortal, by Drew Magary
  • Eaarth, by Bill McKibben
  • One Day, by David Nicholls
  • The Hammer, by K. J. Parker
  • The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
  • Snuff, by Terry Pratchett
  • The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle, by Patrick Rothfuss
  • REAMDE, by Neal Stephenson
  • Griftopia, by Matt Taibbi
  • Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan


A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, had weak prose and terrible dialogue and some pretty noticeable plot holes.

For your obsessive pleasure: Every single book I read! Sorted by author!

Ajvide Lindqvist, John Handling the Undead
Alanguilan, Gerry Elmer
Alexie, Sherman The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Allen, Sarah Addison The Peach Keeper
Atkinson, Kate Started Early, Took My Dog
Azzarello, Brian First Shot, Last Call
Azzarello, Brian Split Second Chance
Azzarello, Brian Hang up on the Hang Low
Azzarello, Brian A Foregone Tomorrow
Azzarello, Brian The Counterfifth Detective
Azzarello, Brian Six Feet Under the Gun
Azzarello, Brian Samurai
Azzarello, Brian The Hard Way
Azzarello, Brian Strychnine Lives
Azzarello, Brian Decayed
Azzarello, Brian Once Upon a Crime
Azzarello, Brian Dirty
Azzarello, Brian Wilt
Bacigalupi, Paolo The Alchemist
Berners-Lee, Mike How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything
Botkin, Daniel B. Powering the Future
Bruchac, Joseph Dawn Land
Buckell, Tobias S. The Executioness
Butcher, Jim Changes
Butcher, Jim Ghost Story
Butler, Robert Olen Intercourse
Butler, Robert Olen A Small Hotel
Cameron, W. Bruce A Dog’s Purpose
Coben, Harlan Live Wire
Collins, Gail America’s Women
Collins, Suzanne The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne Mockingjay
Deaver, Jeffery Carte Blanche
Dorkin, Evan Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Duncan, Glen The Last Werewolf
Eddings, David Pawn of Prophecy
Eddings, David Queen of Sorcery
Eddings, David Magician’s Gambit
Eddings, David Castle of Wizardry
Eddings, David Enchanters’ End Game
Eddings, David Guardians of the West
Eddings, David King of the Murgos
Eddings, David Demon Lord of Karanda
Eddings, David Sorceress of Darshiva
Eddings, David Seeress of Kell
Fish, Stanley How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One
French, Tana In the Woods
French, Tana The Likeness
French, Tana Faithful Place
Gillman, Jeff How Trees Die
Gleacher, Jimmy Paradise Rules
Goldstein, Lisa The Uncertain Places
Grant, Helen The Glass Demon
Grossman, Lev The Magician King
Gudenkauf, Heather The Weight of Silence
Harkness, Deborah A Discovery of Witches
Hennessey, Jonathan The United States Constitution
Herzog, Hal Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat
Hiaasen, Carl Tourist Season
Hill, Joe Welcome to Lovecraft
Hill, Joe Head Games
Hill, Joe Crown of Shadows
Hill, Joe Keys to the Kingdom
Hosler, Jay Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth
Inman, Matthew Five Very Good Reason to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth
King, Stephen 11/22/63
Koryta, Michael So Cold the River
LaPlante, Alice Turn of Mind
Layman, John Chew
Le Marinel, Alan Start and Run Your Own Business
Love, Jeremy Bayou v. 2
Lupton, Rosamund Sister
Magary, Drew The Postmortal
Makkai, Rebecca The Borrower
Mansbach, Adam Go the Fuck to Sleep
Marsh, Jason, ed. Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology
McKibben, Bill Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
McKinley, Robin The Door in the Hedge
McKinley, Robin A Knot in the Grain
McKinley, Robin The Blue Sword
McKinley, Robin Spindle’s End
Medley, Linda Castle Waiting
Medley, Linda Castle Waiting v. 2
Mignola, Mike Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction
Millar, Mark Wanted
Milligan, Peter Greek Street
Moby, et al. Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety
Morgenstern, Erin Night Circus
Nicholls, David One Day
Origen, Erich The Adventures of Unemployed Man
Pacelle, Wayne The Bond: Our Kindship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
Parker, K. J. The Hammer
Pollan, Michael The Botany of Desire
Portis, Charles True Grit
Pratchett, Terry Snuff
Riggs, Ransom Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Riley, Andy Dawn of the Bunny Suicides
Roberson, Chris I, Zombie
Rothfuss, Patrick The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed
Rothfuss, Patrick The Name of the Wind
Rothfuss, Patrick The Wise Man’s Fear
Schlozman, Steven C. The Zombie Autopsies
Schultz, Mark The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA
Serge, Victor Conquered City
Snyder, Maria Poison Study
Snyder, Maria Magic Study
Snyder, Maria Fire Study
Stephenon, Neal REAMDE
Stevens, Chevy Never Knowing
Stevens, Chevy Still Missing
Suzuki, Koji The Ring
Taibbi, Matt Griftopia
Thompson, Gabriel Working in the Shadows
Traister, Rebecca Big Girls Don’t Cry
Trigiani, Adriana Big Stone Gap
Trigiani, Adriana Big Cherry Holler
Trigiani, Adriana Milk Glass Moon
Trigiani, Adriana Home to Big Stone Gap
Vaughan, Brian K. Pride of Baghdad
Wagner, Matt Trinity
Walter, Jess The Financial Lives of the Poets
Warman, Jessica Between
Warren, Frank A Lifetime of Secrets
Watson, S. J. Before I Go to Sleep
Willingham, Bill Rose Red
Willis, Connie All Clear
Ximm, Aaron Pat the Zombie

11 responses »

  1. Audio books are also good for short car trips. (Not the five minute variety – but you don't live five minutes from anywhere.)Audio books are good for, say, 30 minute trips.

  2. Usually I agree with your reading thoughts, and this year I definitely do with Snuff and the Hammer. But Discovery of Witches?!? I thought that book was amazing! I read an early arc in 2010 and it was my best book of 2010And for some more YA titles, try Tamora Pierce's latest series, Beka Cooper books. There are three, Terrier, Bloodhound and Mastiff and all three are out now (Mastiff just came out). Fantasy with mystery and older teen. Similar to Poison Study

  3. the lesbrarian

    Mom: I'm seeing what there is to download from the libraries.

  4. the lesbrarian

    Jessica: I thought Discovery of Witches was dreadful. And I disliked Poison Study, for many of the same reasons I disliked Discover of Witches.I know, I know. I'm picky.

  5. Interesting selection. Looks like our tastes (or at least 'Books Read 2011') have an almighty overlap of about 8%. Still, takes all sorts and as you're a K.J. Parker fan I'll not get picky (new one out in the summer, good-oh).A couple I think you may enjoy:Christopher Priest, 'The Islanders', 2011; written in the form of an unreliable gazetteer, it's an intriguing read.Ian R. MacLeod, 'The Light Ages'; sort of a marriage between Mervyn Peake and Charles Dickens. Not new (published about 10 years ago IIRC) but it is good.

  6. eleemosynary archivist

    See what I get for not checking in until end of first week; a subtle reminder to read more fiction!!! Fine list, Jess & thanks for introducing me to KJ Parker. Now of course, the trick will be allocating time to go to town. Stopped by Scotland recently, but hadn't much time to browse. Now the List is with me:) May the Force be with You…EA-tgb

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