2011: A Literary Review

For some reason all I can think of when I see the above image is Desmond punching the numbers into the computer every 108 minutes on LOST. 


I've noticed that some people (book bloggers, mostly) do these kinds of annual reading recaps.  I've always enjoyed reading others' annual literary reviews, so I thought I'd make one of my own.  I'm not sure anyone else will get anything out of this post - this is just something for me to keep track of my nerdiness.  But I had fun compiling this list so I thought I'd post it.

Note: This list was not comprised out of books released in 2011, but rather of books I read in 2011. 

And so, here is Mel's Great Literary Review of 2011...

Best Book of 2011: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. 

Worst Book of 2011: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. 

Most Mediocre Book of 2011Caleb Williams by William Godwin.  I honestly can't remember hardly anything about this book, it was that bland.

Most Unenjoyable Good Book: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.  (Unabridged.)  It really is a great book and one that is worth reading, but I did not enjoy the process of reading it.

Most Enjoyable Bad BookWither by Lauren DeStefano.  I enjoyed laughing at this book more than I enjoyed reading it.  I had fun with this book, probably not in the way the author intended, but oh well.        

Pleasant Surprise of 2011Outlander by Diana Galbadron.  I was seriously expecting to loathe this book with a hatred to rival my loathing of the Sherbert Land level of MarioKart.  Instead, it turned out to be a more Wario's Stadium kind of book. 

Book I Can't Believe I Waited Until 2011 to Read: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.  (This is also my runner up for Best Book of 2011.)

Shakespeare Texts Read: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, plus all the sonnets.  (I was in a Shakespeare class; I'm not usually this Bard-tastic.)

Book I'm Ashamed to Admit I ReadThe Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer. 

Book That Improved The Most Upon Re-Reading: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I absolutely despised this book after my first read-through.  I gave it another shot and my rating went from 0 stars to 1 star.  That's a 100% increase, so congratulations to Mockingjay.   

Book I Can't Believe More People Haven't Read: Ghostbread by Sonja Livingston.  I seriously do not understand why this is not at the top of every reviewers recommendation list. 

Best Feel-Good Book: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.  This book offers the warm, life-affirming kind of good feeling, not the superficial, hollow one.  It's like finally hugging a loved one after being apart for a long time. 

Books I Re-Read in 2011: The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Quiet American by Graham Greene, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, the Harry Potter Series by the Goddess of All Things Fabulous herself, and all the Shakespeare reads except Merchant of Venice and most of the sonnets.

Books I Expected to Like More Than I Did: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Legend by Marie Liu, and The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.

Awesomest Book Character of 2011: Flavia de Luce in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.  Flavia seriously rocks.

Scariest Book Character of 2011: August Rosenbluth in Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Greatest Disappointment: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen.  The book itself wasn't a disappointment, finding out it was at least partially fabricated was.

Most Controversial Book of 2011: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  I wasn't as put off by this book as everyone else was, but I think that's probably because I am not a mother.  Still, it's pretty easy for me to understand why this book pissed everyone off.

Books I Read that I Can't Come Up With a Category For: The Chosen by Chaim Potok, and The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton.

Book Released in 2011 That I Can't Believe I Haven't Read Yet: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  (Note: This is high on my to-read list of 2012.)

Conclusion: A solid 2011.  Bring it, 2012.