For 2011, I joined my friend (and talented writer) Valerie Geary as she challenged her readers & fellow bloggers to set a reading goal. I don’t exactly need a push to read, but sometimes it’s good for me to have a goal with how much I want to read in order to pick up a book over the TV remote after a long day. I also had been trying to branch out and pick up different styles & genres, and previously set a goal to get good use out of my library card 2011, so this challenge helped with that!
I set out to read 30 books in 2011, and was happy to finish the year at 32. Sadly, while I remained committed to my reading goals, I was remiss when it came to sharing my favorites on the blog, and only got around to posting reviews on a few of the novels shown above. For 2012, my focus will be less about quantity, and more about the full experience, so expect to see more consistent posts in my Well Read series.
I am thrilled to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed every book I read this year, though a few stand out:
Lovely Bones: It was unusual, creepy, heart-warming, painful, uplifting, hauntingly beautiful. Right up my alley.
Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights: The more Bronte, the better. Those sister make my literature loving heart soar.
Little Princes: Conor Grennan shares his surprising adventures & personal transformation that began with a 3 month stretch as a reluctant volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal. Proceeds from every book go to Next Generation Nepal (an organization you can’t help but desire to support after reading this book). This is still at the top of my recommendations list, almost a year later.
One Day: Not ususally one for romantic stories, this book surprised me. I gave in after a rave review from Nick Hornby, and fell in the love with the story. I literally laughed, cried, groaned with a frustration that can only come from understanding.
Everything is Illuminated/Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: Foer has a style that takes getting used to, but his work it deep, thoughtful, and full of dark humor. I preferred ELIC, likely due to my attachment to NYC, but would recommend both
Alice, I have Been: I have always been fascinated with Alice in Wonderland, so I found this piece of historical fiction to be riveting. I was extremely grateful that the author took the time to separate fact from fiction in an afterword for the readers who found the ambiguity “curiouser & curiouser”.
Jose Villa- Fine Art Wedding Photography: my heart skips a beat with every page. Here is talent & vision to aspire to!!
It Gets Better: this book simultaneously broke my heart and gave me hope. The bullying that takes place in this country is atrocious. As a Christian, my outlook on gay rights surprises many, but I believe we are ALL children of God, made in his image, and that everyone is a thing of value, of beauty, & deserves respect/love/acceptance. No matter your beliefs, there is no excuse for so many youth to feel so unloved. I desperately hope that this book gives the hope and encouragement needed to those youth who can’t yet see that there is a community for them!
Hunger Games Trilogy: this was a reread. The trailer for the upcoming first film reignited the flame, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this story with the cast in mind. Read these nooooooow.
I look forward to another year of great literature. I can honestly say these pages inspire my photography just as much as any other form of art… and I like to think they keep my mind sharp. I know there are many other literature lovers out there. Please chime in with recommendations for 2012! I’m kicking off the year with Great Gatsby… who knows where I will go from there!