Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Reads of 2011 (and some other stuff)

Well, you had to see it coming - the ubiquitous list of best books of the year. Mine happens to be divided into various categories, and, since I an indecisive person and like just about every book I read anyway, most are ties. Months read are noted.

Best historical fiction:
Montmaray Journals series by Michelle Cooper (Jun/Jul)
I love the interworkings of this series. The plotline seems so simple and innocent, a princess tale, but Cooper makes the story complex by incorporating the political facts of WWII.
Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite (Sep)
Creepy, multi-generational Appalachian ghost story, magnificently written.

Best sci-fi:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Aug)
Both my brother and I loved this one. It's just such a fun read.
A Chemical Fire by Brian Martinez (Jul)
A zombie apocalypse tale with a really cool twist.
The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (Jun)
I loved the writing, the concept, the characters, the plot...

Best fantasy:
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (Jun)
A unique, exceptional version of the Cinderella tale.
Welcome to Bordertown by various (Jun)
This, my introduction to urban fantasy, made me want to find Bordertown.
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (Mar)
I adored the characters and setting, and I can't wait for the sequel!

Best YA dystopia:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Jan)
Might I say that Lord of the Flies + Ape and Essence + YA is the best combination?
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (May)
I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did.
Memento Nora by Angie Smibert (Mar)
Short and sweet (you know, for a dystopia).

Best YA:
Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block (Sep)
It's so lyrical and sad, even almost made me cry.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Aug)
So wacky and crazy and weird and awesome...
Tighter by Adele Griffin (Jun)
I didn't much care for James' original story, but this was my most surprising read.

Best children's/MG:
Fearless by Tim Lott (Jul)
Excellent dystopia for younger readers.

Best classics:
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Jul)
I didn't expect to like this one as much as I did, either.
Beowulf trans. by Sean Heaney (Jan)
My favorite class read this year, mostly because Heaney's translation is awesome.

Best world literature:
An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy (Mar)
1) Roy is an amazing novelist. 2) This novel is alternately sad and kinda happy.
After Midnight by Irmgard Keun (Nov)
Excellent tale of the breakdown of innocence in Nazi Germany.

Best I'm-not-really-sure-what-genre:
Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne (Nov)
Okay, so really I just loved the whole commune-centered thing.
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander (Dec)
So weird, and I swear the characters were insane, but it was funny and enlightening.
Wunderkind by Nikolai Grozni (Sep)
Just read my review of it.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Feb)
Magical realism is weird, and my liking of the book grew after I finished reading it.

Worst read:
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Oct)
Whiny, too-"mature" teenagers in a preppy novel trying to pass itself off as a mystery.
Wildefire by Karsten Knight (Jul)
In retrospect, I liked this less than when I read it. See above complaints about Shepard's book but insert fantasy instead of mystery and add a plot that goes way too many directions.

Best movie:
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dec)
So maybe this is the only movie I've watched this year and still have memory of. It was still epic and awesome, and the characters were great.

Best show:
Once Upon a Time (Oct-Dec)
I possibly just love this because it's a dark twist on all the classic fairytales, but I still think it's great.

I have also just discovered the wonders of Google Reader, which I will now use for keeping up with the blogs I follow. It seems more flexible for staying up-to-date with recent posts when you're busy with other stuff. Also, I've now added the RSS feed button my sidebar in the vicinity of the GFC and e-mail apps.

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