Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell and Good Riddance to 2011

To say that 2011 has been a year I would not want to relive is a real understatement. It has been a very hard year for my family (although I must admit that it brought us even closer and served to remind us of how much we love each other) and it has ended with a professional quarter of the year that has turned my life upside down. On the first score, we are expecting nothing but good news in 2012 and on the second score, I'm hoping to have changed my work life soon to get a balance back in my life that includes having time for my family and doing the things I love (including blogging!).

My reading numbers were down considerably in 2011; I don't think that I'll hit 75 books read this year. I did succeed, to some extent, with the goals I set for my reading for the year. I managed to complete about half of my challenges this year but I largely blame my lack of success here on my inability to find the time to read for the past three months so I can live with that. I did read a lot more non-fiction this year and definitely increased the number of books set outside of the U.S. or written by non-U.S. authors (the fairy tale and myth reading certainly helped with this one!).  Given that I had read almost no historical fiction in 2010, that was another goal I met in 2011 even though I only managed to read ten historical fiction novels.

I read a lot of books I liked a lot in 2011 but very few that I would say I truly loved. Surprisingly, the vast majority of the books I loved were written by men, certainly a change over previous years. My top books of 2011 were:

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Safe From The Sea by Peter Geye

The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Shaffert

The March by E.L. Doctorow

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Man In The Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal

Cocktail Hour Under The Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller

Instant City by Steve Inskeep

This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

For 2012, I'm hoping to get things turned around, reading wise. Some of my goals will remain the same, fewer challenges will be undertaken but mostly I hope to find more time for reading again in 2012. It brings a sense of calm to my life that has been sorely missing of late. And I miss getting to talk to all of you, so more time for blogging must be made in the coming year!

What was your favorite book in 2011? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Wishing you all a very happy new year!


  1. If I don't pick up Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter or The Kitchen Counter Cooking School soon, I know I'm going to miss out!

    My favorite this year was 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I just could not put that book down!

    Have a safe and Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for posting so many interesting reviews in 2011, including the fairytale and myth posts.
    Also for finding the time to keep in touch when I know you've had work pressures.
    All the best for your plans for all areas of your life, especially with the family and with your reading interests this coming year 2012.
    One of my best reads in 2011 was The Heretic's
    Daughter - Katherine Kent(after reading your post). Others were The Poet's Wife about John Clare's wife and the non-fiction Love and War in the Apennines - Eric Newby.

  3. Good list! I definitely want to read some of them! I hope your 2012 turns out WAY better! Wishing you a happy and happiER New Year!

  4. Can I say you and me.... we both had terrible years in a few areas of life. Adios 2011.... bring on 2012 my friend!

    If I have to pick one favorite book for 2011, it was Jerusalem Maiden. By far the best book I read this year...

    Wishing you and your family a year of good health, happiness and time to reflect and relax with a good book!

  5. 2011 was a hard year for me too, and I am glad to see it going. I am hoping that you and I have better times in the upcoming year, and that we both get to read some amazing things. I liked your list as well, and am hoping to read some of these in the upcoming year. Have a very Happy New Year over there!

  6. I hope 2012 is better for you.

    I like the books you read.

    I have Crooked Letter, Crooked letter on my has been waiting a long time. I need to get to it.

    I loved The Book Thief.

    Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness was a good read as well.

    I don't know any of the other books. Will need to check them out.

    Happy New Year!!


  7. I loved Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Safe From the Sea, and The Book Thief, all great reads.
    Happy New Year!

  8. Happy New Year! Hope this year is easier than the last!

  9. thanks for sharing. here is my recap:

  10. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was on my 'best of' list, too. Wishing you a more peaceful 2012... Happy New Year, Lisa!

  11. One of my goals for 2012 is to compartmentalize my work life and my private life so I have more time to do the things I love. Working at home, for me, has benefits but also has detriments - and I want to stop feeling like I'm always "on."

    Most of the books I read this year were through my Women and Books group on Goodreads. The Kitchen House and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks are two that stand out in my mind.

  12. I agree...good riddance! Here's to a very happy 2012!!

  13. Happy New Year! Wishing you much happiness this year. =O)

  14. Really want to read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School!! You've totally convinced me. ;)

    Happy new year Lisa.

  15. One of my favs was A Train in Winter. I still think about that book and the women who survived. There are a few others, but they are escaping me at the moment.

    While 2011 had a few good things for me, I am very happy to see it go. It was just a rough year all the way around. Happy new Year Lisa!

  16. I picked The Kitchen Counter Cooking School as one of my two favorite books this year too! The other was Divergent by Veronica Roth.

    2011 sucked for us too, I'm ready for a shiny new year full of potential.

  17. I knew you received a promotion at work towards the end of the year which was awesome. But if I remember correctly, your work load increased substantially. I remember reading a post in which you said something about not being able to find a substantial period of time in your days in which to read. That totally stinks and I hope that's not the case at any point in 2012.

    I didn't know that 2011 was a difficult time for your family. I am sorry to learn that but I'm happy for all of you that it brought you closer together. Still, I hope 2012 is a year of great things for you and your family or, at least, no substantial difficulties or worries.
    I can't say 2011 has been a favorite year of mine either and I'm not at all sad to see it end!

    In looking over your Fiction list, I am hoping to read every single one of those books this year but especially Safe from the Sea and The Coffins of Little Hope. Several of the books in your list of Non-fiction look quite interesting. I especially hope to read Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

    Best Wishes to you and your family for a wonderful New Year!