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Danni’s Best Reads 2011

December 27, 2011

I’ve kept reading lists four of the last five years, but this year was the most detailed. When John posted his call for Best Reads 2011, it was fun to dissect the list and see how my habits changed throughout the year. I read a total of 52 books and I’m pleased with the variety:

27 Urban Fantasy (my favorite)

16 Fiction (mainstream, commercial, literary)

16 Rereads (I love rereading my favorites)

11 Book Club

14 YA

14 Self-Pub or Small Press

13 Ebooks (I received my Kindle mid-year so this ratio may change in 2012)

5 Paranormal Romance (*cough*D.B.*cough*)

3 Collections of Short Stories

3 Novellas

1 Memoir

And the most fun was that 11 of these novels I actually shared with my 12-year-old daughter including four of my favorites. For 2012, she’s going to keep her own list so we can compare next December. My goal for 2012 is 52 again and her’s is 25.

Okay, enough stats, on to the fun. Oh, but don’t forget to check out everyone’s top choices over at John’s official blog hop.

My Best Reads of 2011 (in order read) are:

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

This is the 9th novel in Harrison’s The Hollows series. She has a great cast of characters and this book brought them all together in an epic cross-country road trip to rival any dysfunctional family. The last few books in the series have been more dark and depressing and it was too much fun to get back to a more adventurous tone. Fistful of Charms had always been my favorite (because Jenks gets big!), but Pale Demon is firmly in first place with this series now.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This is Perkins’ debut novel (published in 2010) and the first in a three-book companion series. It’s also the first on the list that The Monster and I shared. Perkins captures the excitement, heartbreak, anxiety, anguish, and exhilaration of first love. Like Pale Demon, there’s a fun cast of characters, a loveable MC with a great voice, and an honest love that grows over time, not over hours. A best read for any romantic. The follow-up novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door is another great read, but there’s just something about Anna’s story that I prefer.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was actually published back in 1999 and was adapted for film in 2004. Speak is the story of a girl who struggles going back to high school after being date raped at a party over summer. It has the most realistic view of high school that I think I’ve ever read. It deals realistically with the emotions of a victim and her slow journey to finding herself and her voice. This is another book I shared with my daughter and we talked about in detail afterward. It opened the door for conversations about bullying, rape, parties, drinking and peer pressure. With this being her first year of junior high, it was an open and easy way to discuss topics that would normally be awkward or come off as lectures, but talking about it in the context of a book and characters made the conversation flow free and easy.

 

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Okay, this is kind of a cheat because it doesn’t come out until February 2012, but I was lucky enough to win an ARC online. This isn’t the kind of book I normally read—taking place in a different world with dragons, sylphs, and utopian-esque society. I usually prefer urban fantasy which takes place in our world with a twist. But Meadows’ writing and mc drew me in from the beginning. She had me rooting for Ana and fighting beside her in every new struggle. It has a touch of fantasy, romance, science fiction, mystery, and adventure. It’s another book my daughter and I shared and we both absolutely loved. I can’t wait for you all to get your hands on this book.

A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang

This is Pang’s debut novel and she comes out with a bang. It’s hard to find urban fantasy with a truly new twist. Pang doesn’t limit herself to vampires, werewolves and witches. She’s got it all—demons, angels, fairies, pixies, gypsies, hags, a delicious incubus and a smart-ass mini-unicorn with a fetish for thongs. She’s got a loveable mc surrounded by a crazy cast in an amazing new world with a mix of mystery, suspense, romance, and fantasy. I can’t wait for the next book, A Sliver of Shadow, to be released in February.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This is another first novel that was published in 2007 and one that I shared with my daughter. Part of what makes this book so unique is the format. Hannah tells her to story to Clay through a series of cassette tapes she recorded before committing suicide. Hannah’s narrative is broken up by play/pause/stop symbols and Clay’s reactions are interwoven with her tale. This is the kind of book that kind of hangs with you for days after you finish reading. It’s another one that opened the door to new conversations with my daughter. She told me she realized that sometimes standing by and doing nothing can be as damaging as bullying. It opened her eyes to how something you view as insignificant can be a powerful turning point in another’s life because you never know what else they’re going through at the time.

And a few honorable mentions are:

Lit by Mary Karr

The Paris Wife by Paula McLaine

Rajmund and Duncan by D.B. Reynolds

Don’t Fear The Reaper by Michelle Muto

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

So what are your best reads of 2011?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2011 11:25 PM

    How could I forget that I read The Bell Jar? Oops, my list is already up on John’s blog in the comments section.

  2. December 28, 2011 11:50 AM

    I’d imagine scoring a Best Reads for the Year nod off an ARC would make the author pretty happy, really.

  3. December 28, 2011 1:31 PM

    I will keep an eye out for that fantasy (still shocked you favorited a fantasy!).

  4. December 28, 2011 2:46 PM

    Hi Danni… it looks like 2011 was a really rich year for you in terms of reading – loads of genres, formats and authors, as well as sharing some with your favourite monster… 🙂

    I hope 2012 is as much fun…

  5. December 28, 2011 7:17 PM

    That is quite a list, Danni! Thirteen Reasons sounds like something I would like to read.

    One Question for you: Can I read Anna and The French Kiss without losing my man card? Something about it sounds interesting. 🙂

  6. December 29, 2011 5:24 AM

    gah, now I wish I’d kept better notes. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to keep a list of books I’ve read . . .

  7. December 29, 2011 6:38 AM

    I love that list! And I’m so impressed with the amount of books you’ve read this year…I haven’t read nearly as many or such variety.

  8. December 29, 2011 10:52 AM

    Wow Danni, some books I haven’t read yet. I’ll be noting them down for when I get some free time.

  9. December 29, 2011 10:58 AM

    Sorry Danni,
    Forgot to include my reads that stuck:
    The Long War 2: Marathon – Christian Cameron (If you love HF, then he has one on Alexander the Great out in Jan)
    Lady of Hay – Barbara Erskine
    The Straight Razor Cure – Daniel Polansky
    Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

    There were so many but narrowing it down to just one or two has been so hard.

    • January 2, 2012 6:59 PM

      I can see how narrowing down your list could be hard. I’m sure my 52 books is only about a tenth of what you read last!

  10. adampb permalink
    December 29, 2011 1:26 PM

    I reckon reading people’s Best of lists gives you a great idea of what to read. I have to read a whole lot more.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. December 29, 2011 2:17 PM

    Laughing at Gareth’s comment! As if he doesn’t read enough already. Damn, I don’t get nearly so much reading in as you do. I’m amazing by the number and variety of books you’ve read this past year, and I commend ‘the monster’ for setting goals as well and meeting them. Go Danni & Adriana!! 🙂 Good post & well done!

  12. Dana McEntee permalink
    December 29, 2011 3:31 PM

    I have to mention Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvator. Wow. Original. I’m not a horse fan, but this is a story about so much more.

    I’ve got Pang’s novel on my TBR list and will be reading that one real soon! Can’t wait after your review!

  13. January 2, 2012 3:54 PM

    I read 13 Reasons Why & THe Bell Jar this year, too:) WOW, I never make my own top lists b/c I’d have too many, lol. Um, can I be cliche & say The Hunger Games series? And also Dessen’s new one, What Happened to Goodbye and Armstrong’s The Summoning gave me goosebumps for sure!

    • January 2, 2012 7:00 PM

      How crazy that we both read those books this year! I’m just reading The Hunger Games now. My daughter read them last year. I haven’t redden any of Dessen’s novels, but she’s on my list. I loved The Summoning, too, but it was on a past list. 🙂

  14. January 3, 2012 5:12 PM

    Speak and Thirteen are on my list. REALLY really well spoken and written post here Dani and I love that you and the monster share time over books. Such a gift. 🙂

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  1. Chuck Allen » My Best Reads of 2012

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