I might have gone ’round the bend (but at least there are books here).

Yes, yes, I know: all I talk about these days are books. But I can’t help it! It’s that time of year when you tally your Books I’ve Read This Year list, and update your To Read list, and set your 2012 Reading Goal over at Goodreads, and…well…make all sorts of other neurotic lists and assessments. It’s the bestest part of January, really. Since you obviously think I’m quite adorable when I’m at my most neurotic (you’re here, aren’t you?), I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.

If you haven’t already, a good place to start would be my recap of allllll 70 books I read in 2011. (Which, I have to admit now, isn’t entirely accurate. I realized last night that I accidentally left off The Boxcar Children, which I read to the girls this summer, and Anatomy of Deception, which I read in December after I had already typed up my list. Whoops.)

After I finished my epic recap (and shook feeling back into my fingers), I was curious about how many books from last year’s Christmas haul I had actually managed to read. Because let’s face it – sometimes my intentions and my accomplishments don’t actually match up all that neatly. Ahem. So I went back to this nifty post that I was smart enough to publish so I could see how well I did. Turns out I did pretty well: I read 29 of 30 books I got for Christmas 2010. The only book I didn’t get to was the one by Gene Wilder. (Yes, that Gene Wilder. Which, I think, explains a lot.)

I hope I can conquer this year’s booty, er, um, collection, with as much success. I have the happy conundrum of having too many books I want to read all at once! I’ve already finished a WWII loaner (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. 4 of 5 stars.) and I’m about ready to finish Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. I’m also about 100 pages into Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife and I have to say – I’m falling a little bit in love with it. Other books in the tier I want to read first: Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas; The White Mary by Kirah Salak (which is a loaner from my sister); The Reader by Bernhard Schlink; Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (my reward/escapism novel); The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry; 11/22/63 by Stephen King; Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan; and Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos. I have no idea how I’m going to choose my next book – they all sound so devourable. My second tier consists of: Sway by Zachary Lazar; Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood; feed by MT Anderson (another loaner from my sister); StoryLand by Jim Miller; Hannibal by Thomas Harris;  All Souls by Christine Schutt; and the Leader’s Guide to the Brownie Scout Program (circa 1950) that my sister gave me and will be rather useful for a diabolical scheme I’m brewing. Rounding out my list is Lush Life by Richard Price; A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel; The Sea by John Banville; Gap Creek by Robert Morgan; Slam by Nick Hornby (which would have placed higher except the last few I read were such disappointments); The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara; Hoot by Scott Hiassen; Voyager and Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (loaners) and a Mr. Boston’s Guide to Cocktails and a winery book that I believe will both get plenty of use, if not read from cover to cover.Let’s see how many of these books I’ve read when I’m doing my recap for this year. Anyone wanna make a wager with me? <Insert eyebrow wiggling here.>

Since I had cleaned up on my Christmas Reading List, I then wondered if I had made any progress on my How Well Read Are You? challenge. Turns out I didn’t read too many classics this year: I am still stuck on 65 of 100 classics read. Maybe I should step away from the YA fiction and read something a bit more full of literary fiber. Guilting me even further in that direction is this really cool Web site I found yesterday: this teen is going to read all 179 novels on the Modern/Classic Must-Read List. I counted them and I’m only at 50.

Since I have now depressed myself with how little reading it looks like I’m getting done, at least according to those lists, I have to end with linking back to my To Read list I posted at the end of 2010. I’m proud to say that I read 37 books off that list of 100. Pretty impressive, is it not? Especially given how many re-reads I had and how many of my 2011 books were recommendations from other readers. I just find it so hard to say no to a book being thrown in my path: the most wonderful reading adventures happen if you’ll just accept the premise that books you’re supposed to read make their way to you one way or another. Then again, some of them just suck. That’s what makes it so exciting, I guess – trying to figure out if you’re going to want to smuggle the book across the border or have to come up with a complete and utter lie to your former friend about how “special” that read was.

So there you have it. It would have been a lot prettier if I could have uploaded all of my lists scribbled on and marked through, with crazy, illegible notes in the margin, but this will have to do until I’m caught up – I have books to read, you know.

 

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