2011 in Books

December 31, 2011 @ 7:39 pm | Filed under:

I guess Huck thought Rilla and I needed to add a little Charlotte Mason to our diet of picture books

Compiling this year’s reading list is going to be difficult; I didn’t write monthly recap posts, and I didn’t crosspost my ongoing reading log on a page here like I usually do: this year, it’s all at GoodReads. GoodReads tells me I read 173 books 175 books** in 2011, but more than half of those are picture books (and since I didn’t record all the picture books we read, this figure isn’t of much use).

I cross-referenced my booklog at Diigo, using the tag “Rillabooks” for picture books and “booklog” for everything else, including the Cybils graphic novel nominees I read. There are 69 books 71 books**under the booklog tag. That is probably the most accurate total of my personal reading for the year. I have 104 books tagged under Rillabooks. The math works, at least!

**While compiling the list below, I discovered I’d missed recording at least two books I read this year. Amusingly, they were two of my favorite books of the year (Wonderstruck and Nursery Rhyme Comics). What this means is that all bets are off where accuracy of numbers is concerned. I wonder what else I forgot to record.***

***About an hour after I published this post, I realized I left out nearly all of my Bean-Rose-Rilla read-alouds, including The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Strictest School in the World. I also omitted a ton of NetGalley reads. Don’t know why I so often forget to log those at GoodReads.

Of course these lists never reflect the many books I began and didn’t finish, a goodly number of which I hope to pick up again. (Chief among those: Ready Player One and Blackout, which I set aside precisely because they were so gripping—I had foolishly begun each of them at a time when life busy-ness was eating up all my reading time.) Nor does my 2011 log include the books I read as research for my current novel. My brain tucks those away on another mental shelf.

Looking back over the year’s pleasure reading is itself a great pleasure. I read some staggeringly great books this year. It makes me giddy, really, thinking of what riches are in store in the year ahead.

Here, sans picture books (which I may try to compile in a separate post), are (most of) the books I read in 2011. Asterisks indicate Cybils graphic novel nominees. Sparse months indicate times when I was most deeply immersed in research, and fiction had to take a back seat.

If I posted about a book, I’ll include the link.


Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott
Room by Emma Donoghue (post)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Love Letters by Madeleine L’Engle
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm


Shadow Box: Poems by Fred Chappell
Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (post)
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang


The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Sunken Treasure by Wil Wheaton
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton


Mercury by Hope Larson
Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life by Quinn Cummings


The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (post)
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang*
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol*
Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler
Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan
Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman*


84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (posts here and here)
The Penderwicks on Gardham Street by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

July (I wrote a recap that month)

Letter from New York by Helene Hanff (post)
The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt (a reread; here’s my 2010 post)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (post at GeekMom)


The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (post)
Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia A. McKillip
Harpist in the Wind by Patricia A. McKillip

?? Very strange—my GoodReads shows no entries for September or October. September is befuddling me; surely I read something. Aha, and having written that, I have suddenly remembered about Ragnarok. I received an advance digital copy of A.S. Byatt’s latest work via NetGalley in August and made a dogged but ultimately incomplete effort to accomplish the reading of it. I phrase it that way because it’s the sort of book you have to work at. I intend to finish it. I set it aside for Cybils reading and did not remember, until this post, that it was there waiting for me.

My Cybils reading began in mid-October, so I suspect some of my entries dated November 1 were actually October reads.


Sidekicks by Dan Santat*
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch*
In Trouble by Ellen Levine (via NetGalley)
Kind (The Good Neighbors, #3) by Holly Black*
True Things (Adults Don’t Want Kids to Know) (Amelia Rules! #6) by Jimmy Gownley*
The Ferret’s a Foot by Colleen AF Venable*
Binky under Pressure by Ashley Spires*
Swamp Sting by Blake A. Hoena*
Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm*
Squish #2: Brave New Pond by Jennifer L. Holm*
Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jarrett J. Krosoczka*
Babymouse: A Very Babymouse Christmas by Jennifer L. Holm*
The Little Prince Graphic Novel by Joann Sfar*
Mameshiba: On the Loose! by James Turner*
Sita: Daughter of the Earth by Saraswati Nagpal*
Bake Sale by Sara Varon*
Drawing From Memory by Allen Say*
I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang*
Made for Each Other by Paul D. Storrie*
Zahra’s Paradise by amir*
Ivy by Sarah Oleksyk*


Flight, Volume 8 by Kazu Kibuishi*
Age of Reptiles Omnibus by Ricardo Delgado*
Americus by M.K. Reed*
Amulet: The Last Council (Amulet, #4) by Kazu Kibuishi*
Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower, art by Skottie Young*
The Sign of the Black Rock by Scott Chantler*
Luz Sees the Light by Claudia Davila*
Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace by Eric Wight*
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (mentioned here)
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
Lost and Found by Shaun Tan*
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel*
The Renegades of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen*
The Cottage at Bantry Bay by Hilda Van Stockum (read-aloud to Rose, Beanie, Rilla)

I suspect I’m not the only Pern fan who experienced a powerful need to binge on Anne McCaffrey’s books after her death. All the Weyrs of Pern is still sitting on my nightstand.

I love the fresh start of a new year: love it particularly when contemplating All the Books I Am Going to Read, Because This Is the Year I Am Going to Read ALL the Books. Here are a very few of the titles on my TBR list. Check back a year from now to see how many of them I squoze in.

Blackout/All Clear (for real this time! I am not usually one for delayed gratification, but in this case I’ve enjoyed the delicious anticipation)
Ready Player One (sooo good so far)
Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder
The Map of My Dead Pilots by Colleen Mondor
Pure by Julianna Baggott (I don’t even know when it comes out, but I’m looking forward to it already. Jane got to read it in manuscript, the lucky duck.)
David Copperfield (a book I adore, which I intend to launch as a family read-aloud come Monday)

I’ll stop there. The list of my hope-to-reads could go on for miles. Happy New Year, friends. Thanks for another delightful year of comparing booknotes.

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10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. MelanieB says:

    Delightful. As always. You have the most scrumptious booklists. Happy reading in 2012!

  2. MelanieB says:

    And my resolution for 2012 is to sew you a quilt square. The sewing macing is unburied; but I think I need to make a trip to the fabric store. We shall see….

  3. Caryl says:

    Oh, thank you for posting your year in books! Many of my favorites (Wonderstruck, The Penderwicks, the Alan Bennett, the Helene HanFFFF) and many I still want to get to someday (Ursula Nordstrom’s Letters!) Looking forward to following the Cybils in the New Year — hooray for short lists!

  4. Beth says:

    I wanted to thank you for the Cybils challenge — I finished them in December (good thing I’m not a judge!). I’ve just started putting the next batch on hold at the library, although I think I have to skip Apps since I’m device-free.

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Beth, kudos!! I’m very impressed!

    Can’t wait to go check out the rest of this year’s shortlists. I’m so pleased with the graphic novel shortlists (middle grade and teen). Can’t wait to share all those excellent books with everyone.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Melissa, how do you record the books that you read? (i.e. do you just use a tape recorder, do the kids stay quiet while you’re recording, etc.??)

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh no—when I said I “record the picture books we read,” I meant entering their titles at GoodReads. 🙂

  8. Erin says:

    I’d love to recommend a YA title for your TBR list: Icefall by Matthew Kirby (Oct. ’11). Not many books leave me feeling breathless, but this one did. It will not disappoint.

  9. Rebecca says:

    LOL – I THOUGHT that was what you meant but upon reading it again, I wasn’t sure and was intrigued by the idea that any mom could possibly succeed in audio-recording a read-aloud! Thanks for the clarification! 🙂

  10. Shellie Uzelac says:

    Thanks Cindi. Glad I could help. Your own site is stocked with lots of good info as well.