Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten books of 2011

I cannot end this year without talking about my favorite books of 2011 - that would be just... silly.

Yesterday Lisa and Stephany both posted their top 10 lists and I just loved reading them - follow the links to read theirs! We have very similar tastes and I just love discussing books with these two. I wish we all lived in the same city so we could meet up and discuss more often. ;)

This year I read A LOT. At the beginning of the year I made a goal for myself to read 50 books, and I didn't think it would happen while being in grad school full time all year, but somehow it happened! I have read 57 books in 2011. A few of those books were for school, which I'm counting because I have a goal to read more non-fiction books. Many of the books are also middle grades and YA books, which several were for my children's lit class.

Narrowing down my list of favorites this year was pretty easy. In fact coming up with ten for the list was a little hard! There weren't many that I just absolutely loved, but for the most part all of these on this list are books that I always recommend to others.

I have noticed on Goodreads, that I am not generous with the five star rating - I rarely give a book five stars, in fact only a few of those books on my top 10 list got five stars from me when I finished them, but that doesn't mean I didn't love them. To me, for a book to get a five star rating, it needs to have me engaged the entire time, the writing should be impeccable and it should be a book I would consider as "couldn't-put-it-down."

I'm not sure what my goal for 2012 will be. I have gotten myself tangled up into three book clubs, so I think I will probably read my adult fiction with them and the rest will be middle grades and YA. I wish I could say I hope to read more in 2012, but know what my class schedule will be like, I don't know if that is possible. I guess I surprised myself in 2011, so who knows?

Anyway. I'll stop rambling. Here are my "Top Ten Books of 2011!" Enjoy!

10. Secret Daughter - this was the third book we read for Books 'n Bars, and I absolutely loved it! This year I began to really become interested in Indian culture and this book really contributed that interest. It's about an American couple that adopts an Indian girl. The father is of Indian heritage and the mother is American.

9. The Lover's Dictionary - this book was FANTASTIC! It's really a dictionary, but in the definitions it tells a story. It's heart-breakingly honest and real. Definitely a must read.

8. Lola and the Boy Next Door - oh, Stephanie Perkins. I don't think she can do anything wrong! Loved Lola - what a great character! If you liked Anna and the French Kiss, this is a MUST-READ.

7. Anna and the French Kiss - it took me a long time to pick this one up, but after seeing it float around the book blogging around and so many people raving about it, I had to see what the fuss was about. Boy, oh boy am I glad I did! What a wonderfully written, cute romance for a YA fan.

6. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - I will always remember this book because, A. it was the first book that we read for Books 'n Bars and B. Beth Hoffman EMAILED ME TO SAY THANK-YOU! I think I literally squealed out loud when I got that email. This book was wonderful and if you're a fan of The Help, you will like this one too!

5. Divergent - Wow, the response to this book is unreal! This book is action, action, action and will you keep flipping the pages to the very end. If you like dystopians, like The Hunger Games, you will probably like Divergent too!

4. Delirium - Ahhhh, Delirium. I adored this book. I cannot wait for Pandemonium. It's time like this when I wished I put more into book blogging so I could get my hands on an ARC of the sequal. This book was so good - another dystopian that I just couldn't put down. Read it. Love it.

3. One Day - I admit, I didn't love this book until I saw the movie and it sort of brought it all together for me. Now, I think about this story all the time. It's realistic, heartbreaking and so rich. David Nicholls writing is superb and this story will make you happy, sad, pissed off, giggling... cheering for a romance that is real.

2. Sarah's Key - Ahhh, the book that started the WWII obsession this year. I-LOVED-THIS-BOOK and think everyone should read it. This book follows a little girl that is Jewish in Paris during the Holocaust. What happened to Jews in France during the Holocaust? Read this book and you will find out. Then see the movie - because they did a fantastic job.

1. The Help - I adored The Help. I adore Kathryn Stockett. She created a wonderful book about her own experiences being raised in the South by black maids. Although this isn't a memoir and is fictional, after hearing Kathryn speak about her novel and her own childhood maid, I love the book (and the movie) even more.

What was your favorite book of 2011?

Are you on Goodreads? If so, come find me. ;)


Katie said...

I need to read more! The only one I read out of this list is The Help! xo

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

One Day almost made my top 5 list as well! I have read most of the books on this list, except the YA books. Looks like you got lots of reading done. I am impressed because when I was in grad school, I really did not do much reading for pleasure!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I guess I have to read Secret Daughter, as it comes highly recommended by both you and Lisa! I bought One Day last year and still have not read's been sitting in my box of To Read books forever! I really liked the Help, but still have not seen the movie!

Thanks for the recommendations! I can't wait to get reading!

Ashley said...

I liked One Day better after seeing the movie too!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Divergent and Secret Daughter are on my to-read list! I think I'm going to purchase them on my kobo with some of the gift cards I got for Christmas!

I just finished watching The Help and I LOVED the movie. I have to re-read the book now I think. I read it in 2010.

Allison said...

Reading these top 10 lists and realizing I've only readv10 books this year makes me feel like such a literary slacker. Gah. I need to fix this pronto!

Stephany said...

I love your list so much! We have very similar tastes in books. :) The Help was the best book I've read in 2011, and probably the Top 5 I've ever read. Loved it so much.

I am almost done with Anna and the French Kiss and it is sooooooo good. It's all I can think about right now! My work day needs to be over so I can dive back into the world of Anna & St. Clair!!!! Sigh. Lola is next on my list, too! And now I just want to write cute teen romance novels, hehe. :)

pinkflipflops said...

I don't think I have a top 10 this year. I did a lot of reading in series that I like and I really enjoyed them. I would say I would most definitely recommend Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series and Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series.

Jenn :D said...

Holy impressive! 57 BOOKS?! Go girl! :) I should hold myself more accountable. I only read The Help on your list and haven't had a book captivate me like it since. The Glass Castle came close...Thanks so much!

Beth Hoffman said...

Hi Amber ... I'm tickled (and honored) to see my novel on your Top Ten favorites list. Thank you for your kind words about Saving CeeCee Honeycutt! What a wonderful way to end 2011.

Happy New Year!
Beth Hoffman

daphne {flip flops and pearls} said...

I haven't read any of these - love your lil reviews!!

Summer Rental & One Summer, Those were my 2 fav's!!
I also read Born To Run, Hissy Fit, Deep Dish & The Island.

I am having a lil party on Monday showing off your fav gifts from Santa:) I'd love ya to link up, details ova at my place:)


Shoshanah said...

We have so many overlaps on this list! I think the only ones I haven't read are The Secret Daughter & The Lover's Dictionary, both of which I have a feeling I'd enjoy too.

Victoria said...

nice list!! i am a book nerd too, i will have to do this on my blog.

i loved sarah's key and the secret daughter!!

a couple of these i will have to put on my library list :)

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I really need to read Divergent! I keep hearing good things about it. I read One Day and absolutely hated it. I didn't even see the movie because of it.

Nicole said...

I needed ideas for my book club this year and looks like I found them!!
we read The Help and saw the movie- that book generated our biggest meet up!
I read the Hunger Games and LOVED it so maybe I need to read more of those types of novels...dystopian (I have never heard of that word till now- i'm so out of the loop!!)