Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorite Reads in 2011

Favorite books in 2011! 
(Note - read in 2011, not necessarily published in 2011. Book titles linked to my reviews.)

Adult Fiction:
  1. Children of Paranoia (Children of Paranoia #1) by Trevor Shane - it's dystopian but not quite dystopian as it could happen right now. It's a thriller but not quite a thriller. But what it really is, is a love story.
  2. The Human Bobby by Gabe Rotter - the plot took me by surprise and I love a good twist!
  3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - I wasn't into Magical Realism until I read this book. This was my first Sarah Addison Allen book, and I ended up reading all her 4 books this year, though the rest were just okay for me. I liked it better when the magic is possible and explainable (I know, it's contradictory to what magic is... but I have a logical mind...)
  4. Honorable mention: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry - this book grew on me I think. I only gave it a 3.5 stars after I read it, but the story has staying power and I like that it doesn't have a typical ending.
  5. Honorable mention: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley- while the plot isn't the best, the main protagonist is memorable! Flavia may be my favorite character in 2011! The other character would be John from I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells but this book didn't make it as a favorite for me.

Young Adult Fiction:
  1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - last book read in 2011 - just finished it an hour ago! Wow. I don't read a lot of YA, or historical fiction, but this is both, and it made me cry like a baby. Review to come!
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth - YA Dytopian. I can't wait to read Book 2! Not quite as good as the Hunger Games, but I do like it. Review to come!
  3. Honorable mention: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie - wasn't as action packed as Divergent, but I'll still read Book 2 (reserved!)

  1. Totto-Chan: The Little Girl At The Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi - this is kinda a re-read for me, and I don't re-read. I have read the Chinese version (originally written in Japanese) many, many times when I was much younger. The last time I read it was at least 10 years ago. This is the first time I read the English version, and it still has the same effect on me as it did before. This is one of my favorite reads ever, not just in 2011.
  2. Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan - Very inspiring!
  3. Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas - Food and business memoir, and I was inspired by Achatz's drive and creativity.
  4. Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff - not usually a history fan, but I was hooked to find out what happened! Also read this one together with husband and it was fun as we got to discuss the book along the way.
  5. Honorable mention: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - Being Chinese, I could relate to some of it (lucky for me that I could not relate to ALL of it!)
  6. Honorable mention: A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard - Just couldn't imagine what she had to go through when she was imprisoned for so many years, not just a stolen life, but a lost childhood.
  7. Honorable mention: Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan - more food and memoir! I want to try out some of the recipes. Review to come!

Most disappointed books read in 2011:
  1. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova - not a bad book, but I had such high expectation since I loved Still Alice.  This book just didn't have the same impact on me and I didn't feel emotional like I did with Still Alice.
  2. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman - also not a bad read by itself, but I really liked the first book If I Stay (also an emotional read for me) but this one fell short.


  1. I look forward to reading The Human Bobby, I knew that would be on your list. So we do have similar styles for characters. Flavia was mine last year and John this year. Glad appreciated him even though you were thrown by the story.

    I feel the same about Left Neglected, it was my anxiously waiting book for 2011.

    Can't wait to see what we love this year. I'm going for one of your favorite authors, JeffreyD.

  2. I like how you broke it down. I didn't read a lot of non fiction at all. I have Divergent waiting for me. I'm glad it's on your top list!

  3. @Marce - I can't wait to hear what you think about The Human Bobby! Can't say it's my favorite book ever, but it just took me by surprise (in a good way). Definitely start with The Bone Collector if you try JeffreyD! I think we do feel the same way about characters, I am just more picky when it comes to plots :)

    @Michelle - I was debating whether to read Divergent, but I am glad I did! I think when it comes to YA, I just need to be very specific - dystopian I like, historical may be okay, but since I don't read adult chicklit, YA chicklit is even worse for me...

  4. I loved The Human Bobby for its twists and turns, as well! Between Shades of Gray was another winner for me - great historical book! And, Little Princes - another winner!

    Happy New Year!

  5. @Thoughts of Joy - Even though I didn't love that many books out of the 90+ I read last year, the ones I do really like are definitely very good ones!