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End-of-Year Book Survey

I have yet to think about my favorite books of 2011 because the year is not over. But this wonderful book survey from Dolce Bellezza helps me think in retrospection. It’s an end of 2011 survey to reflect on this year’s best and worst reads.

1. Best Book(s) You Read in 2011?

(Do I want to give away my Best Books list? Here are a few, you have to wait until New Year’s Eve for the full list.)
A Moveable feast Ernest Hemingway
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner

2. Most Disappointing Book?

Divisadero Michael Ondaajte. Ondaatje deftly blurs the form and delivers (as his words in the quote suggest) one monologue full of coincidence, recurrence, echoes of the past, and reflections across time and place. The prose is lyrical and exudes an elegiac quietude, but I can’t help feeling the perfecting of form at the expense of an abandoned story is too much of a sacrifice.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

Sherman’s Chaplain David Bellin. It’s truly a gem of a book—compact, tough, and utterly beautiful. The epistolary format renders the story so real that almost every time I begin to read a new missive, I cannot help reflect: this cannot be fiction. Based on the true story of Sherman’s march from Atlanta to Savannah, the chaplain chronicles his musings and inner struggles, bringing to life the enormity of the task that Sherman’s army was facing.

4. Book(s) you recommended to people most in 2011?

Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
The Fountainhead Ayn Rand

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?


6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Stewart O’Nan
Wallace Stegner
Maggie O’Farrell

7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton

8. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris Edmund White. Not a new book in 2011, but I looked forward to reading it because I was going to Paris.

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

10. Most memorable character in 2011?

Howard Roark from The Fountainhead.

11. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner

12. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

The Crying Tree Naseem Rakha. The ultimate revelation of one secret pieces it all together, in a memorable but painstaking manner. What the family in this novel has clung on for survival becomes the very thing that robs them of their life. It just shows how immense of the distance between understanding and acceptance.

13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

Dandelion Wine Ray Bradbury.

14. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

“Why, no. I’m too conceited. If you want to call it that. I don’t make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. I’m an utter egotist.” The Fountainhead

15. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner.

16. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Alternatives to Sex Stephen McCauley. It’s so right on about some of the gays that make me very frustrated. “What depressed me so profoundly was that they’d constructed a twisted moral code that allowed them to behave horrendously while still believing they were doing good.”

That’s it for now. Make sure you come back to read about my best books of the 2011 on New Year’s Eve.


10 Responses

  1. I loved this post…I was surprised to see the Kate Morton book on here but also delighted as I own this one. I made a note on my Goodreads account to read Sherman’s Chaplain after I read your review of it. I’m doing my own challenge next year which comprises of reading my favorite bloggers favorite books. I choose East of Eden from your list last year but I think I just may read Hemingway!!

    Happy Holidays..hope you’re having a wonderful time in Las Vegas!

  2. Oh you really make me want to read The Forgotten Garden!

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  3. I will try to build one for my end-of-year review. thanks for sharing yours. I am still struggling to plough through my Faulkner (Absalom, Absalom!)

  4. I just finished Wolf Hall and absolutely loved it. A Moveable Feast is one of my favorite books as well; I was blown away by it and made more notes on that book than any other I’ve read in a while.

  5. I have Wolf Hall around here somewhere. I guess I need to read it. Have a Merry Christmas.

  6. The Crying Tree sounds great. My post will go up Tues. Happy Holidays

  7. I loved seeing Rand’s The Fountainhead on here several times. Truly, an unforgettable book in my opinion as well. I’ve read it several times, and now you’ve put me in the mood to read it again (most likely to reread in 2012? 🙂 I also love Atlas Shrugged, which, I fear, America is beginning to actualize in real life. But, that’s a subject for another post. Glad to see that we both have A Movable Feast on our top lists! I’ll be back for your New Year’s post with the full list.

  8. Love this survey! Stegner, Hemingway, and O’Nan appear in my answers, too. Think I’ve mentioned it before, but Crossing to Safety is probably my favorite book.

  9. There are so many on your list so far that I want to read. I’d love to reread The Sound and the Fury this year. I was so frustrated with the book and myself as a reader when I read it in college (so many years ago) and I would love to see what my middle-aged brain would think about it now!

  10. I’m more intrigued than ever that you have chosen “The hand that first held mine” to be your year’s fav. I have it in my pile now. Can’t wait to get to it!

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