2011: End Of The Year Book Survey

I came across this meme at Literary Musings. Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner has created an end of 2011 survey to reflect on this year's best and worst reads.

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a reread for me. I first read the book in 2005 and I had a lukewarm response to it then. I think it helped that I knew the ending this time so I could just concentrate on the characters and their story. The author in a Time magazine interview, admits that: ” … in a funny sort of way, I almost wanted the mystery aspect to be taken away so that people could concentrate on other aspects of the book.” This proved to be true for me.

    2. Most Disappointing Book?
    • Hands down it's 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I usually love reading Murakami and in fact I've listed two of his novels in My Reader's Table however I read Book 1 and Book 2 of this and I'm so disappointed that I refuse to read Book 3. It started off well but then went off on several bizarre tangents. This was just too weird for me. I can suspend disbelief quite easily but little people coming out of goats just takes the cake! 

      3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
      • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I bought this for my son's 6th birthday and we enjoyed reading it together. It has beautiful drawings and is actually a homage to Georges Melies one of the forefathers of the movies. We can't wait to see the film directed by Martin Scorsese. The trailer looks incredible!

        4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
        • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I loved this for its sheer beauty. This is a book about memories, love, loss, loneliness, longing and managing to go on living after the one we love is gone. Heartbreaking and touching. 

          5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
          • Besides The Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin (more on this below), its got to be the Mathew Shardlake mysteries by C.J. Sansom. I read the first three books this year. Mathew Shardlake is a hunchback solicitor during the Tudor era who solves mysteries much in the same vein as Umberto Eco's The Name of The Rose minus the Latin. The books are in chronological order so it's best if you read them starting with the first book Dissolution and move on from there. 

          6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
          •  Tom Rachman. I truly enjoyed reading his witty and also tragic novel, The Imperfectionists.
          • China Meiville. I've only read The City and the City but I intend to try some of his other books in the future.
          • George R.R. Martin. Reading and watching The Game of Thrones was so much fun.

          7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
          • Snowdrops by A.D. Miller. I know many people were not thrilled that this was on the Booker shortlist but it's actually a very good book. On the surface it appears to be just a simple and predictable thriller but it's not. It has a lot of depth and complexity underneath. It's about a man's moral compass that slowly spirals out of control. 

          8. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
          • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami much to my disappointment (see above). I'm also looking forward to reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  

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

          • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. I picked up this book because of the beautiful cover and it turned out to be quite a riveting and clever book. 

          10. Most memorable character in 2011?
          • Too many to name but here are a few - Oskar from Extremely Loud, Arya from The Game of Thrones, Tommy from Never Let Me Go.

          11. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
          • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 
          12. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
          • In the Garden of Beasts by the master of the non-fiction narrative, Erik Larson. I'm reading this right now and so far I've learned so much about what really happened in Berlin from 1933-1938. 

          13. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
          • Persuasion by Jane Austen. I had to read it for my book club and not surprisingly it was a beautiful read however I did wonder beforehand what we would actually have to talk about. We ended up having a wonderful discussion that covered so many different points not only from the book but about society and women's roles then and now.

          14. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
          • There wasn't a quote or passage that really stood out for me this year so I'm going to choose - "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." from The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin just because I loved the series and the first book and now I've started reading Book 2, The Clash of Kings and so far so good. 

          15. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
          • Probably one of my best comfort reads, the Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane mysteries by Dorothy Sayers beginning with Strong Poison

          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!
          • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. After reading this, I was dying to talk to someone about it so I posted my review here.I guess a lot of readers felt the same way because since then (August 31st) this post has generated over 6000 hits and over 70 comments. Amazing I know! 


          1. Interesting list -- thanks. I still haven't read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I have to make a New Year's resolution reading list.

          2. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm disappointed in 1Q84, too. What a fascinating list of questions, and it was such fun to read your responses. I loved Martin's Game of Thrones, too! Will have to think about my answers and respond on my own blog. Thanks for sharing.

          3. Great list -- I feel the same way about Game of Thrones. It's not the best-written book of the year but the characters are so vivid, I keep wondering what's going to happen to them all! I've been listening to A Storm of Swords on audio and the story is great but the reader does tend to make some of the characters sound like pirates.

          4. What a great meme. Looks like you had a very bookish 2011! Happy Holidays!

          5. I love end of year memes! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's Best of 2011 posts :-)

            I LOVE Persuasion, I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

          6. What a thoughtful list. I'm with you on Never Let Me Go... as we've shared on our blog comments. Cathy is a memorable character for me. I've also noted several disappointments with 1Q84 at the book blogs I visit. I didn't even attempt since it's such a long book. And about Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, are you aware that a film adaptation is coming out this week? You might like to check it out ... and compare. Thanks for a most interesting post!

          7. I agree about 1Q84, felt a bit of a chore to read and even though I borrowed book 3 (at the same time as book 1 and 2, intending to read all three) from library I returned it today, unread.

            Very interesting post!

          8. What a wonderful post, I may have to "borrow" this in a few days :)

          9. I agree totally on 1Q84 (I admit in my mind I call it IQ 84) it was both my most anticipated book-for a long time-and my biggest disappointment of the year. I finished as I felt I needed to.

          10. I was a huge fan of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close when I read it last year. I haven't reread it yet, but I'm glad to hear you recommended it to so many people!

          11. That is a gorgeous cover! Never Let Me Go was one of the best of the year I read it.

            Hugo Cabret has been on so many end-year lists that I'm bumping up on the wish-list!

          12. Never Let Me Go looks like a big winner here! I would have included it in my 2011 best books list, but I read it around late 2010.

            And oh, about Julian Barnes's recent masterpiece, I had a lot of ranting about it like you had (more or less). I had the luck of getting a free copy of it by merely participating in a reading group. :)

          13. Unfortunately I was really excited to read The Marriage Plot and I was SO disappointed! I haven't finished 1Q84 yet, either. I dunno. I'm just not super into it right now.


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