It’s been a tough year, reading-wise. Especially the last half of the year – we had a move and a new baby. That kind of stuff really eats into your reading time! I tried to get at least 1 book per month and succeeded except for October (baby month!), although I kind of “cheated” a bit this fall by reading shorter books.
The overall numbers aren’t too far off the previous years, but I’m not terribly happy with the results. I need to read more next year! Also I did too much re-reading this year: the Foundation series and a few others. Although these books are all highly recommended, I really didn’t get as much out of them (in terms of enjoyment or insight) as the first time. Not really a fan of re-reading things; the first time is always best. I won’t re-read anything in 2012.
Not to say that I didn’t read anything good in 2011; far from the case! I do have some awards to give!
Best Non-fiction: Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Really learned a lot about Joseph. Faith-affirming and inspiring to see how Joseph always tried to do what he thought was right, and how the church and its doctrine progressed by degrees as revelation came.
Non-fiction Runner-up: Over the Edge of the World. What an adventure! The back story about Portugal v Spain, his mutinous crew, and many other details about Magellan’s voyage really highlight how amazing their accomplishment was and how alien of a world (several really) they traveled through.
Best Fiction: Titus Groan. Loved the different personalities. I think it is hard for authors to have really different “voices” sometimes, but Mervyn Peake nailed it. I don’t know why I haven’t continued with the sequel yet … next year!
Fiction Runner-up: Perdido Street Station. Great bit of world building. I would never want to live in New Crobuzon (too dirty/gritty/base), but it’s a fascinating melting pot of weirdness ripe for storytelling. I liked how it wasn’t a convenient “happy” ending, but the ending was a little disappointing all the same – the main plot driver, getting back the power of flight, is never solved.
However that brings me to …
Special Award for Best Ending: The Glass Bead Game. More than anything else I read (or listened to) this year, the ending to The Glass Bead Game had me incredulously muttering/shouting to myself “What??? Huh – how … ??? Like that?” But the more I thought about it, the more beautiful it was. I think I’ll remember it for a long time.