2011 Book Roundup

Every year I set myself the goal of reading 52 books per year. I’ve only met that goal once since 2006 when I started keeping track of the books I read, but it does – sometimes – inspire me to read a book instead of a webpage. This year I read 46 books. For some reason, my reading seems to drop off in the fall.

I’ve been reading the Giller Prize shortlist every year since 2007 and, after another tedious slog through five books I never would have read otherwise, I’ve decided that I’m not putting myself through that again. I am giving up the Gillers.


My top five for 2011:

1. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
So pure and so overflowing with love that it creates the most beautiful little ache in your chest.

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Read it to feel instantly smarter and more well-rounded.

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Instant and enjoyable sci-fi cred.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The last book of the year and not the first of the new year because I couldn’t put it down.

5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
No tricks, just exquisite subtleties, an expertly unfolded masterpiece.


My bottom five for 2011:

1. The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud
How did this win the Giller Prize? The most disappointing of a disappointing lot.

2. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Sarah opens her lock a third of the way through the story, and that shuts the door on what’s worthwhile about this book.

3. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Just goes to show that you can go to the most magical place on Earth (that’s Oz, not Disneyland) and still have an excruciatingly boring time.

4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My sense of humour must be sorely lacking, because as I waded through the absurdist comedy looking for anything else in this book, it stopped being funny.

5. Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood
No more of Atwood’s stagnant general fiction for me – give me her exhilarating speculative fiction such as The Penelopiad, which almost made my top five list.