Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year Book Survey for 2011

End of the Year Book Survey for 2011 -- From the Perpetual Page-Turner Blog

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta -- a deeply moving examination of love and loss set against impossible but understandable circumstances.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did? -- Zone One by Colson Whitehead -- I was expecting a novel transcending or redefining the zombie novel, but instead we get a well-written but unprovocative riff on Dawn of the Dead -- lower Manhattan as the mall.

3. 3. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2011? The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides -- I was afraid this novel was going to be a retread of '80s college novels like The Rules of Attraction; instead, it was a mature look at coming to grips with one's abilities and limits.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011? The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, because it's a guy novel, and guys need to read more.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011? The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. The Magicians had been on my to be read list, and when The Magician King came out, I decided to read them both within a short span of time. It's Narnia with adult problems, and it takes the whole magic riff to a challenging, thoroughly uncomfortable and fulfilling level.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011? Chad Harbach (Art of Fielding), Kevin Wilson (The Family Fang), Erin Morgenstern (Night Circus), Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches), Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce -- kind of supernatural chick lit grounded in urban fantasy.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011? Ready Player One by Ernest Cline -- It's poor boy vs. giant corporations in cyberspace, but the story really moved as the main character solved the riddles of the OASIS founder's game.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011? -- Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, but since I couldn't get a copy of the audiobook (Alan Cumming does a great job of reading this series), I'll get to it in 2012.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011? The reprint of The Late, Great Creature by Brock Brower.

11. Most memorable character in 2011? A tossup between Mike Schwartz, the constantly ailing captain and catcher for the college baseball team in The Art of Fielding, and Mitchell Grammaticus, the religious seeker in The Marriage Plot.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011? That would have to be In Cold Blood, which I read for the first time. You can see why Capote came apart after writing that epic.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? Wendy and the Lost Boys by Julie Salamon. The book made me nostalgic for New York theater in the 1980s, and it brought a beloved theatrical figure and her milieu to life.

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2011 to finally read? Newsreel by Irvin Faust. I bought it in 1980 and took 31 years to read it. And it turned out to be an exciting character study of a man haunted by his World War II experiences.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011? I don't have the book in front of me, but it would be the Antarctic sequence in The Magicians, wherein the main characters discover a great deal about themselves after being transformed into geese and flying to Antarctica for rigorous magical training.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? Regeneration by Pat Barker, because I intend to read the other two in her World War I sequence, and I may need to refresh my memory.

Future stuff:

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012? Other than aforementioned Goliath, I'd have to say Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which I've been procrastinating on since 2010.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012? That would be The Sugar-Coated Nutsack, a return to fiction for Mark Leyner.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012? Read 70 books (I read 64 in 2010, a record).

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