January 1, 2012

Favourite Books of 2011

In keeping with tradition, I have compiled a list of my best reads from the past year. Same rules as always - I must have read the book for my first time in 2011 (i.e. no re-reads); though it doesn't matter when the book was written/published. Any genre counts - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novel, kid-lit.

So here goes, in a not-quite-random order. I have linked the books to my original reviews.

1. Le Petit Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) - I'm not counting this as a re-read, since it was my first time reading it in the original French.

2. Compassion and Solidarity (Gregory Baum) - for it's ability to change the way I look at the world.

3. The Best Laid Plans (Terry Fallis) - for sheer, laugh-out-loud humour!

4. Alone in the Classroom (Elizabeth Hay) - for the beauty of the storytelling.

5. Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John (Jean Vanier) - for a combination of beautiful writing and a profound message.

6. Cool Water (Dianne Warren) - for it's ability to evoke a sense of place.

7. Skim (Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki) - for taking me back to high school.

8. In Praise of Slow (Carl Honoré) - for validating my own opinion

9. The Beggar's Garden (Michael Christie) - for re-instating my love of short stories.

10. After Tehran (Marina Nemat) - for her courage in telling her story.

And if I may do so, I would like to give honourable mention to Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harries, for pure, guilty pleasure!

A few random observations on my reading in the past year:
  • I hit a real reading slump in January and February. I was re-reading old favourites, and not blogging, which put my post-count way down for the year.
  • My top 10 list is very balanced this year - 4 non-fiction; 1 short-story collection; 1 graphic novel; 3 English novels; and 1 French novel!
  • I suspect that giving up fiction for Lent pushed up my non-fiction count for the year (but that was one of my goals at this time last year).
  • Still lots of Canadian authors on my top 10 list!
  • In July, I decided to participate in the 5th Canadian Book Challenge at The Book Mine Set (my 3rd year participating); but to increase the challenge (and to give me an excuse to re-read old books), I decided that I would attempt to re-read and review 13 Canadian Books. 6 months in, and I've only managed to re-read 3, so I'm going to have to push myself to finish the challenge this year. I guess that is the point of a challenge!
So here's to happy reading in 2012!


John Mutford said...

Oh dear, the only one on your list that I've read is Skim. The Best Laid Plans is on my tbr but I'm a little nervous. Humour is such a personal taste, I'm afraid I won't like it. Glad to see it here though, it gives me some hope.

Kate said...

John - there are some good Canadian books on my list! While humour is definitely a personal taste, I haven't heard of anyone not enjoying The Best Laid Plans (unless you are a die-hard Conservative voter - and I doubt that a die-hard Conservative voter would be drawn to this book).