The last 8 months in books: May-December 2011 reads

Posted by admin on Jan 5, 2012 in books

The amount of books I read is simply getting ridiculous. Not so much for me- I can easily cope with the heightened surge (summer days/holidays= parks/beaches= abundant literature consumed) but trying to carefully write up everything I read coherently is just not working anymore. I’m so far behind on my book updates that I feel I’ll never catch up again, so I’m going to try a new tactic. Rather than read, summarize and elaborate, I’m now going to list what I’ve read and the few key ones that have stood out will get a more in depth evaluation. If you’re curious about a book I haven’t expanded on, comment below and I promise I’ll answer/ mini review and query if that helps you with your summer reading list.

I’m not certain exactly how many books I read from January to May 2011, but I’m going to conservatively estimate 14 based on this list here. That takes my total to approximately 104 books read in 2011. Yes, some of them were short young adult fiction, and a few were novellas/ Charlaine Harris’ work (read and you’ll know what I mean), but overall, that’s a total I’m happy with.

Last year I enjoyed a lot of young adult fiction. There’s something about the immediacy of this genre that really appeals to me, the intensity of the emotions, the way all the characters really do feel the centre of the universe and just how raw and ready everything is- people experience rather than evaluate and there’s something very exciting of being this involved in the story. During my exploration of this genre I discovered Kevin Brooks, and was really impressed. Kevin is a gritty author with a wonderful way with rhythm and his stories lure you in and don’t let go. The pace is fast, the words bright, and the books all have a sense of magical realism- despite documenting mundane activities. It’s the combination of what might be with the reality that makes these so gripping.

I also managed to finally read some of Sophie Kinsella’s earlier work, whilst she was using the pseudonym Madeleine Wickham. I was warned they were ‘in a different style’, but I didn’t expect them to be this bad! The Tennis Party was a dry tale of middle age and wine, with family complexities and friendship lies. It was so dull, it felt like Jilly Cooper had written a book whilst high on Robinson Fruit squash, it flowed badly, you simply didn’t care about anyone and-worst of all- it wasn’t funny at all!

Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller was fantastic- I had thought it might be sordid or titillating but it actually really resonated and you felt the awkward despair at the illicit affair and understood how it occurred. The two women had this strange Freudian dependent relationship and it was an eerie book to read. I really wanted to like 100 Years of Solitude but I found it hard going, the book meandered around and though it was beautiful in parts I didn’t find myself really connecting and it was a struggle to finish.

Read on for the full list of the 104 books I read this year! Read more…

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