The Sunday Salon: A Year for the Books and a Look Ahead to 2012

Happy New Year!  Hopefully this first day of 2012 finds you happy and healthy, with more of the same in store for you during the next 12 months.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve by taking the kids out for an early (4:30 p.m.) dinner at The Olive Garden and then we just hung out at home.  The kids played the Wii and watched TV; The Husband read and played on his iPad, and I finished up two books: A Clockwork Christmas: A Steampunk Christmas Anthology and How It Ended: New and Collected Stories by Jay McInerney before the clock struck midnight.  The kids were determined to stay up until 12, and this was the year they actually made it.

I admit, I was a little bummed at my year-end reading totals of 69 books (I wanted to try and make it an even 70) until I realized that A Clockwork Christmas is a collection of four novellas … so, those can count as four books, right? (Right!) So … 72 it is. I feel better about that. One of these years (maybe this one?) I’ll reach that elusive 100 books read in a year.

That’s down slightly from my 2010 total of 79 books, but I attribute that to our move this year (which had me being a single parent during the week for five months). As such, my reading slowed down considerably during much of that process. Still, there were several other notable statistics for 2011. (And yeah, I know my math is  a bit screwy in parts … but so be it.)

# of books read = 72
# of female authors read = 38
# of male authors read = 30
# of new authors read = 40
# of pages read = 13,812
# of audiobooks read = 14
# of hours = 148.36 … which translates into 6.1 days!
# of fiction books = 46
# of nonfiction books = 21
# of young adult books = 8
# of poetry collections read = 4
# of memoirs read = 9
# of short story collections read = 5
# of books read from the library = 51

# of books read that I purchased this year = 5
# of books read that I acquired/purchased prior to 2011 = 2 (that is rather pathetic)
# of books read that were review copies (including NetGalley) = 8 (one was an anthology with four novellas)
# of books read on my Kindle = 7 (including the anthology mentioned above)
# of books started but that I didn’t/couldn’t finish = 14 (making this the year of the DNF!)
# of reading challenges joined = 14 (a record!)
# of reading challenges completed = 9 (another record!)
average # of days to finish a book = 5
average # of pages read per day = 37

oldest published book read = The House of the Seven Gables, published in 1851

Authors I read the most:
Michael Cunningham (2 books)
Beth Kephart (2 books)
Jane Mendelsohn (2 books)
Lisa Tucker (2 books)

Of these, I’ve already posted about my Best Fiction, Young Adult, and Short Story Collections I Read in 2011.  I still need to do a post on my picks for Best Nonfiction as well as Best Memoirs, and hopefully I’ll have that up this week.  But before moving on to 2012, here’s a look back at all the books of 2011 that I read (links take you to my reviews):

1. Picnic, Lightning, Poems by Billy Collins
2. Not My Boy! A Dad’s Journey with Autism, by Rodney Peete
3. Poems of Emily Dickinson (Kindle)
4. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, by Jerome Charyn
5. Innocence, by Jane Mendelsohn
6. The Unnamed, by Joshua Ferris
7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
8. Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
9. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
10. Molly Fox’s Birthday, by Deirdre Madden
11. Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine
12. Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds, by Lyndall Gordon
13. Tinkers, by Paul Harding
14. All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost, by Lan Samantha Chang
15. American Salvage (Stories), by Bonnie Jo Campbell
16. Talking with Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, by Rob Sheffield
17. I Curse the River of Time, by Per Petterson
18. Everybody Loves Somebody, by Joanna Scott
19. The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano
20. Room, by Emma Donoghue
21. The Box: Tales from the Darkroom, by Gunter Grass
22. American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Half Its Food (and what we can do about it), by Jonathan Bloom
23. In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time, by Peter Lovenheim
24. Fragile Beasts, by Tawni O’ Dell
25. Carlyle’s House and Other Sketches, by Virginia Woolf
26. The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff
27. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard, by Liz Murray
28. The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon
29. Dangerous Neighbors, by Beth Kephart
30. I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn
31. Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books, by William Kuhn
32. Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
33. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
34. Safe from the Sea, by Peter Geye
35. Repairing Rainbows: A True Story of Family, Tragedy, and Choices, by Lynda Fishman
36. The Best American Poetry 2010, Guest Editor Amy Gerstler, Series Editor David Lehman
37. The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant, by Dan Savage
38. Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy Orenstein
39. Children and Fire, by Ursula Hegi
40. Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home, by Caitlin Shetterly
41. By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham
42. Ford County, Stories by John Grisham
43. Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World, by Leslie R. Crutchfield, John V.  Kania, and Mark R. Kramer
44. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
45. The Winters in Bloom, by Lisa Tucker
46. Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who are Rewriting the Rules, by Pamela Haag
47.Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resiliance, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand
48. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
49. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
50. Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork
51. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
52. The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
53. The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary E. Pearson
54. The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard
55. You Are My Only, by Beth Kephart
56. Questioning Walls Open, Poems by Jennifer Hill Kaucher
57. Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family, by Miep Gies
58. Once Upon a Day, by Lisa Tucker
59. Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen
60. Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are, by Robert Rave and Jane Rave
61. The CHICK-tionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know, by Anna Lefler
62. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, Stories by Yiyun Li
63. High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never, by Barbara Kingsolver
64. Love on the Big Screen, by William Torgerson
65. A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham
66. Voices of Our Time: The Original Live Interviews, by Studs Terkel
67. Precipice, by Melissa Luznicky Garrett
A Clockwork Christmas: A Steampunk Christmas Anthology (4 novellas)
       68. Crime Wave in a Corset, by Stacy Gail
       69. This Winter Heart, by PG Forte
       70. Wanted: One Scoundrel, by Jenny Schwartz
       71. Far From Broken, by JK Coi
72. How It Ended: New and Collected Stories, by Jay McInerney

I haven’t set any reading or blogging goals for myself this year. I’ve slacked off a bit on my reviews (there are several that are written but just not posted yet) and I want to do a better job of keeping up with my NetGalley reviews. I’m incredibly behind with those. My only other goal is my perpetual goal of reading more from the stacks of books I currently own. (Hopefully the Mt. TBR Reading Challenge – of which I’ve set a goal of reading 40 of my own books! – will help with that.)

To begin my reading year of 2012, I’m starting with a collection of poetry – just as I did last year – and I selected from my shelves the appropriately named Book of Days by Jennifer Hill-Kaucher. I bought this last fall when I visited Paper Kite Press and Books in Kingston, PA, which is owned by Jennifer and her husband Dan Waber.


After Book of Days, I’m planning to read Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. I really liked The School of Essential Ingredients and this one (about a group of women who, upon celebrating their friend’s recovery from cancer, decide to promise to do one thing in the next year that terrifies them) looks just as good … and perfect for New Years!

Hope your 2012  is wonderful!

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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2 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: A Year for the Books and a Look Ahead to 2012

  1. Peppermint Ph.D.

    I haven’t begun to keep stats like so many of you do…but my numbers pale in comparison as well. I’m challenging myself this year though to read 52 books at least…1 per week…keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

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