I love analyzing stats from the previous year—and since I started keeping a book journal in 1998 I can provide 100% accurate stats of what I've read. [Aside: I was reluctant to start a book journal back then because I was mad at myself for not having started sooner. I am SO GLAD I got over myself, because now I look back and have 13 years worth of personal, priceless record of something that's very important to me. Moral of the story: get over yourself (about whatever you're mad about not starting sooner) and start.] I've since moved my book-keeping to Goodreads, but am just as fanatical about keeping track.
After studying my reading stats from this past year I was surprised about a few things: first of all, I only read 35 books. Of those 35 books, 18 were jFiction and 6 were YA fiction. I reread three books, and awarded ten "five stars" (all three of the books I reread made the five star list). 8/10 five star books fit into that jFiction category. 35 books is on the very low-end of what I normally finish in a year, and while I am thoroughly enjoying all the jFiction I've been reading, it seems like I should be able to get through more when the books move a little faster. [Note: we read hundreds of picture books throughout the year, but I don't count those toward my yearly stats total.]
My only reading goal for 2012: read more than 35 books. : )
+ Annie Barrows appears twice; she wrote The Magic Half which Maddie and I read for her book club at school, and she completed the manuscript that her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer, wrote but died before it was published (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). I might read it every other year until I'm 100.
+ I did not register that the cover of Sweetly had a witch's face on it until after I finished the book. Ahem. I also stink at Magic Eye pictures, or whatever they're called.
+ A camera plays a central role in The Luck of the Buttons. The end.
+ Rereads: Water for Elephants, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring. I am one of the biggest John Bellairs fans alive. It's interesting, because I really don't care for creepy things—horror movies, Stephen King books, the HBO show Carnivale (even the theme song of that show creeped me out) but John Bellairs, creepy as he may have been, struck the perfect balance for me. I am regularly surprised how few people seem to know his books.
+ 2011 might be the year of Frank Cottrell Boyce. It's funny, because I decided to read Millions this fall a few years after seeing and loving the movie; the book fell a little short for me—good, fine, but not amazing. The other two books of his I read, however, were fantastic. I actually photocopied the author's note from Framed so I could go back and read it/look some things up. And The Forgotten Coat is wonderful. A little sad, but in the end, just as it probably should have been. Wow. Lucky juveniles and their fiction.
+ The Penderwicks at Point Mouette was charming. Just as the first and second in the series were. Hurry up, Jeanne Birdsall!! We're impatient for #4!
+ Penny Dreadful was light, fun, and well-written. I think there is a small section of my brain responsible for judging books as I might have when I was 9 or 10, and this one rated well there.
The most unsatisfactory book I read all year was Modoc by Ralph Helfer. I enjoyed it immensely until I did some research when I finished and discovered IT WAS ALL MADE UP. Hmph. There's a category for that, and it's called fiction.
How about you? What were the best books you read in 2011?