Readerly Reflections on 2011

I hate doing posts like these before the END end of the year because I wind up doing so much post-Christmas reading and I inevitably leave something out, but I suppose I’ll try. This list contains children’s books, YA books, and grown-up books. One of the things I’m happiest about in my reading life is that I try to read a variety of books. Oh, and not all of these books were published in 2011. You can see my complete list at GoodReads. At this point, I’ve read 346 books this year. I hope to hit 365 by December 31!



I know I should have linked all the book titles to the authors’ websites or to my reviews, but that seemed like too much work and I wanted this to be fun.

Books I Liked That Got Some Hype
But Not As Much As They Should Have

  • The Aviary, Kathleen O’Dell
  • Packing for Mars, Mary Roach
  • No Passengers Beyond This Point, Gennifer Choldenko
Books That Lived Up To The Hype
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
  • Divergent, Veronica Roth
  • Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick
  • Hound Dog True, Linda Urban
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne Valente
  • Marty McGuire, Kate Messner
  • Me… Jane, Patrick McDonnell

Books That I Really Don’t Understand
Why Anyone Published Them

  • Pomelo Begins to Grow, Romanoa Badescu
  • Skippyjon Jones, Class Action, Judy Schachner
  • Pretty Princess Pig, Jane Yolen
  • The Green Mother Goose, David Davis
  • Charlie the Ranch Dog, Ree Drummond

Books That I Couldn’t Finish (but I still plan on trying!)

  • Small as an Elephant, Jennifer Richard Jacobson
  • Wildwood, Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis

Book That Was Good But Totally Ruined
by an Overdescriptive Back Cover Blurb

  • The Magnolia League, Katie Crouch

Books I Randomly Picked Up And Really Liked

  • Vintage Knitwear, Marnie Fogg
  • Sharing Our World, Ian Reid
  • Modelland, Tyra Banks (OH GOD HOW?)
  • The Melancholic Mermaid, Kallie George
  • How To Build Your Own Country, Valerie Wyatt

Grown-Up Books You Should Read

Best Books With a Message

  • Three By the Sea, Mini Grey
  • Bigger than a Bread Box, Laurel Snyder
  • The Fences Between Us, Kirby Larson

Books I Want To Hold Onto And Cuddle
And Reread Again And Again

  • Amelia Lost, Candace Fleming
  • I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen
  • Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Mo Willems
  • The Quiet Book / The Loud Book, Deborah Underwood

Best Author Discoveries/Rediscoveries

  • Gerald McDermott
  •  William Steig
  •  Kate Messner
  •  Jackson Pearce
  •  Andy Runton
Agree? Disagree? Wonder why I made the choices I did? Let’s chat in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Readerly Reflections on 2011”

  1. Wildwood. Why the stall out? Also, would it be good for two adults to read aloud to each other?

    The Hunger Games. If I’m finally convinced to read it, what mindset should I go into it with? action/adventure? dystopian social commentary?

    Also: If you were awarding your own Caldecott to any book you discovered this year, which one?

    1. The beginning of Wildwood reeked of Portlandia to me. I mean, duh, it’s set in Portland, but I think when I started it I was tired of the prospect of reading First-World-Problem-Pacific-Northwest-Existential-Crisis-Shared-Through-a-Children’s-Book. Which is why I still plan on reading it, but when I’ve gotten myself into a better mood.

      I’d go into the Hunger Games thinking of it as this generation’s The Giver. I wouldn’t read much about it beforehand, because as I mentioned in my post about The Magnolia League, I’ve fallen prey to spoilers lately. It’s definitely plot-driven, and the second book is my favorite.

      omg, what a question. Based SOLEY on illustrations alone, I’d give it to Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul, with Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck a CRAZYCLOSE second. Patricia McKissack’s Never Forgotten was also gorgeous.

      1. Hm. The whole First-World-Problem-Pacific-Northwest-Existential-Crisis-Shared-Through-EVERYTHING has become sometimes ridiculous and sometimes nostalgic to me now that we’re Midwesterners again.

        And for your illustration picks, beautiful, beautiful, and OMG THE DILLONS!

        Thanks, Shannon.

  2. Your book choices are intriguing – especially your adult books. They are now on my reading list and my reserve list at the public library however. That’s how I do most of my reading. How about you? It appears you have a massive personal library.

    P.S. HOW do you accomplish so much reading?

    1. Thanks so much! After I began trying to downsize my life last year, I realized I had little use for owning physical copies of books, so the only books my husband and I purchase for our personal collection are either books we anticipate reading again (like the Disappearing Spoon) or when we receive gift cards. Toby purchases sci fi books too, because he doesn’t read fast enough to make the library due date. :) We have many books at home still, mostly from our respective childhoods, that we love and treasure. Surprisingly, we don’t have many duplicates (the Brian Jacques books, e.e. cummings’ poetry, and A Brief History of Time are some we share) When I get the urge to buy a children’s book, I usually buy it for my classroom, our school library, or our magnet middle school’s library.

      I don’t watch much TV, so I read during the time that I think others spend watching. This year, I also started taking the bus to work, which gives me a great chunk of reading time. When do you usually read?

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