Saturday, December 31, 2011

My shelf life: 2011

Alright. The year is quickly coming to a close, so it only makes sense to bare my 2011 reading list to the world. Let's all pretend you care for just a moment.

I'm not sure how to label myself as a reader. I plowed through 32 books and a total of 11,358 pages this year. That puts me at just over 31 pages per day. In other words, I'm a piker compared to other book bloggers, and a veritable reading machine compared to the general public. Given everything that's on my plate, I'd give myself a grade of "not too shabby" for 2011.

Here's the complete list, in the order I tackled them, along with their respective page counts (top 10 reads are in bold):

  1. Blue Heaven, C.J. Box   352
  2. On Writing, Stephen King   288
  3. The Red Dancer, Richard Skinner   272
  4. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking   248
  5. All the Pretty Horses, Cormack McCarthy   301
  6. The Lost City of Z, David Gann   352
  7. King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard    320
  8. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card   324
  9. Our Town, Thornton Wilder   112
  10. The Road, Cormack McCarthy   256
  11. Trojan Oddyssey, Clive Cussler   480
  12. Smoke From This Alter, Louis L’Amour   75
  13. The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, Vol IV   672
  14. Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck   619
  15. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky   480
  16. The Associate, John Grisham   434
  17. Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton  256
  18. The Appeal, John Grisham   384
  19. Animal Farm, George Orwell   128
  20. 2666, Roberto Bolano   912
  21. The Chosen, Chaim Potok   284
  22. A Mercy, Toni Morrison   176
  23. Don Segundo Sombra, Ricardo Guiraldes   212
  24. Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev   226
  25. The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon   565
  26. 1984, George Orwell   326
  27. The Elements of Style, Strunk & White   176
  28. Death in Venice & Other Tales, Thomas Mann   476
  29. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner   288
  30. A Room With A View, E.M. Forster   321
  31. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad   451
  32. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner   592

As you can see above, I'm not a complete book snob, though my favorites tended overwhelmingly to be classics or high literary fiction. All told, that's 17 so-called classics, 7 works of commercial fiction, 2 short story collections, 2 non-fiction reads, 2 books on writing, 1 poetry collection and 1 play. Continuing on the assumption that you care, here is the breakdown by page count:

It's kind of interesting to take a look back and see how you spent your reading life in the past year. What about you? What did you read this year? What were your favorites? What stunk? What should I pick up in 2012? Show us your cards...


  1. I love this post. It motivated me to add up my totals: 42 books/9549 pages + 9 audiobooks/4603 would-be pages = 51 total books/14,152 total pages.
    16 literature/Classics
    22 young-adult books (failing to keep up with my kids there)
    1 commercial fiction
    1 poetry
    6 non-fiction
    5 biography
    Hard to pick my top ten, but my some of my favorites were:
    The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
    The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
    City of Thieves by David Benioff
    A Separate Peace by John Knowles
    Rawhide Down by Del Quentin Wilber
    The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins
    and the Harry Potter series on audio

    I've added some of yours to my to-read list for next year. Great suggestions, and great blog! Thanks for your hard work!

  2. My list isn't 100% accurate, I'm missing all the books I read in January somehow. Oh, and I'm an idiot. I forgot to add the book I finished yesterday: Increase in Learning by David A. Bednar. This brings my total to 52 books/14,359 pages. I guess it'd be in the non-fiction category (religious) and it's definitely on my list of favorites.

  3. Angle of Repose wasn't in your top 10 for the year? It's in my top ten EVER!

  4. Michelle, you've put me to shame. Though, I guess if I tallied up all the Henry Huggins and Magic Treehouse books I read with my son I might come close- (no legitimate YA titles at our house just yet.)

    Tucker, I actually wrote this post before the holidays, and before I finished Angle of Repose (which I still didn't manage to do before the new year.) I have a couple hundred pages to go, but at this point I can easily say that it is top ten material. I'm lovin' me some Stegner.

  5. Here are my totals- Total books read (completed): 96
    Total pages read in said books: 28,624

    I'm a little disappointed to have fallen just short of 100 books for the year and I'm a little disappointed with the stack of books that are started but not yet finished. I still need to look at my list and determine the breakdown by type of literature. Definitely interesting to look at. We have only a couple of overlaps, but I'm adding a few of yours to my list for this year.

  6. Sheesh. Now I'm feeling really inadequate!