Well, this week has been a fun trip down literary memory lane. Unlike last year, I (thankfully) didn’t read enough egregiously horrendous books to warrant a Worst of 2011 list, so I modified last year’s end-of-year survey and decided to end with a bunch of randomness that didn’t fit in anywhere else:
Oldest book read: A Vindication on the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft, first published in 1792.
Longest book read: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir; my edition clocked in at 976 pages.
Most-read review: Surprisingly, it was She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor. Who would’ve thought? But I have a feeling if I’d published my review of Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar earlier in the year, it would easily win in a landslide.
Favorite bookish moment: Meeting Sandra Cisneros, then finding out she linked to my blog from her Facebook page! That remains the most-viewed post of all time on this blog. But seriously, I could care less about the stats…I met Sandra Cisneros!
Guiltiest pleasure: Sweet Valley Confidential. The writing is atrocious, but the book rocks my world. And you know what? I don’t even feel guilty about saying that! 😀
Most pleasant surprise: The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad felt almost surreal. I loved it.
Favorite blogger recommendation: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which came recommended by Heather of Capricious Reader. That book slayed me.
Most disappointing: Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Sex, edited by Erica Jong. It made me really mad.
Biggest triumph: Hands down, The Second Sex! Gawd…there were times I didn’t think I was gonna make it. But I’m glad I did!
Favorite reread: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I’d forgotten how much I loved that book!
Most disturbing: I know I keep saying how unsettling Bonnie Nadzam’s Lamb is, but Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels also had its moments. The book is incredible. Seriously disturbing, but incredible. And Jamrach’s Menagerie…I really wasn’t prepared for what happened. At all.
Favorite new-to-me authors I discovered in 2011: Jennifer Haigh, Manuel Muñoz, Michael Chabon, Ernessa T. Carter, Francisco Goldman, Margo Lanagan, and Jesmyn Ward.
Favorite book covers of 2011:
Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011: Cherrie Moraga’s A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness was major for me in terms of Chicana identity politics and the importance of embracing the past. The Arab and Arab American Feminisms anthology was eye-opening and led to many book purchases; I’m especially dying to read more books by Palestinian authors.
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read: East of Eden. I’ve had it on my shelf for years, and I never read it…PURE MADNESS! I think it’s one of my favorite books of all time now. Also: you can officially consider me a Steinbeck groupie.