The. End.

2011 has come to an end and so I thought I would jump on the wrap-up post bandwagon and do one of my own.

2011 has been a big year for me. I certainly haven't done as much reading as I ordinarily would but I have read quite a few wonderful books in between all the other things that have been keeping me very busy.

So far the highlight has been receiving my Sony Reader from my wonderful boyfriend for Christmas. Although it could be the novelty value, I have to admit that it is much better than I expected it to be. I can't stop playing with it; adding books, creating collections. It's incredible to think that I can carry so many books around with me. It isn't the feel of a book (which I will always love) but it is just so incredibly light and portable it makes reading a whole new experience. Already I have 114 new books that I don't have to find shelf space for!

Enough of that gushing. It's time for the roundup.

I have split it into four sections. If there is one section that particularly interests you, please click on the title to be taken directly to that section. Other wise happy browsing!

A quick word before I begin - I wrote this post before I read the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Had I read them before I wrote this post, they most certainly would have won at least a couple of these categories, for example, Biggest Page Turner and they definitely get an Honourable Mention as well.

Best book of 2011
Easily Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My girlfriends and I decided to read this as part of our book club and quickly became not only the best book read of 2011, but one of the best books I have ever read. Jane Eyre has everything I like in a book. Beautiful writing, adventure, strong female character, adventure, heartache, romance and much much more. 

Honourable mentions
Honourable mentions go to the following three books. 
The Messenger by Markus Zusak: Most of us by now have read The Book Thief, but this is another book from the brilliant Australian author Markus Zusak. It's unique, well written, tense and a complete page turner. 
Swords and Crowns and Rings by Ruth Park: Ruth Park is incredible. What else is there to say. If you haven't read anything by her, now is the time to start. I have read several, but this Miles Franklin award winning novel about the love story between dwarf Jackie Hanna and his childhood friend Cushie Maloy is one of the saddest and happiest romances I have ever read. I loved this book so much, I wasn't capable of reviewing it. 
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham I love John Wyndham but there was something about this one that stood out for me. It was a scary glimpse of a possible future, one that it is almost too easy to envisage actually occurring at some point in the very distant future (although without the mutants). If you are looking for something different, give this one a try. 

Books I really wanted to love, but found disappointing instead
Of those that I finished reading, the most disappointing was Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. Having enjoyed Jane Eyre so much I had high expectations for this book, but sadly I found the writing to needlessly dense that I had trouble connecting to the story.
Most boring
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne was far too bogged down in scientific detail to be anything other than boring.  

Most unique
A Child's Book of True Crime by Chloe Hooper: this book was... unique. It is a debut novel by an Australian writer, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002. It was dark, it was creepy, it was different.

The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke was hilarious. It is a detective story, very Jasper Fforde-esque. The protagonist, Harry Pig, is a private detective hired by Grimm Town's richest inhabitant, Mr Aladdin, to find his stolen lamp. If you like Jasper Fforde, this is a book you would also love.

Most out of my comfort zone
This would definitely be The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale. I say that this was the most out of my comfort zone because it is non-fiction, which I very rarely read. It was however interesting in two ways. First it is an account of a true crime from the 19th century and secondly it explores how this crime effected the development of detective fiction.

Biggest page turner
There were many, but I have to admit that One Day by David Nicholls stands out as a book I couldn't put down. I just wanted to keep reading and reading.

Can't believe I waited until now to read it
Easily Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Best book I read all year and one of the best books I have read. I can't believe I waited so long to read it!

Best reading experience
This is another easy one - reading by the beautiful ocean in New Caledonia this October.

I read 74 books in 2011. 
This is a few less than last years 112 and strangely enough I am not sure how I feel about it. I know that it shouldn't really matter how many books I read, but there is something satisfying about hitting that magic number 100. The reality is that for 3 months of this year I was battling severe morning sickness and these last couple of months my concentration levels have been so low that I have barely been able to finish any books at all. So in the scheme of things 73 is quite an achievement and that is what I am going to focus on.

Fiction: 72 & Non-Fiction: 2
Actually, 2 non-fiction reads is pretty good for me. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. I think that perhaps I do much reading at work to enjoy reading anything other than fiction. The two I read were The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale and Shakespeare by Bill Bryson. Of the two, Shakespeare was easily my favourite. Bill Bryson has a wonderfully dry and sarcastic sense of humour that gets me laughing every time.

Male Authors: 42 & Female Authors: 32 (58%/42%)
This means that 58% of the books I read were written by men and 42% women. I have to admit that I rarely pay attention to whether I read male or female authors more than the other. Having considered it this year, I had a book at the rest of the reviews I have done here at Page Turners and discovered that 54% are books by male authors and 46% are books by female authors. So my reading this year reflects my general habits which I think is fairly even in the scheme of things.

Genre's read
I started trying to write a list of all the different genre's I have read this year and I discovered something about myself as a reader. I had never really thought of myself as much of an eclectic reader, but I most definitely am. I read many different genre's, ranging from YA to gothic to classics and science fiction. Obviously some I read more than others, but it was actually far more even spread than I expected.
It's nice to know that I have eclectic tastes. I don't like the idea of being a reader who only reads one genre of books. There is just so much out there, I don't think that I could grow  as a reader without experiencing everything that is out there.

17 re-reads
There are 17 official re-reads on my list of 74 books, although I did a lot more re-reading than that. Before I go to bed at night I read to help my wind down, and I always re-read something that I have read a million times before. That way it's easy to put down. I don't count these books toward the total of the books I read per year. So, for example, I have read the Harry Potter series at least twice this year, but they don't appear in the list of books I read this year.
The books I have re-read and counted toward my total were all re-reads of old favourites and comfort reads.

Most read author
This is Agatha Christie, with a total of 8 of her books read. What can I say - she keeps me coming back for more!

Mine: 59 Library: 5 Borrowed: 5
I know this doesn't add up to 74 but I tried over and over again to add it all up and kept getting it wrong - maths isn't my strong point. I am pretty pleased that the bulk of what I read was from my own library. I have far too many unread books sitting on my shelves that need reading!

New Resources
I spent quite a lot of time creating a page where you can see my reviews according to genre and author: Reviews by Genre. I also created a page which keeps a track of what I have read per year, including links to the reviews: Reviews by Year.

Most Popular Review
Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. Although this has been the most popular review this year, it has only received 2 comments. I wish I knew what was attracting people to this review, especially why this Agatha Christie novel over others. 

Most Popular Discussion Post
This is easily Book club discussion where the author is present. I have noticed that although it is the most popular post, it hasn't actually attracted a comment for a very long time, so I can't be certain what about the post is attracting people to it in such high numbers.

Most Commented On
The life and times of a book-a-holic and where she buys her books for cheap - everyone had lots of ideas where to get cheap books from.

Review I Wish Had Received More Attention
The Barforth Trilogy by Brenda Jagger. The first in this series particularly, The Clouded Hills. Seriously people, these books are fantabulous!

I have to admit to being pleased about seeing my followers reach over 300. Thanks to all of my new followers, I hope that 2012 brings a lot more interesting reviews and discussion for everyone.
I am also pleased at my new HTML skills which I taught myself to prepare my new Reviews by Genre page. It looks me weeks and many many hours to learn how to do it and then actually get it done and I have to admit to being very proud of myself.  

Thanks to everyone who joined me here at Page Turners in 2011, especially to my regular commenters (you know who you are!). Blogging wouldn't be half as much fun without you. Here's to a great 2012.  


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