What?! It’s 2011 already?!

At the beginning of last year, I carefully didn’t promise to read a hundred books, which seems to have worked. I read a hundred books!! The last one (Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care, by Jim Champy and Harry Greenspan) finished on December 31st.

So the recap, the highs and lows of the year with links and everything.

1. A series, satisfactorily concluded:

Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, concluded with Mockingjay.
Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay might be one of the most masterfully executed trilogies I have ever read. Haunting, compelling, with a lot of emotion and thought under the surface, these books are something I would recommend to older teens and adults. Mockingjay, especially, is a harsh but beautiful contemplation of mercy.

2. A series, brilliantly continued:

My first buy on the Kindle, Megan Whalen Turner’s fourth book in The Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings was an excellent addition to her earlier stories of Eugenides. This is a series I would recommend to younger readers with the caveat that there is a lot of swearing (mostly in the form of the use of the pseud0-Greek gods and godesses’ names in vain.)

3. The year’s best short story collection:

I finally read something by Amy Bloom, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, and I’m not entirely sure how I felt about the content. Disturbing, beautifully written and truly an startling piece of work. I would recommend this to short story readers who are not faint of heart.

4. Best novel(s):

The most heart-breaking and the most informative: Still Alice
The sweetest: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
The most thought-provoking: The Help

5. The dystopian selections:

Always a favorite sub-genre of mine, I read several good dystopian books this year. First, The Unit, about mandatory organ donation for the over 50 crowd, set in Sweden. Second, Far North, set in a world annihilated by nuclear war and food shortages.

6. Sci-fi bordering on horror:

I hesitate to call any book horror, but I’m not sure what else you would call this book. A long saga spanning a hundred years, The Passage starts with the governments’ search for a cure for old age, and ending with the last remaining humanity searching for a cure for the cure. I think this was an excellent book within its genre – it steered clear of any s.x content, but it was very brutally violent. I will recommend this to fans of this genre, and to my bro-in-law. :-)

7. The year’s best Mystery:

I love Tana French. Love. Her. So it’s no surprise that Faithful Place was my top mystery pick for 2010. Complex, full of characters that are recognizable and easy to relate to. I am very excited to see the next book. Hopefully before 2012.

8. Book for work that ended up being really worth my time:

Drive – this book by Daniel Pink was about people’s motivations. Mostly, he asserts that people are naturally eager to learn and solve problems and that we are not as much motivated by money as we like to think. This book is the ultimate un-schooling support. I truly enjoyed it.

9. A book you should not read:

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff. It was dystopian teen fiction, and should have been everything I love. But it wasn’t. It was disturbing.

10. Top rereads of the year:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ender’s Game, Anne of Green Gables, Never Let Me Go, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

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