2011 End of Year Book Survey


Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner is hosting her 2nd annual End of Year Book Survey, and I thought answering the questions in part one would be a good way to round out my bookish year.

1. Best Book You Read in 2011:

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (You know how hard it was to narrow this down to only one!)

2. Most Disappointing Book/Books You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

A Watershed Year by Susan Schoenberger

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness – Yes, I did read the first book at the end of 2009, but I finished the series this year, and it was awesome.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Melanie Benjamin

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

The Death Cure by James Dashner – I still haven’t read it yet! I’m rereading book two aloud to my boys, and we’ll dive straight into book three as soon as we finish.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

Lavinia Warren Bump, aka Mrs. Tom Thumb, from The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

What Good is God? by Phillip Yancey

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

Good artists are people who can stick things together so that they stay stuck. They know how to gather things into formal arrangements that are intelligible, memorable, and lasting. Good forms confer health upon the things that they gather together. Farms, families, and communities are forms of art just as are poems, paintings, and symphonies. None of these things would exist if we did not make them. We can make them either well or poorly; this choice is another thing that we make. ~ from Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition by Wendell Berry

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry – plan to reread via audiobook

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The end of Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – I’m still reeling!

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22 Responses to 2011 End of Year Book Survey

  1. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Twitter: bookjourney
    says:

    Ooh this is fun!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sheila – it is fun – especially to look over the past year and remember some of the books I read at the beginning that were sooooooo good.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    This is awesome. I would agree, Unbroken is a book I recommend to EVERYONE. It crosses all the barriers. As for some of these others, I’m going to have to do some looking around at my library. You have my attention with this Wendell Berry person… (hee hee)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I keep waiting to hear about a movie deal for Unbroken – it would make a fantastic film, if done correctly. And I’m glad Mr. Berry is now on your radar…. :)

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I haven’t read a single one of the books you mentioned. Sometimes I feel like I’m never reading the right book.

  4. Kailana says:

    This is fun. I might do it, too!

  5. Mary - Bookfan
    Twitter: bookfanmb
    says:

    I really liked The Winter Sea!

  6. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    Great questions! I think the hardest question to answer would be “book that made the greatest impact”. I need to go through my list and see what book could I name. Hope you’re having a great day.

  7. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I recommended Unbroken to several fiction only readers this year! I haven’t read Wendell Berry. Sounds like I need to.

  8. Trisha
    Twitter: Trish422
    says:

    I’m so excited to see the Chaos Walking series on so many people’s lists of faves this year. Such a great story.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Trisha – yes, it will definitely be remembered as one of my most favorite series ever.

  9. Melissa
    Twitter: avidreader12
    says:

    Hannah Coulter is high on my list for 2012. I can’t wait to read it now.

  10. unfinishedperson
    Twitter: unfnshdprsn
    says:

    So I take it that you like this Wendell Berry fellow, huh? :) I might have asked you this previously, but forgotten what you said if you did answer. Can you tell me again, which book would you recommend I start with if I’m interested in reading Berry?

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Bryan – Well, that’s not as easy a question as it appears. He writes in so many different genres. If you’re looking for non-fiction, I would suggest his book-long essay Life is a Miracle or his essay collection The Art of the Commonplace. I don’t remember you mentioning reading poetry, but his Sabbath Poems (it sounds religious, but they’re not – it’s a collection of poems that he wrote while on his Sunday rambles on his property) collection is very good.

      His fiction mostly centers around the fictional community of Port William, Kentucky. The books aren’t necessary to read in any order – they each simply dip into the lives of one or more of the people in the community. My first introduction to Port William was the short story collection That Distant Land, and if you like short fiction, that is a really good place to start. If not, I would recommend either A Place on Earth or Hannah Coulter of the ones I’ve read. Of the ones I haven’t read yet (but plan to in 2012), people rave about Jayber Crow. Hope this helps!

  11. So glad A Watershed Year surprised you — in a good way! Thanks for the support and happy New Year!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Susan – Happy New Year to you as well! Looking forward to your next book…. :)