My yearly reading goal is 52 books or a book a week. I surpassed this in 2011 and read 95 books. Many of these were series that weren’t that challenging, such as the Sue Grafton and Jim Butcher books. I also became obsessed with Laura Lippman and ready everything she has written.
I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit more in 2012 and one of the first books I’ve read is The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. I’m also planning on reading 1Q84 by Murakami, Infinte Jest by David Foster Wallace and to read the Neal Stephenson’s that have been next to my bed for years. I’m also going to try to read more non-fiction.
Here are the books I read the 2nd half of 2011
- What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman – A woman claims to be a missing girl who disappeared 30 years earlier in this stand-alone thriller.
- Baltimore Blues – Laura Lippman – The first in the Tess Monaghan series. I usually read series in order but I deviated from this with Lippman – I read them in the order I was able to get them from the library.
- Sugar House – Laura Lippman – Another Tess Monaghan mystery.
- Smokin’ Seventeen – Janet Evanovich – I keep saying I’m going to stop reading this series because for a while now Evanovich has been writing the same story over and over. The books used to be hilarious and now they are just dull. Maybe I’ll stop – I haven’t bothered reading the newest one yet.
- Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child – The 13th Jack Reacher thriller, which takes place in New York City. Most of the books I’ve read by him have rural settings and this was a refreshing change.
- The Gunslinger – Stephen King – This is the first installment of Steven King’s fantasy series, The Dark Tower, which follows the story of the Gunslinger Roland, the equivalent of an Arthurian knight in the world King has created, and his quest to reach the Dark Tower in order to make the world right again.
- Running Blind – Lee Child – The 4th Jack Reacher thriller. Women are being murdered, there is no physical evidence and the only thing they have in common is that they know Jack Reacher.
- Charm City – Laura Lippman – Another Tess Monaghan mystery, which all take place in Baltimore.
- Butchers Hill – Laura Lippman – The 3rd in the Tess Monaghan series.
- By A Spider’s Thread – Laura Lippman – In the 8th Tess Monaghan mystery, Tess helps a man locate his missing wife. She usually refuses to take missing spouse cases but make an exception and ends up with a surprising result.
- I’d Know You Anywhere – Laura Lippman – A woman received a letter from a man on death row who kidnapped her over 20 years earlier.
- One Shot – Lee Child – A sniper kills 5 people and Jack Reacher investigates.
- Another Thing to Fall – Laura Lippman – In the 10th in the Tess Monaghan series, Tess is hired to guard the female lead of a production filming in Baltimore.
- Life Sentences – Laura Lippman – Based on a true story about a woman who was held in prison for seven years for contempt because she refused to answer questions about the disappearance of the son.
- The Talisman – Stephen King & Peter Straub – I thought I would love this one but I didn’t – I thought a lot of it was dull. Maybe I don’t care for co-authored novels. Young Jack makes a journey across America and into another realm to help save his dying mother.
- Deadline – Mira Grant – The 2nd book in the Newsflesh trilogy, which is about zombies and bloggers.
- Ghost Story – Jim Butcher – After the events in the last Dresden novel, Harry has returned as a ghost. I didn’t love this one or maybe I’m just tired of the series.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Random Riggs – A fantasy about an abandoned orphanage, a mysterious island, and vintage photographs.
- The Most Dangerous Thing – Laura Lippman – Circumstances force 5 people, who were friends as children, to relive the lie they have all shared.
- A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton – I thought I would give this series a try and quickly became obsessed. I like the main character, Kinsey Millhone, and the stories. The author started this series in the 80’s and the lack of technology is interesting especially when Kinsey is in danger and is trying to find a pay phone.
- B is for Burgler – Sue Grafton – The 2nd in the alphabet series.
- In Big Trouble – Laura Lippman – Another Tess Monaghan mystery. Yeah, I’m getting tired of them too.
- C is for Corpse – Sue Grafton – Kinsey tried to assist a victim of attempted murder who suffers from memory loss.
- D is for Deadbeat – Sue Grafton – Kinsey is hired to deliver a check. She thinks it seems fishy but needs the money for rent. She quickly learns that if your instinct says to turn down a job that you probably should.
- E is for Evidence – Sue Grafton – In addition to a great mystery we also learn more about Kinsey’s past.
- F is for Fugitive – Sue Grafton – Kinsey travels to Florida to attempt to solve a 17 year old murder.
- The Informationist – Taylor Stevens – Vanessa deals in gathering information about developing countries for corporations. She takes on a client who wants her to find his missing daughter in Africa. I thought I would love this book but I didn’t.
- G is for Gumshoe – Sue Grafton – Kinsey is hired to locate a woman’s mother who has been missing for 7 months.
- H is for Homicide – Sue Grafton – Kinsey’s friend and colleague is murdered and she tries to discover what happened.
- I is for Innocent – Sue Grafton – Yet another in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series
- J is for Judgement – Sue Grafton – Kinsey is hired to find a man who may have faked his own death and collected the insurance money.
- *Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker – Kevin Mitnick – A former hacker who was once on the FBI’s most wanted online criminals tells his story about how he infiltrated companies by using technology and social engineering. He is now a security consultant. I loved this book.
- My Korean Deli – Ben Ryder Howe – A New Yorker buys a deli for his Korean in-laws. I liked the idea of this book but I wanted it to be funny and thought it was whiny and boring.
- *Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground – Kevin Poulsen – Written by a former hacker who spent 5 years in prison, this book reads like a thriller and is about another hacker how took over a online criminal network that was stealing tons of money from the U.S. economy.
- Zone One – Colson Whitehead – This novel is about the clean-up of New York City following a zombie apocalypse. While I enjoyed it I think it was too literary for the zombie crowd and too gruesome for those wanting literature. It did make me want to read more by this author although I haven’t yet.
- In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination – Margaret Atwood – A series of essays that explores Atwood’s relationship with the science fiction genre.
- Green River Killer: A True Detective Story – Jeff Jensen – The author’s father spent most of his career investigation the Seattle serial killer and Jensen present the story as a graphic novel.
- The Affair – Lee Child – The newest in the Jack Reacher series.
- *Ready Player One – Ernest Cline – My favorite book of 2011. In this dystopian future most of the action takes place inside of a virtual world where a number of players are trying to solve a contest that would make them the heir of one of the richest men in the world. Full of references to the 1980’s, this may appeal more to people of my generation but you don’t need to like video games or the 80’s to enjoy this book.
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins – While I appreciated the idea between this dytopian tale, this book didn’t work for me. I didn’t care about the characters – they could have all died and I wouldn’t have felt anything. If I was a YA, I may have enjoyed this more.
- Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi – A powerful corporation is allowed to strip planets of all resources if no sentient life is found. Little creatures that look like cats live on the planet in this novel and the main character becomes their protector. I really enjoyed this quick read and decided to read more by this author.
- No Good Deeds – Laura Lippman – Tess Monaghan’s boyfriend invites a homeless teenage to stay with them and a lot of things start to go wrong.
- To The Power of Three – Laura Lippman – Three girls have been best friends since they were children. One shoots herself at school and the community tries to discover what really happened.
- The Girl in the Green Raincoat – Laura Lippman – Tess Monaghan tried to solve a case while on forced bed rest. I didn’t care for this one and I may have overdid it with the Laura Lippman.
- Reamde – Neal Stephenson – A techno-thriller that is probably one of Stephenson’s most accessible works. I missed the challenge.
- And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut – Charles J Shields – A very interesting biography of Vonnegut. Unfortunately, it made me like him less – sometimes knowing more about an author you admire is not a good thing.
- Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded – John Scalzi – A collection of Scalzi’s essays from his blog. At first I really enjoyed them and then I get tired of being lectured at. They are probably better in smaller doses. It’s a great book title though.
- The Family Fang – Kevin Wilson – Performance artists use their children as part of the act. How do these two children turn out? This book got pretty great reviews but I couldn’t get into it.
- K is for Killer – Sue Grafton – Kinsey looks into the death of a woman’s daughter that remains unsolved after 10 months.
- L is for Lawless – Sue Grafton – The 12th in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series and I need a break.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling – I’m glad this was a quick read because I didn’t like it. I thought it would be funny because the author is on and is one of the writers for The Office but it wasn’t. She likes shopping – who cares?
- The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt – Great title! A quirky Western about two brothers who basically earn their living by killing people.
- 11/22/63 – Stephen King – What if you could go back in time and keep Kennedy from being assassinated? What if you fell in love in this other time period? Overall, I liked this book but 300 pages could have easily been cut (King may need more editing) and it was saved by the ending.
How about you? Did you read many books last year? Do you have any favorites? If interested, you can connect with me on Goodreads.
photo credit: jm3
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