What's My Reading Been Looking Like for 2011?

I honestly would like to have read a little more this year. At the beginning of the year I challenged myself to read a hundred books, but had to shave that number down to thirty-five. Between working on my (own) novels and blogging, and the MOOD thing, I just couldn't carve out another square of time to bask into reading. And believe me, I love basking in books. I'm no speed reader. It concerns me if I think I skipped over a word, so there's no way I'd deliberately skip a whole page.

The good news in all of this is I have yet to open a book incapable of suiting one of my several dozen moods. I'm going to credit this phenomenon to the assiduous scrutiny I put into selecting books, along with the fact that I close books by page 50 if it's not doing my mood a bit of good.

Books I've started, and put aside:

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. There's definitely a mood for this one, which means I plan to get back into it.
Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann is another I definitely plan to get back into.
Come on People by Cosby & Poussaint. I plan to finish as well. Every page up to page 46 I found myself assiduously scribbling notes. That's when I decided I needed more time to sit with this one. I want to be very thorough in my comments.

I also want to be clear-focused before delving into:

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson by Paul Robeson, Jr.
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
And The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino.

Other books currently on my desk I plan to read:

Fire Season by VH Folland
Lost Knowledge of the Ancients by Glenn Kreisberg
War at the Wall Street Journal by Sarah Ellison
What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson
Fat Chick by Lorraine Duffy Merkl.
And just maybe I might try No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene.

I have almost 150 books on my to-read list. Currently I'm reading Le Freak by Nile Rodgers (as a part of Amazon's Vine Program), and have just finished reading Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story by Ingrid Ricks.

Now for the fun part. At the beginning of the year I put myself up to TWO reading challenges. I dared myself to read some fiction, and to read a hundred books in 2011. Welp, I failed miserably on the 100 book challenge, but sailed through reading 'some' fiction! It was amazing that the first few fiction books I opened fit my mood right away.

My Desperate Love Diary by Liz Rettig I found well-written and entertaining.
Same for Zetta Brown's Messalina: Devourer of Men.
I enjoyed True Confessions by Electa Rome-Parks.
And fell head over heels in love with Sheila Peele Miller's Painted Picture.

It, however, still is a struggle to read YA, and/or paranormal fiction, but hope this improves through my contributions to the Mocha Girls Read book club!

But this here is what this post is really all about! The funnest of the fun part. Okay, so I've read 35 36 books (so far this year), many of which I’ve enjoyed very, very much. Of this number however, I've put myself, once more, up to a challenge. I’m selecting ***TEN*** as my all-time favorite reads this year. Readers following along may already know I've selected 8, however here's the group I'm selecting from. (In no particular order, other than alphabetical;-).

Crawling: A Father's First Year by Elisha Cooper
Diary of a Beverly Hills Match-Maker by Marla Martenson
Être the Cow by Sean Kenniff
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice
Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story by Ingrid Ricks
How Do Rumors Get Started: The True Story of Timex Social Club by Marcus Thompson
Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams
Lord Vishnu's Love Handles: A Spy Novel (Sort Of) by Will Clarke
Painted Picture by Sheila Peele-Miller
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Eron by Bethany McLean
The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District by Richard Whitmire
The Gifted Ones by Lisa Vaughn
The Grace of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris

The one criteria that's made each of these reads special to me, and that's that every one of them I found easy to turn the page. The writing was evenly paced, flowed smoothly, and the story moved, and often in more ways than one. This challenge certainly will not be easy for me, why it's called a challenge, but must say these are ALL books I highly recommend.


  1. Wow! That is a very impressive reading list. I think you and I were on the same mindset yesterday. I was sitting here trying to remember all the books I read this year so I could update my goodreads list. Some I know right off cause they are sitting on my bookshelf and the others I will have to check my library card history.

    And I am glad I am not the only one with more than one book on the "Didn't finish" list.

    Wonderful list!!

  2. Lost in Shangri-La is something I'm interested in reading. And as a teacher (but in the UK), The Bee Eater is something I would like to read.

  3. Hey Mocha, thanks! And yes, I'm hardly bothered about putting books aside. That's the whole point in reading...getting into a grove where you enjoy the book, although those I listed I do plan to pick back up. I just have to find that grove;-)

    And Sam, thanks for stopping by and friending me. I will check in on your blog, hoping we're able to trade more interesting reads.

  4. Awesome! I'm so excited to have made your "Short List" with Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story. It means a lot coming from you. ...and I'm so inspired by the number of books you read, while juggling life, your blog and writing your novels. I'm such a slow reader and am going to use you to inspire me to read three books a month next year (starting in December).

  5. You're welcome, Ingrid. Your book was a nice treat to curl up with. And yes, you might want to get a head start on the reading...starting out with the selection process first. That's the hard part;-)

  6. Okay, I read this awesome book list of yours and just feel shame. Shame that I can't remember the last time I read a book from front to back. Like you, I have three that I've started, but never managed to finish. I am looking forward to the Christmas break so I can pick up my books again. I might even get a Kindle and see if that makes it easier for me to complete them! :)

  7. Hi Bella! And no need for shame. Sometimes it takes finding 'that' one that fits your mood, which for me is one where I can't put the book down for turning pages!


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