Books 2011

The List of good, bad, and indifferent reading this year, in exactly no order:

When I Fall in Love Lynn Kurland (1.a) (C+)
The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1993 Toni Morrison (2) (A+)
Sula Toni Morrison (1.a) (B+)
The Charmed Sphere Catherine Asaro (1.b) (C)
The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise translated by Anonymous (1.a) (B-)
The Frenzy Francesca Lia Block (2.b/c) (D)
One Corpse Too Many Ellis Peters (1.b) (B-)
A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle (1.b) (C)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein (1.b) (A)
Mossflower Brian Jacques (1.a) (C+)
The Princess Bride William Goldman (1.a) (B+)
Garden Spells Sarah Addison Allen (2.b) (A)
The Peach Keeper Sarah Addison Allen (2.b) (B)
Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven Fannie Flagg (2.b) (B+)
St. Peter’s Fair Ellis Peters (1.b) (B)
Monk’s Hood Ellis Peters (1.b) (B+)
Frankenstein Mary Shelly (1.b) (A)
Once Upon a Castle Nora Roberts, et al. (2.b) (one grade per novella in book: D, D, C, D)
Sock Penn Jillette (2.b) (C)
House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielewski (2.b) (D)
She Drives Me Crazy Leslie Kelly (2.b) (C-)
Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel (2.b) (A)
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde (2.b)(B+)
A Passage to India E. M. Forster (2.b) (A)
Ysabel Guy Gavriel Kay (2.b) (B-)
The Mulberry Tree Jude Devereaux (2.b) (C)
Adios, Ramon Gonzalez” Bryan Furuness (A)
“Big Me” Dan Chaon (B)–in Gettysburg Review
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland–For a Little While” Catherynne M. Valente (A)
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making Catherynne M. Valente (A) (2.b)**
Practical Magic Alice Hoffman (B) (2.b)
Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft Mindy Klasky (C-) (2.b)
The Lady and the Unicorn Tracy Chevalier (C+) (2.b)
The Map of Time Felix J. Palma (C+) (2.b)
A Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray(D) (2.b)
Deathless Catherynne M. Valente (B+) (2.b)
Saving Fish from Drowning Amy Tan (D) (2.b)
Corvus #1, November 2011. Emily-Jo Hopson & Rachael Bundock, editors. (‡) (1.b)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving (A) (1.b)
The Dolliver Romance Nathaniel Hawthorne (C) (1.b)

Trade Romances I’ve finished reading but did not keep name/title track: 11 (I think).

Estimated total completed so far: 52

In progress:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
Midwestern Gothic Spring 2011, Issue 1, edited by Jeff Pfaller, Robert James Russell
The Jungle Upton Sinclair
Lost in a Good Book Jasper Fforde
Night Train to Lisbon Pascal Mercier
The Invisible Man H.G. Wells
The Time Machine H.G. Wells
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Aimee Bender
Pepperfish Keys Darryl Wimberley
The Eye of the World Robert Jordan
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Grimms Fairy Tales
Titus Groan Mervyn Peake
The Stars in the Pool Edna Kingsly Wallace
The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco
The Blotting Book E. F. Benson
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen –yes, AGAIN, I re-read it every few years and so what is that to you, eh?

(1) Purchased, Gifted to me, or freely available.
(1.a) Used
(1.b) Ebook

(2) Borrowed
(2.a) Personal
(2.b) Library
(2.c) ebook

C+ or better is acceptable reading to me. C is, obviously, on the fence, C- is a book I would read but not buy and will release into the wild if it happens to be something I own, and D or F is something I will never read again and may not have bothered to finish reading. A double dagger grade (‡) indicates that this multi-author work has works that I would range across the whole spectrum, whereas a (+) is a multi-author work I mostly enjoyed and a (-) is a multi-author work I mostly disliked.

Some books also get notes added because they are particular favorites of people I love:

Mossflower C+ assigned primarily because I found the heavy and many descriptions of eating to be wearying, but frankly, I am not the target audience for the book. The story itself I enjoyed.

The Princess Bride: Like Stardust (which is probably the The Princess Bride of the oughts), I’m finding that reading the book after being in love with the movie is enhancing the movie–there are a lot of minor plot/motivation questions I have always had about TPB that are clear based on what happens in the book. However, I also find myself thinking that (book) Buttercup is damn stupid. Really, why would a guy as fabulous as Westley saddle himself with such a moron? Beauty fades, stupid is forever. Sheesh.

The Map of Time It got such good reviews, and was touted as a blend of several genres I really like, and was supposed to be so original. I should like it more, I really should. I really *want to*. But something was very off putting about it. It stole a plot device from Forrest Gump–that of putting its several protagonists in the middle of various famous events–which I found contrived without any of the characters being sufficiently charming or interesting to make it worth swallowing the contrived nature of the incidents. And the narrator’s fourth wall break sometimes worked and *was* charming, but sometimes was so intrusive and ponderous that I wanted to throw the book across the room.

A Great and Terrible Beauty It sounded promising. But it combined several of the things I completely hate in a book, namely: a self-involved adolescent narrator and written in the first person. Honesty forces me to confess that I could not get through the first chapter. It might be a great book, and I may love it some time in the future, but a half hour with that wretched Gemma made me want to shoot myself, and so I couldn’t get past the first chapter. Of course, the author’s name might have tipped me–the pseudonym is so painful.


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