Friday, December 2, 2011

Wrapping Up November 2011 (plus plans for December)

It finally feels like winter, the Christmas tree is up, and the early dark and cool temperatures both have me settling in to read earlier at night, which I love. In November, I read ten books, which makes me happy.

The excellent (rated 4.5 stars or higher):

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (5 stars)
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate (4.5 stars)
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (4.5 stars)

The good (rated 4 or 4.25 stars):

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (4 stars)
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (4 stars)
Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman (4 stars)
Maphead by Ken Jennings (4 stars)
The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (4 stars)

The somewhat disappointing (rated 3.75 stars or less):

The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier (3.5 stars)
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart (2.5 stars)

My list of books I want to read in December is a little long, but I am blessed this year with not having to travel for Christmas and almost two full weeks off from work for Christmas and New Year's, so I'm cautiously optimistic I'll get through all of these:
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  • Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
  • Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (a Kansan!)
  • The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Cross Currents by John Shors
  • Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
  • A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks
  • The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell
  • Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead
  • Murder Season by Robert Ellis
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Unlike traditional media, I won't be making my Best of the Year list until the year is over. As I did last year, I'll post my Best of the Year list on January 1. 

No tell me: If I can't get to all of these, which ones should I be sure to not miss? What's on your must-read end of year list?

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  1. You read some great books in November! We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are both phenomenal, so I hope you are able to get to them!

  2. Can't wait to see your thoughts on your Dec reads. I liked Dragon Tattoo enough, but found Blomkvist a little too...wish fulfillment-y. I haven't read Kevin but it's my wife's favorite book and she's desperate to get me to read it (but not until after we have a kid as she's afraid that'll make me never want one!). I've started numerous Valerie Martin books and never finished a single one -- I'm not sure why -- but I'll keep an eye out for your review of Property.

  3. I'm going to throw my vote in for
    Bel Canto and We Need to Talk About Kevin. Both are amazing books! I have way too many books on my list for December, but hopefully I get to a few of them.

  4. You read some amazing stuff this month! I would have to agree with Melissa. I think that Bel Canto and We Need to Talk About Kevin are amazing reads, but rather dark, so be careful! I hope you have a wonderfully productive December!

  5. How jealous am I of your almost two weeks off for the holidays? I'd settle for just one, even. ;-) Oh well, I guess I should be happy with having the day before and the day after each holiday off. It doesn't get much better than that where I work!

    Hope you enjoy your December reading. I give a big thumbs up to Bel Canto, and I'd love to get The Art of Fielding in before the end of the year, too. Not sure if I'll make it, though!

  6. I read The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, too...I loved it! It's amazing how much story there was, for a book that consisted largely of pictures.

  7. That is an ambitious stack for December. I MUST read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in December, before we see the movie around Christmas. I have over a week off as well and so need it! enjoy

  8. Great list for December...! I agree witht the others...We Need to Talk About Kevin and Bel Canto are great novels.

  9. I read Bel Canto for my book discussion group when it was first published and loved it. The Art of Fielding is on my list, and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it.

  10. I've just received the audio book "Chango's beads & Two Tone Shoes" by William Kennedy. I heard Kennedy being interviewed on Elaine Charles's radio show. You can hear the interview on Elaines website,,as it's always good to know more about the author and the background of the book.
    It's about the revolution that encompasses Cuba's uprising and Hemingway is featured in this book too as he sparks a conflict in a Havana bar.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!