2011 Reading Review(s)

*Trumpet solo intro*
Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, creepers & kitty cats,
it’s that time of year again…

Tweet-size book reviews 2011!!

In 2011, I polished off one more book than I did last year, for a grand total of 18. (Last year also included 5 repeats. This year: 3.) The final 10 weeks of the year proved more productive than the first 10 months, too. Thanks to summertime—in which I spent more time swimming and socializing and watching all 4 seasons of Mad Men in a matter of days…summer things—I didn’t finish a single book for a few months.
So unusual, 2011.

I’ve enjoyed making this little trip down reading-memory-lane for two years now
(2009, 2010), so here we go again:

1) The Brain in Love — Dr. Daniel Amen
What we think about when we think about love…Dr. Amen knows what’s up. Boy meets girl meets brain chemicals. “Sex & the Synapse”?

2) The Year of Magical Thinking — Joan Didion
Beautifully sad 2nd reading. “When we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer.”

3) Blankets — Craig Thompson
Momma’s first graphic novel. Nostalgic, lovely story illustrated in black & white. Borrowed from a friend who loves it — even better.

4) The Kind Diet — Alicia Silverstone
Cookbook / lifestyle guide by the girl from Clueless. “Flirting” with clean eating = easier than quitting turkey cold-turkey. (Whatever.)

5) Bossypants — Tina Fey
Pre-ordered? Yes. Devoured? You bet. LOL at the back jacket alone? Absolutely. Delusional fantasies of being just like her? Even worse now.

6) The War of Art — Steven Pressfield
Grand little creativity guide. Short, meditative chapters. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.”

7) The Artist’s Way — Julia Cameron
The Paper Mill got all philosophical w/ this 12-week course in soul-searchery. Thanks, HBlair, for being my partner in crime & creativity.

8) Letter to a Christian Nation — Sam Harris
“It is terrible that we all die & lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive.”

9) The Moviegoer — Walker Percy
A friend described as Catcher in the Rye for twentysomethings. Loved it more now than as an undergrad. Like Casablanca. Some art takes time.

10) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close — Jonathan Safran Foer
JSF changes my life once again! (Reading Eating Animals helped me decide to not do that anymore.) Final 50 pages or so, perfection.

11) Winnie The Pooh — A. A. Milne
Precious! Somehow never read it as a kid. So clever and sweet. Hope to bring forth more Tigger qualities than Eeyore ones from now on.

12) How I Became A Famous Novelist — Steve Hely
I love @HelyTimes so much. Writes for The Office. Writes hilarious novel, had me laughing out loud on an airplane. Thurber Prize 2010.

13) Sleepwalk With Me — Mike Birbiglia (Tinkles)
Funny, well-written memoir of standup (& sleepwalking). Shows us his secrets & leaves us laughing. Not easy to do. Love / hate him for it.

14) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? — Mindy Kaling
The year of baller memoirs by funny ladies, ladies! This book is absolutely what I hoped it would be. Witty, charming, a little dorky…love.

15) The Alchemist — Paulo Coelho
I’d always heard rave reviews. A delightful allegory — like a Disney movie without the musically talented anthropomorphic characters.

16) Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So – Mark Vonnegut
Kurt V’s son, son! He’s a doctor who’s also schizophrenic. The second half > the first. (so, I’m saying, read it…and stick with it.)

17) Holidays on Ice — David Sedaris
Book club was bothered by this irreverent read, a popular item at Urban Outfitters book stacks everywhere. I love D.S., still.

18) STUFF: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
– Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee

Authors pioneered research on the disorder disorder (before it was cool — or a reality TV show). Is reality for a lot of people. Fascinating.

:: The End ::

In 2012, I plan to read 29 books for my 29th year. This resolution will demand a purposeful increase in reading productivity…but I feel like I can do it. I read 27 in 2009, after all. Yowza.