2011’s Top Books and Movies

It’s that time again. What did I read or see this year that made an impression?

First, the stats: 73 books read and 31 movies watched. It’s a record-setting year for books, not so much for movies. July saw the highest number of books read at 17. It’s around the time that I got a Kindle and blew through the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries (regretting that decision around book 4 or 5 but sticking with it nonetheless).

Nothing fell easily into the What Was I Thinking category. Yes, the Stackhouse books and even the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy were pretty disappointing. The Stackhouse books were overly repetitive and if one more creature fell at Sookie’s feet, I was ready to hurl. Mockingjay just fell apart for me and since the characters had all become unlikeable in my eyes, I had to struggle to finish the book since I no longer cared about the outcome.

What did I like? Here are eight that stuck with me along with some comments from the book journal.

The Return of the King – Seeing it again on the big screen was well worth it. I had forgotten chunks of the movie and was happy to spend 3+ hours sitting in the dark saying goodbye to old friends again.

Gods and Monsters
– Almost gave this DVD away but rewatching the movie convinced me to keep it. McKellan completely disappears into Whale and Redgrave elevates what could be a throwaway character.

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen – When the plot began to wrap up I realized I wanted more chapters about the family and could have spent much more time with them.

Sunset Park by Paul Auster – I love how Auster creates a mood that wraps around you, lingering even when you’re not reading the pages. You may start reading his work looking for a plot or story developments but then you realize the current of words carries you where it will and you relax into the flow.

The Little Book by Selden Edwards – How can you not love a book whose jacket copy proclaims it for enthusaists of Vienna and time travel stories. What an odd Venn diagram.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Each step in the book was more exciting than the last and I could have stuck with Cline if there were 50 keys for his characters to discover. I can’t wait to see what his next book is like. I’ve recommended this book to almost everyone I know and have barely resisted the urge to simply buy it for everyone I know and force them to read it before doing anything else they may have to or want to.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech – The book is short but there’s so much that comes out of the brief lines.

World War Z by Max Brooks – I wonder if this faux oral history is the 21st century’s version of the epistolary novel since no one really writes letters anymore. The style worked for the book, and I enjoyed every page.

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