Some books I just jam through and some I lag and don't read as often as I should (as is the case with a book I am currently reading). I only gave 5 books a rating of 3 stars, most of them 4 stars, and only 5 with 5 stars.
Let me tell you about these 5 faves of mine.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I set a goal for myself in 2011 when I turned 30 to read as many of the 'classics' as I could by the time my 40th birthday rolls around. I don't have a set list I am referencing but just when I hear about this book or that book or a book I never read but probably should have, I am making a note of it or downloading it to my kindle. This was the first classic that I read (mainly because I saw a trailer for a movie that came out in 2011 that looked good) and I was absolutely shocked at how much I loved it right off the bat. My instant reaction upon finishing Jane Eyre was this: I thought I would get bored with the book and never finish it. Instead, I was instantly entertained, curious, and interested in Jane, her surroundings, her view of the world, her cohorts, etc. The story surprised me a few times, and I never did get bored. The ending left a little something to be desired, and in a way I just wanted the story to continue. I wanted to know about her and Mr. R. growing into old age, and I wanted to learn about their children and wanted to meet Adele as a grown lady, etc. I take not wanting a book to end as a sure sign that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I can understand why this is a classic!
Tinkers by Paul Harding - I didn't know much about this book but for some reason I kept wanting to read it. Finally I dug into it and was so glad that I did. It was gorgeous and sad and as I wrote initially upon finishing Tinkers: About half way through this book I wanted to start over from the beginning and pay more attention. I will definitely be re-reading this one.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I know everyone and their mother read this book in the last couple years and finally I gave in to the hype. I expected it to be hokey and ridiculous but instead I really loved it. I laughed, I cried, I didn't want it to end.
Room by Emma Donoghue - This was the first book I purchased for my kindle and it took me a few months to actually decide to read it because I was scared it would be too depressing. I loved it right away as is usually the case when I read books told from the perspective of a child. I find it so refreshing to look at things in a fresh, if slightly naive, light once in a while. While this story is pretty sad, Jack's view of his own life isn't and that is what kept it from being too hard to read. I really wanted to give Jack a big hug. I wrote when I had just finished reading Room: I found it very easy to feel immersed in Jack's world. I could totally understand why he felt scared/anxious about everything, wanting to return to comforts he was familiar with, though they seemed crazy and scary to everyone else. I was a pretty scared little kid, very afraid of the unknown and quiet, so I could relate to Jack in a way. At the end of the book, I wished it would have kept going.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami - I love everything Murakami does, and I might build him up a bit much to people sometimes because I just love his books so very much. Maybe he is not for everyone but I simply can't imagine someone not liking his style of surreal things taking place in a very realistic world. I had been waiting for this book to be released forever, in fact I preordered it about 6 months before it was released so I would be sure to get the first US edition. 1Q84 was not a disappointment and I read the more than 900 pages in one month, which for me is no small feat. My first impression upon finishing 1Q84 was this: I loved this book from the start, had a hard time putting it down, and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. This was a perfect combination of Murakami's amazingly magically surreal style and a sweet love story. I was sad to reach the end and could have read 900 more pages.
I really liked a lot of the other books I read in 2011, and honorable mention goes to Galore by Michael Crummey even though it was much different than I expected it would be. I also really liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!
(If you would like to read reviews for all of these, here is My GoodReads page.)
Here is a fancy grid of the books I read in 2011: