While reading this much has been tremendous for speeding through my reading list, ultimately I found it to be a bit too much like "work." I often found myself rushing through books or pressuring myself to read books that I didn't really want to finish, just so I could achieve my goal.
So, for 2012, I am scaling back considerably. I want to regain my love for reading. I am hoping to read only 4 books per month. I don't care how many are fiction or non-fiction. If I read more than that, great.
That having been said, here are my top 5 books for 2011:
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
If you're a book lover and you've never heard of this book, then apparently you've been living under a rock. It's about black servants and the white people they work for in the segregated South of the 1950s. Perhaps it's cliche to have this book on my list, but I really, really loved it. It's an excellent read.
4. American Lightning by Howard Blum
A non-fiction book about the 1910 bombing of the LA Times building. This book is fantastic! I think it particularly struck me because of how many parallels there are between what was happening in America in the early 20th century and what is happening now, exactly 100 years later. I cannot stress enough how great this book is.
3. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Holy cow, a second fiction book makes it into my top 5! This is a YA novel about a young man who is a ghost hunter, which isn't even remotely as lame as it sounds. This book is genuinely scary in parts (and I don't scare easily). It is also violent and beautiful and full of twists that I wasn't necessarily expecting. The author is female but the main character is male and I think she does an excellent job of portraying him. When the sequel (ohpleaseohplease) comes out, I will be on it like a ghost trying to rip the warm flesh from human bones! :)
2. The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Cameron
One man's memoir of his time serving in Iraq. This book is raw and angry and visceral and real. And, oh god, is it good.
1. Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
It feels almost wrong to put a book about soccer as my top book of the year, mostly because I know that 99.9% of people who ever read this blog won't give a crap about soccer. But it's the first book I read this year and it remains my favorite as well. Part history of soccer, part history of South America, and part unashamed worship of the sport, it's as beautiful as the beautiful game itself. Mr. Galeano is truly a talented author.