Favorite Reads of 2011: A Mid-Year Review

When I was a child I was told that as I grew older the years would begin to flash before my eyes, rushing past so quickly that I'd barely have time to grasp the subtleties that presented themselves before me.  While I agree that time seems to be more hurried, I also have days that seem to (so wonderfully) stretch before me.  Some of these days I'm busy getting in all the things I can't do when working, or spending time with my loved ones, but sometimes I get the chance to sit and read for as long as I wish.

Because I featured my favorite reads at the close of the following year, I felt it only right to provide a little mid-year review of six titles that I just couldn't put down.  I'm also excited to share that I've already read three books more than I did in all of 2010.  Goals!

1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Mysteries and secrets.  Secrets and mysteries.  I'm kidding, but this novel sucked me in.  I distinctly remember my boyfriend having to pull me out of the groove of the couch I found myself in after not getting off the thing for hours.  In the end, you still have questions.  It was dark and fascinating and an awesome thriller.  All hands for The Thirteenth Tale.

2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I don't know if any of you remember, but a while back, Brenna from Literary Musings and I decided to host a little read-along.  The book was a little slow in the beginning, but I soon found that I didn't want to stop reading once I began the second half.  We got some great participation and were able to share our opinions and questions, which made the read even more enjoyable.  Edith Wharton is seriously amazing.

3. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Another book that I couldn't peel my hands from and one that I mention as a "must read" to any bookworm I encounter.  I have this thing for historical fiction (as you probably already know) and thought this was perfectly entertaining and informative.  The cover art not so much.

4. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

I know, I know. I haven't managed to post a review on this one yet.  But it has definitely been one of the best reads of 2011.  The storyline was not quite what I expected and made the novel that much better.  Maybe Milly and Twiss are described as old women who nurse birds back to health, but this title holds so much more.  I found Rasmussen's language authentic and engaging.  I strongly encourage giving this title a chance!

5. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

I finished this novel last night.  And loved it.  I refused to give it up upon finding that the beginning was a little slow.  In the end, I am so glad I stuck with it because not only did I enjoy the historical element of the storyline, but I also really enjoyed the raw expression of emotions and the landscape Kent so delicately describes.  I didn't want this one to end.  

6. Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

Ok, so maybe I read this one during haze that follows the extraction of my wisdom teeth, but somehow I was able to remain attentive enough to finish the whole thing in a sitting.  Bryson is increasingly becoming a go-to when it comes to learning while laughing.

So close to making the list: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath & The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Barrows


  1. I've heard great things about Bryson and I read my first Michelle Moran book earlier this year (Cleopatra's Daughter). I'll make sure Madame Tussaud is the next Moran book I read!

  2. I definitely recommend! It was a great read. I'm almost afraid to read any of her other work because I liked it so much. I already have such a large TBR list. Bryson is awesome!

  3. I seriously need to read The Thirteenth Tale. I was reluctant at first because it was compared to The Secret of Lost Things somewhere - a book that was a big disappointment for me. But The Thirteenth Tale sounds much more promising.

    Great idea for a mid-year post! I'm also happy to see The Bell Jar made your "close but no cigar" list, as I'm reading that one right now. I'm about half-way through and finding it really interesting.

  4. The Bird Sisters sound good

    what is it with the whole text over a face design fad

  5. Brenna, Thanks! I really loved The Bell Jar, but in terms of storyline and entertainment, the others were lighter. I can't wait to see what you think of it. I just received that cover on a shirt from It's awesome. You really should read The Thirteenth Tale. I wasn't convinced until I finally decided to skim- and then I was hooked!

    The Bird Sisters is pretty amazing. I strongly suggest this to everyone I talk to. I actually haven't noticed the face cover thing. I'll make sure to pay more attention.

  6. So I totally stole your idea and made a post like this of my own. I linked back to you though :)

  7. LOVED The Thirteenth Tale! Have you read any Kate Morton? You might like her work - I read The House at Riverton and am currently listening to the audiobook of The Distant Hours. Both are incredibly Gothic! Love it.

  8. I am totally with you on the Bird Sisters and The Thirteenth Tale and Bryson's Shakespeare have been sitting on my nightstand for a while now. Hopefully I'll get to them soon, but then, I say that about a lot of books though...

  9. Thirteenth Tale - definitely agree, ditto with Guernsey L&PPPS being good but just missing out. Will have to track down some of your other recommendations!

  10. I keep seeing Bird Sisters pop up, I think it's time to officially put it on my TBR list. I enjoyed Thirteenth Tale & Guernsey, and just about loved Bryson's Shakespeare book & The Bell Jar. The Heretic's Daughter looks interesting too. Thanks for the great list!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...