2011 Reading

Here’s a list of everything that I read this year and why you should (or maybe shouldn’t) read it too.

1. In the Land of Invented Languages (Okrent)

Why you should read it too:

It’s the perfect journey through languages for anyone who loves the written word. There are so many complexities about romance languages, not to mention English, that you learn through exploring these invented languages. The other really interesting bit is learning what the inventor’s based their languages on–some of them require a really intense knowledge of math!

2. Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)

Why you should read it too:

The book is a wonderful snapshot of life in Jamaica and the Caribbean. There are so many things about this culture that provide fun and confusion for the Western reader! In addition to all of that is its deep connection to the Victorian text (Jane Eyre) most of us adore–and that connection, more than anything else, is a reason to pick this book up.

3. Room (Donoghue)

Why you should read it too:

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Without giving too much away, Donoghue creates a world within a world and Jack (the main character) has a skewed viewpoint because of this. The very conscious attention to details keeps you on your toes and the whole novel makes you rexamine the way you view your own world.

4. Memnoch the Devil (Rice)

Why you should read it too (or not):

While I adored the plot line of this story–Rice is at her best when she challenges the basis of religious thought–it was a little slow to start. Die hard fans of the series, or those looking for a grapple with religious doctrine, will love this book. All others beware–this is not as easy to read as her other novels!

5. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson)

Why you should read it too:

Okay, so the synopsis above sucks but it’s the best that I could find! The story is so rich–narrators reveal only pieces of the story, the “villain” isn’t really a villain, and the things that have carried over to pop-culture are not truly in the novel at all. It’s worth a read, if only to understand why people say someone has a “Jekyll/Hyde” personality.

6. Call It Sleep (Roth)

Why you should read it too:

Roth tells his through an immigrant child’s eyes, making the English language of the New York streets feel alien. The Yiddish David Schearl speaks at home reads easily but the supposed English requires extra attention. Your views on language will change completely!

7. The Day of the Locust (West)

Why you should shouldn’t read it too:

Though I would never discourage reading, I would suggest choosing a different book. I’m ashamed to admit that I read very little of the second half of this book!


8. The Big Sleep (Chandler)

Why you should read it too:

The story is a fun alternative to watching yet another episode of CSI: Narrated by the “film noir” detective Philip Marlowe, the novel is a great trip back in time!

9. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (Stein)

Why you should shouldn’t read it too:

Studies in language are usually my favorite (see many novels above) but this book took it to a new, and unintelligible, level. I couldn’t stand her writing style.

10. Ariel: Collected Poems (Plath)

Why you should read it too:

Join the Sylvia Plath fan club! Her poetry is accessible and very relatable; the biography behind it well known. Go pick up this collection this weekend!

11.  The Hunger Games (Collins) [+ Mockingjay and Catching Fire ]

12. Coffee at Luke’s: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest  (Crusie)

13. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Fowles)

14. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (Summerscale)

15. In Cold Blood (Capote)

16. The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton (Sexton)

17. Sepulchre (Mosse)

18. The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood)

19. Slammerkin (Donoghue)

20.  Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures (Wittman)

21. The Invention of Murder (Flanders)

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