2011 in Books

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Here is the complete list of books that I read in 2011. There are some months that I didn’t read much, and in late December, I got an iPad since I started reading a lot more ebooks. The iPad makes reading books so much more convenient. Once you finish one, you can immediately start another. I’ve probably read a lot more because of the iPad and the 2,881 books that I have on it. I had been reading books on my MacBook Pro for the last couple of months, and I found it tiresome, especially when you read at night before going to bed. This isn’t the case with the iPad. I’ve read a lot of books on it in the month of December, almost all of them, and it was a pleasant experience.

Compared to last year, I read 41 more books. I read a total of 85 books last year. This year, I hope to reach 100. Standout books for this year were 1Q84, The Prague Cemetery, 2666, The Savage Detectives, Reamde, and the Jasper Fforde books. At the rate I read, and because of the prevalence of ebooks, I tend to read through an author’s repertoire quickly, unless they’re prolific.

Towards the end of the year, after reading a lot of fiction, I started to read some science-fiction again. I finally finished all of the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow novels by Orson Scott Card. A friend also suggested Richard Morgan. I devoured his books, though the last one, Woken Furies, wasn’t as good as the previous two.

This is the year that I started reading many books at the same time. Once I felt that a book was challenging, I usually started reading something else, to make it easier. At the worst, I was reading 7 books at the same time. Now, I’m back to more manageable number, with still a few books to finish. I also live by a rule: any book that I start must be finished, even if it is boring. I keep my list updated with the books I read over the months. I might have to switch to a monthly digest as I have done before to make the list easier to peruse.

The books presented are in the chronological order that I read them. I simply added the books at the tail end of the list when I finished them. A quarter of the way through, during the A Game of Thrones series is when I started reading a lot of ebooks.

The Ashes of the World by Kevin Anderson: I hadn’t finished the Saga of the Seven Suns because I got tired of Anderson’s writing. He’s a bit annoying, I learned that in his Dune books, but since this book came out, it seemed a good idea to finish the series.
(Zima Blue by Alastair Reynolds)¹
(Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds)¹
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson: I had to lay this book down and read something else for a while. The historical passages were somewhat long.
(Ilium by Dan Simmons)¹: I’ve read these books a lot and I want to read them again. I like them a lot, but I might have to read Alastair Reynolds again. I hope that Blue Remembered Earth isn’t as disappointing as Terminal World.
(Olympos by Dan Simmons)¹
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: I’m surprised that Connolly added 150 in annexes to this book. I don’t really like that because the actual book is quite short, 300p or so.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: This was the beginning of my perusal of Haruki Murakami this year.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: I read this as a kid and re-read it this year. It was fun.
Beatrice and Virgil Yan Martel: Not as bad as I expected it to be, but still somewhat disappointing.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: In the beginning of the year, I wanted to read a lot of Palahniuk and Murakami. I did. There’s only a few that I didn’t read.
Tell All by Chuck Palahniuk
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
2666 by Roberto Bolano: Amazing book that totally hooked me onto Bolano. The middle section is hard to read because of all of the murders, but so compelling. It led me to research the murders in Juarez. There isn’t much information on them, but there are a couple of books that have been published.
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
Amulet by Roberto Bolano
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: I started reading the books because I was watching the series on HBO, and I couldn’t just wait a week to find out what was happening next. I devoured his books and midway through the series, I had finished them all.
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords 1, 2 by George R.R. Martin
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
His Master’s Voice by Stanislaw Lem: This is a book that I started to read years ago but stopped, and now finally finished. It’s not a thick book, but for some reason, it’s difficult.
The God Engines by John Scalzi
Troika by Alastair Reynolds
The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin
The Sworn Sword by George R.R. Martin
The Mystery Knight by George R.R. Martin
Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis: I thought that I’d read more Bret Easton Ellis after this book, but I didn’t. Maybe in 2012. The book wasn’t easy to read, somewhat disturbing at times. I found that I had to read other books while I read this one in order to finish it completely.
After the Quake by Haruki Murakami: Small collections of stories, which I bought in paperback and it was somewhat expensive.
Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin: It took forever for this book to be released. Once it was, I read it quite quickly. I liked it, just like the previous books, but Martin is no Tolkien.
The School Story by Andrew Clements: A book I read for a class that I’m teaching. Read through it in about 40 minutes or so.
Ready Player One Ernest Cline: One of the surprising books of 2011. I really liked this book.
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: My other big discovery of 2011, Jasper Fforde. His books are entertaining, funny, and imaginative. I read them all and very quickly. I was disappointed when I had read them all as I had no more to read.
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde: I really liked this one. It’s quite different from the Thursday Next books, but the sort of dystopian setting is intriguing.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Reamde by Neal Stephenson: This book is a far cry from Anathem, but it was extremely entertaining to read, even though it topped 1,000 pages.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Surprisingly good, but not the great book everyone was expecting from Morgenstern. It reminded me of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
Mao II by Don DeLillo: This was boring but I finished it.
The Instructions by Adam Levin: The hardest book to read and finish of 2011. It was a challenge. The length, subject, and prose made it a hard read. The book didn’t flow, and was awkward at times, which is why it took me weeks to finish while I read other things.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Blind Willow Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
In the City of Fear by Ward Just: I bought this in a bargain bin in Taipei. It was OK.
1Q84 book 1 & 2, 3 by Haruki Murakami: Even though this book was over 1,000 pages, I read through it very quickly and was somewhat sad when I finished it. It’s definitely Haruku Murakami’s magnum opus.
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco: I started reading this while waiting for The Prague Cemetery.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: Second Franzen book that I read and liked quite a lot.
Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut: I probably should have read something different from Vonnegut, but someone gave me this book.
Fly Away by David Malouf: I didn’t like this book.
Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolano: I didn’t think I’d read this, but I bought it in hardcover format since Bolano has quickly become a favorite of mine
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: Someone gave me this book and I promptly read it. I had heard so much about it (and the HBO series), that I waited to read it for the longest time. Like all Follett books, they are good to read and entertaining, but easy to forget.
The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco: Surprisingly funny and entertaining.
World Without End by Ken Follett: Same old Follett. This brick kept me busy for a week or so.
Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen: It took a while to get this because I couldn’t get the ebook and had to order it.
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: I was surprised to find out that Margaret Atwood had revisited Oryx & Crake. The book was good and I read The Handmaid’s Tale to complete Atwood’s dystopian books.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Between the three books, I still prefer Oryx & Crake.
Micro by Michael Crichton: This was Crichton’s last book, and it had to be completed by Richard Preston (The Hot Zone). It was fun, but verged into fantasy.
Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton: A couple of nice stories in the Confederation universe.
Flashback by Dan Simmons: This was a really entertaining book at what the USA could look like in a couple of years. The social commentary is harsh, but a realistic approximation of what could happen. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds: I finally managed to read the precursor to House of Suns, very nice but short.
Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card: It reminded me why I stopped reading the series with Xenocide. It got too philosophical.
Godlike Machines anthology
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: I expected much, but it was a bit disappointing. Still, it wasn’t bad.
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card: The Ender’s Shadow series of books is quite entertaining, and a good read. I breezed through them quite quickly.
Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card
Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card
Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan: This book uses the concept that I saw in Transition by Iain M. Banks, but it’s still quite good and more cyberpunk. The first two books of the Takeshi Kovacs series are better than the last one, Woken Furies. In Woken Furies, Kovecs is very angry all the time, whines a lot, and shouts. It got annoying.
Broken Angels by Richard Morgan
Woken Furies by Richard Morgan

book count: 85

[¹]: I read these books again.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

5 thoughts on “2011 in Books”

  1. If you like old sci-fi type stuff, and you want to try more Vonnegut, try Player Piano and Cat’s Cradle and the other early ones. My favorite of his is Bluebeard, which is later and a bit more of a wwii book, but really good.

    I have no idea how many books I’ve read this year now that I think of it. Lots of re-read agatha christie in the mix would screw up the numbers.

    1. Re-reads count! I just keep a list and update it as I go throughout the year. It’s kind of motivating, and you can never read too many books.

      I’ll try those Vonnegut books out this year. I’m well into Black Man by Richard Morgan and it’s a lot better than Market Forces.

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