Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Books I Read in 2011 and Really, Really Liked: A Top Ten (or so) List

One of my favorite things about the end of the year (other than my birthday, of course) are top ten lists.  They are everywhere and I love it.  Top 10 Movies, Top 10 Books, Top 10 Songs.  I want them all.  Recently, NPR's Talk of the Nation featured a story about the thought process behind one journalist's list.  Basically, he says that his list, though incredibly thoughtful, is completely arbitrary.  The movies on his list may appear on Top 10 lists, but ultimately, he's choosing movies to which he had a true connection.  Inspired, I decided to assemble my own list.  So, in no particular order, here are the Top 10 (or so) books I read in 2011. 

1, 2, and 3.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
If you regularly read my blog, you have heard about my love (and borderline obsession) for these books.  They are unbelievable! It's the kind of series, should you find yourself in a reading slump, that gets you excited about books again.  If you have one New Year's resolution this year it should be reading The Hunger Games Trilogy.  Especially before March 23rd, because that's when the movie comes out (not that I care). 

This book was published way back in 2003 when I still lived in the same house as my entire family and had a total mom haircut.  At the time, I was far too busy reading romance novels, watching the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and learning how to bong a beer (yeah, sorry Mom and Dad) to read this book.  However, throughout college other readers were constantly extoling it's virtues and I picked it up countless times, only to put it back and choose something else.  Well, last summer I finally took it home with me and I could not put it down.  It was one of those books I took with me everywhere in case I had a free moment to read.  If you enjoy history and can't say no to a good murder mystery (hello 48 Hours Mystery fans!) this is definitely a book you need to pick up.  Like, tomorrow. 

5.  Bossypants by Tina Fey
 I adore Tina Fey.  In everything I've read or watched about her, she comes across as incredibly funny, smart, and down-to-earth. She's wonderful.  I mean, I'm not a superfan who watches every episode of 30 Rock and thinks that I'm Liz Lemon.   (Doesn't it seem like a lot of women these days are like, "Oh my god.  I'm so awkward and goofy.  I'm sooo Liz Lemon." I don't know, maybe it's just people that I'm friends with on Facebook.  I guess that's why she's so popular.  Everyone sees a little bit of themselves in her. Whatever, I'm still sick of it. You do you, honey.  You do you.) Anyway, because I do like Tina Fey so much, I was quite excited about her first book, Bossypants. 
However, not enough to actually purchase it.  I love to hang out at Barnes and Noble.  I've been known to spend 5 hours looking at magazines, reading new books, and drinking coffee.  I find it incredibly relaxing.  So, instead of waiting months to get this book from the library or forking out at least $15 to buy it, I read it over the course of 2 or 3 Barnes and Noble visits.  In hindsight, this seems a little weird. Especially when I think about all the times I received some curious glances due to my uproarious laughter.  Gosh, how awkward.  I'm so Liz Lemon. 

As a big fan of The Office, Mindy Kaling has been on my radar for awhile, but she started making some big blips this summer when I began following her on Twitter.  Her Tweets are always funny, in a way that is relatable and goofy, rather than mean spirited or cynical.  That being said, I was anxious to read her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (I mean, the title alone is funny).  It did not disappoint.  I was actually sad when the book finished because I could have listened to Mindy's musings on her life, love, and friends for many more hours.  I say "listened" because I purchased this book as an audiobook via Audible.  If you spend a lot of time in the car or just enjoy audiobooks, this is the way to go.  Mindy actually narrates the book and I think the stories became even funnier or more poignant when heard in her own voice. 

7, 8, 9, 10. Tracers Series by Laura Griffin
Over the summer, one of my favorite romance bloggers (from smartbitchestrashybooks.com) recommended Laura Griffin for fans of romantic suspense.  I started with Book One in the Tracers series, Untraceable, and was hooked.  In fact, I just looked at my Amazon account and it says that I bought Untraceable on July 22nd, Unspeakable (Book Two) on July 24th, and Unforgivable (Book Three) on July 29th.  Sadly, I had to wait until August 30th to get Snapped (Book Four).  I seriously hate that.  Anyway, this series is awesome.  Think James Patterson or CSI with a lot more romance and sexy times thrown into the mix. 

11. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe
This book was recommended to me by MW, as we share a mutual love for Rob Lowe after many, many hours spent watching The West Wing (perhaps one of the greatest television shows of all time).  It was a wonderful distraction for me while working in Hell...oh wait, I mean the College World Series (although AK and KK were pretty good too). Not only is Rob Lowe dead sexy, he's also a great writer.  Although I think it helps that the. most. unbelievable. things. happen to Rob Lowe.  Like it wasn't interesting enough that he got to be in The Outsiders (I heart Soda Pop!), hang out at the Sheen house (yeah, I'm jealous.  I'd hang out with Emilio, Charlie, and Martin anytime), and work with the cast of The West Wing, but then he throws crazy stories about 9/11, his sex tape, and Liza Minnelli in too and you're like, "Really, Rob Lowe?!? Really? Can you just be boring for like, five seconds?".  My only regret is that I didn't get the audio book, which he narrated, instead.  Hours of Rob Lowe's sexy Sam Seaborn voice on my iPod? Yes, please. Well not my only regret, I guess.  I also wish I had the hard copy so I could have this cover sitting on my coffee table for all eternity.  Worth the $20? Probably.

So there's my list.  I've probably forgot a few, but I'll add any omissions as I think of them.  Here's hoping I find another eleven for next year's list!

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