Saturday, January 7, 2012

top six reads of 2011...and what I read in december

December was a very light on month for reading I'm afraid, but I did manage a few, somewhere in between the manic last few weeks of work, Christmas nonsenses and NYE they are:
Great House by Nicole Krauss - fiction
Shoe Money by Maggie Alderson - a selection of newspaper columns
Angel Puss by Colleen McCullough - fiction
All That I Am by Anna Funder - fiction
Freedom by Jonathon Franzen - fiction

Apart from the short collection of columns, all of these books were very good reads. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Angel Puss, set in Kings Cross, just around the corner from where the first born used to live, it was incredibly evocative of the area and the people who inhabit it. I bought it from a remainders bin on a whim...good use of a spare $4.95! 

And now the hard favourite books of 2011. All in all I read 77 books last year (still finding it hard to say last year!). I was only going to nominate five, but a six book collage was easier to make J Bloody heck it was hard...even my very favourite author didn't make the cut this time! Because I read so much, the books I chose were the ones that have stayed with me...the ones I don't have to remind myself what they were about, the ones that made me cry, question, wonder, smile, cringe...the ones with 'staying power'. So, for what it's recommendations for incredibly good reads are, in no particular order because no way am I picking a no. 1 (oh, ok...Peter Carey!)...
In order of reading:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 
(a famous dying author summons an obscure unknown author to record her autobiography...ancient houses, bookshops, 'ghosts' and heartbreaks);
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
(A french nobleman and an english servant travel to the new world...full of beautiful historical detail...I especially loved the early days of Manhattan... wit, friendship and love)
The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
(a very well written account of a pointless death, life on Palm Island and the brutality of our treatment of indigenous australians, but with a balanced compassion for all sides in this story)
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
(a 50 year old Harvard professor suffers from early onset alzheimers. This book's every word was enthralling, highlighting both the inner and outer 'workings' of the disease with an incredible sympathy for the sufferer and her family as they come to grips with what it all means)
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
(a thriller...not everyone likes this I know, but I found it  fascinating and different. The heroine is unusual...a bit like Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium Trilogy...hard to like but you just have to know what happens to her)
All That I Am by Anna Funder
(the story of a group of Jewish Germans and their resistance to Hitler in the 1930s, set then and in the present through the reminiscences of Ruth, an old woman living in Sydney. Based on fact, it's a story of right and wrong, deceit, justice and injustice. Loved it.)
So there you have it! I hope to read more than 77 books in 2012, but I haven't started all that well...I've been painting my bedroom and putting up picture ledges. I'll show you all that when I get back from there on Monday for a holiday...and I'm having dinner with two bloggers on Wednesday...yippee!!


  1. Kerry I love it when I have read some of the same books. I loved Still Alice and I still think about it. Miss Smilla, I couldn't get into, but it didn't matter because the dog ate it. (seriously, I had borrowed it and replaced it at moderate expense)and I enjoyed the Thirteenth Tale and found it a little unsettling. I will add your others to my list.
    I will post later today about the book I am just finishing CWA tales. It has inspired me no end. Deb

  2. Mary here: I love that you list your books as it encourages me to read something other than my usual murder mysteries or spy novels. I think I read Still Alice in one go. You really empathized with Alice and her family - maybe because she is my age. In any case, please keep sharing your picks. Happy reading! PS We are still snow free so down to only 12-13 weeks of winter!

  3. Putting them on my list Kerry, with heartfelt thanks: do you know my own favorite A Fine Balance, Robinton Mistry?

  4. I am going to use your list to ease into some books this year...I have no idea where to start as my favorite bookstore closed and I'm not sure how this crazy Nook works yet!! lol! I thing 77 books is an excellent achievement and I envy that you find the time {and I definitely know you are a busier gal than me}.

    Have a wonderful weekend and let us know about your dinner with your blogger friends!


  5. I read 'Still Alice' last year too and loved it. So well written, I found it hard to put it down each night and having had a personal experience with this disease, I found this book captivating.

    Sorry I haven't stopped by your blog as often as usual lately... having a little catchy up now xx

  6. Tassie? MONA? Hobart? Need tips...? We got back today... lots of good eats to recommend. MONA is fab - take the ferry...

    Oh and your reads could take me a whole post of my own to reply to... loved Parrot and Olivier too - I have to see how my 2011 reading list fared when I unpack!

    Enjoy the trip. And let me know if you want my quick must eat/drink list.

    A x

  7. Oh Kerry. I didn't finish a single book in 2011. *Sigh*. My time will come again, won't it? Please say yes! I'm intrigued that Anna Funder has written another book. I adored her first, 'Stasiland' - absolutely fascinating if you're keen on her and her discovery of recent German history. Looking forward to dinner! J x

  8. Loved Still Alice. Started so many books last year, finished few. Have already done better this year so will see how we go! Have a wonderful trip enjoy the food, the scenery and the company. xx

  9. I am so impressed by the amount of books you have read as well as blogging. I'm embarrassed to admit to only reading a small bundle if books last year.
    I do love reading recommendations so will keep an eye out for yours in the bookstores.
    Woohoo, excited about next week. I'm also so pleased that you get to go to Mona as I know you have wanted to. I agree with the other connenter, go on the ferry. It's a nice trip and also means you don't have to line up to get in. It makes you a VIP!
    See you soon :)

  10. Well Hello Old Friend!!!
    So wonderful to hear from you!!!
    So here we are together in blogland for another year! We made it!!!
    Sorry I've been away from your beautiful blog... it's good to be back :)
    Happy New Year
    Lots of Love,

  11. I am always so impressed by your reading Kerry. Do magazines count? Probably not. Have a fabulous holiday in Hobart. I'm so envious of your blogging dinner. Have lots of fun! Amanda x

  12. Enjoying your blog from NZ. Jane :)

  13. I always love a good book list. I think I have to add some of them to my reading list. Merci!

  14. These sound pretty good, I'll definitely be filling my amazon basket with a few. Thanks for the recommendations Kerry! x


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