I'll admit it; I'm a paranormal junkie. I have been since the first ghost story I read when I was probably about six years old. So it only made sense that the year I decided I needed to get back into reading I did so by tearing through series after paranormal series. I talked about it in several posts over the past twelve months, but since this is supposed to be my reading recap for 2011, I'll touch on the highlights one more time.
I decided I needed to read at least 30 books in 2011 and set out to do just that. It quickly became apparent that I would easily surpass that goal, so I increased it. When I hit 30, I raised the goal to 50. When I hit 50, I raised it to 75. Then I threw my hands in the air and began increasing by five books every time I hit the number. When I hit 100, I gave up and coasted for the rest of the year. My final, official total is 117. I have to admit, though, there's a whole lot of trash (and pure smut) I chose not to include, so the real total is over 150.
A few qualifiers in the interest of full disclosure:
1. If something I read is on Goodreads and became part of my 2011 reading challenge on their site, it is numbered here (even if it's just a short story). A few books that have numbers haven't been released yet, but they will be "real books" by Goodreads standards eventually. If an item is not listed on Goodreads, it doesn't have a number. By the end of the year I stopped caring so much what Goodreads thought and won't use their challenge as a gauge in 2012.
2. Somewhere along the line I faltered a bit, so not everything is listed in the order in which I read it. Some things simply slipped through the cracks and I added them at the end because they needed to be included.
3. I actually began reading on 12/25/10 and finished on 12/26/11. The reason I included that last book is that I only read a few chapters, about 30 pages, on 12/26.
My Top Picks
I wanted to be able to do a top five or even top ten list, but I found it virtually impossible to choose between some titles and actually place them. Instead, let me give you the favorites as a group. If you click on the book title you'll find my Goodreads review (if I've written one):
--You simply can't read one without reading all three. I didn't place the other titles on this list, but this trilogy is my top choice. (BTW, all three reviews are the same.)
Wild Children by Richard Roberts
--This was a huge surprise by an independent author. I met Richard when his story was first accepted into the Kindle All-Stars project and he sent me Wild Children to beta read. My reviews on Goodreads and Amazon say it all.
--My two favorites by my favorite living author. Jon's probably tired of hearing that one, but it's the truth. (I hate to admit he's in danger of being dethroned by a young'un; keep reading.)
Guns of Seneca 6 by Bernard J. Schaffer
--I was one of the proofreaders on this book but took on the task because I really wanted to read it. I ended up reading it twice and loved it both times. (The second time around was after the final edits were done.) I mean, how could a browncoat not absolutely love a story about space cowboys?
Infected and Emergence by William Vitka
--The story behind my reading of these two will end up getting a blog post of its own, right before Infected is released. That story is a long one. You won't find my reviews because neither book is available yet. Infected will be out in June of 2012 and Emergence is still going through the editing process. Still, I'm the editor on this project and I can tell you it deserves all five of its stars even before those edits are done. Vitka could be the guy who knocks JFM off the top of the mountain.
J.R. Ward--The Black Dagger Brotherhood series
--This is a hot and steamy series about a group of badass vampires. Right up my alley. Technically it's paranormal romance, but it's definitely not chick lit.
Richelle Mead--The Succubus series (Georgina Kinkaid)
--This one's a heartbreaker the whole way through. It's true paranormal romance. Bring Kleenex.
Stephenie Meyer--The Host
--This is the book that made me wonder whether Stephenie Meyer is a writer to watch out for. The Twilight series is definitely not her best work; this is.
Jim Butcher--The Dresden Files series
--I was a Dresden fan before I spent the summer of 2011 reading this entire series. (Okay, I still haven't finished Ghost Story.) I'm hooked.
A Look Ahead
Since I've become so involved with other writers, I find myself with less time for recreational reading. Therefore, I decided that rather than give myself a number goal for 2012, I would create a reading list with specific authors and titles on it. I love the Russians, so many of the titles are by Russian authors, but others are by authors who've influenced those with whom I've been working.
In no particular order, here's the unofficial list for 2012 (from 12/26/11 to 12/25/12):
Jim Butcher -- finish Ghost Story and Side Jobs
Elmore Leonard -- Pronto and Riding the Rap
Neil Gaiman -- Coraline
Richard Matheson -- I Am Legend
H. P. Lovecraft -- Collected Works (it's only 2400 pages-I can do that, right?)
Edgar Allen Poe -- finish Complete Works
Fyodor Dostoyevsky -- Crime and Punishment
Leo Tolstoy -- War and Peace (I'm determined to finally do it this year, maybe audio version)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe -- re-read Faust
Anton Chekhov -- still undecided
Vladimir Nabokov -- finish Lolita
Mikhail Bulgakov -- The Master and Margarita
David K. Hulegaard -- The Jumper, Noble (revised), and Bloodlines
Jeff Bennington -- Twisted Vengeance
Richard Roberts -- Sweet Dreams Are Made of Teeth
Franz Kafka -- re-read The Castle (maybe)
George R. R. Martin -- A Game of Thrones
Talk to me: What's on your 2012 reading list?