the year in books 2011 and a book geekery link party

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. In fact, the end of another calendar year rarely inspires me to introspection, despite the onslaught of it on every pair of lips and blog.com this time of year. December just doesn’t leave me inspired to “take stock”—that’s anniversary territory. But two years ago I did start one year-end tradition: The Click Clack Gorilla Year in Books.

I am a book geek. I read constantly. And because I like remembering where I was in my life when I read certain tomes, I keep a list in the back of my journal of every book that I finish. In 2009 a friend of mine shared her own list online, and I was inspired. I could share my list and start conversations with other book geeks about how our literary years had panned out! I could gaze upon a year’s worth of reading all in one neat little spot and feel smug about all the reading I had accomplished! I could pick favorites and least favorites and feel like I had a good reason to babble about them! A tradition was born. (You can check out the 2009 and 2010 years in books by clicking the hyperlinks.)

This year I decided to include audio books because I listened to so damn many of them (but I only included those that are unabridged readings and not those that are chopped up dramatized versions). In previous years I left them out because it somehow felt like cheating to include them. But then I realized that that was ridiculous.

This year I’d also like to invite you all to share your own reading lists. Especially all you bloggers reading—which is why I’m making this year’s Year in Books the first Click Clack Gorilla link carnival. So if you have a blog, post your own year in books post and add a link to it using the linky tool below. You don’t have to have kept and share a meticulous geek list like I do—I want to read your year’s book lists, hear about your favorite (and least favorite) books this year, or listen to your rants about digital readers and the deaths of independent book stores. Anything that sums up in the year in light of books and reading and literary geekery is welcome. And if you don’t have your own blog, I’d still love to hear from you in the comments. Because I love this stuff. LOVE IT. There is only one rule: if you link up to the party, please put a link back to this post somewhere in the post you’ve linked. Link link link linkity link. And now that I’m done overusing that word, onto the books.

Looking back over my list is a little like looking at a photo album of the year’s events. I remember reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide series while relaxing in Leofels for New Years with a gaggle of friends. I remember getting really into listening to books on cd while doing dishes and cleaning. I remember when Aunt and Uncle Sprinkles sent me the Song of Fire and Ice series and how I read one book after the other in the outdoor bed we set up for the hot weeks we had in April.

My mid-year reads remind me of getting pregnant when I see the onslaught of audio books I listened to because I was puking too much to handle actual reading followed by a ton of books about having babies. I remember buying books at the anarchist festival in Appelscha at a few titles, and I remember finally getting my ass to the Mainz library to get a membership at a few others. I remember resolving to read as many books from my to-read shelf before the baby comes as was humanly possible. My only regret is that I still haven’t managed to acheive last year’s goal of finally reading Kafka in the original German. Those books are still staring at me accusatorily from the shelf.

My favorites of 2011 were When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, Mythmakers and Lawbreakers by Margaret Killjoy, The Forest People by Colin Turnbull, and Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher by Walter Moers and Eragon by Christopher Poalini were the most disappointing. And On the Road by Jack Kerouac wins by a landslide for straight-up most horrible. All in all I’d say it’s been a pretty good year. Happy 2012 everyone! And if the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world coming this year, see you in the twelves.

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (reread)
2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
3. Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
4. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
5. Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (audio)
7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (audio)
8. Heraline Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a 19th Century French Hermaphrodite
9. Breakfast in the Ruins by Michael Moorecock
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (audio)
11. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (audio—I’m including the three as one because they aren’t unabridged)
12. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (audio)
13. The Nonexistent Knight by Italo Calvino
14. The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino
15. If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
16. PNIN by Vladimir Nabokov
17. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (you can read a really well put review of this here)
18. Die 13 1/2 Leben Kapitän Blaubär by Walter Moers (audio)
19. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
20. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
21. Issues 1-6 of The New Escapologist
22. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
23. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
24. Mythmakers and Lawbreakers by Margaret Killjoy
25. Songs of the Doomed Gonzo Papers Volume 3: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson
26. My Mother Wears Combat Boots by Jessica Mills
27. PM Press Outspoken Authors: Ursula LeGuin, The Wild Girls by Ursula LeGuin
28. Die Stadt der Träumender Bücher by Walter Moers (audio)
29. Eragon by Christopher Poalini (audio)
30. Dr. Bloodmoney by P.K. Dick
31. Coraline by Neil Gaimon
32. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (audio)
33. The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 3: Second Variety by Philip K. Dick
34. Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima
35. Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
36. The Life Within by Jean Hegland
37. The Forest People by Colin Turnbull
38. Museum of the Weird by Amelia Gray
39. I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
40. Pippi Langstrumpf by Astrid Lindgren
41. Native Son by Richard Wright
42. Schrecksenmeister by Walter Moers (audio)
43. Pippi Langstrumpf geht an Bord by Astrid Lindgren
44. The Essential Hip Mama: Writing From the Cutting Edge of Parenting edited by Ariel Gore
45. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (audio)
46. Second Nature by Michael Pollan
47. All Fires the Fire by Julio Cortazar
48. Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
49. Wise Woman’s Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed
50. His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite
51. Rumo by Walter Moers (audio)
52. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
53. The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin
54. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
55. The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff
56. Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
57. Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher by Walter Moers
58. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
59. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
60. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
61. Foxfire Volume 1
62. The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
63. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
64. Ensel und Krete by Walter Moers (audio)

Photo (cc) flickr user Shawn Calhoun

If you want to link up to the year in books party, click the tool below to add your link or to view the links others have added. For some reason my wordpress version doesn’t let me display them within the post. The party will be open for new link addage from now until January 9th at noon (in Germany).



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Wednesday December 28th 2011, 9:00 am 18 Comments
Filed under: books,conspiracies

18 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

It’s difficult to know what to say about books after seeing your list :D For years, I used to read a lot and have very large bookshelves, but then started to feel weighed down by the books I owned. Don’t really know why. Nowadays I read fewer ‘real’ books and those I buy or exchange with friends I mostly pass onward. I like biographies, some fantasy e.g. Charles de Lint, novels that deal with the big choices that people make, and non-fiction about traveling or health. I must admit that the e-readers aren’t for me, not yet at least, for I love paper books too much. For the past year I’ve been reading a lot about nutrition(and mainly online or by borrowing books), since my body couldn’t cope with being a strict vegan and I’ve wanted to see if I could find out why.

Comment by Sara 12.28.11 @ 1:44 pm

Ha of course I had already written this post weeks ago in anticipation! One of my favorite ways to end the calendar year for sure, even though it makes me sad that I don’t have more time for reading things that aren’t guides to chicken diseases.

Comment by fishinthewater 12.28.11 @ 5:02 pm

We are the same person.

Comment by Robert Wringham 12.28.11 @ 11:14 pm

yay! thanks for sharing. i’ll post mine on fb once the year is up.

Comment by finn 12.29.11 @ 2:08 am

A great idea of yours… and I do like the booktree!

Comment by Keith 12.29.11 @ 6:42 am

Sara: I know the feeling of being weighed down by having too many books. I felt that way for a long time. Now I give away anything I don’t plan on reading again. Though I still keep a lot, particularly because most of the books I want to read aren’t available at the library here in English. I’m also more picky about what I buy. Used to have way too many to-reads laying around sort of sucking up my energy in their overwhelming hugeness. Sold most of those though. Anyway, it keeps things manageable.

fishie: Sweet! Can’t wait to see your list!

Robert: Well that’s going to be good for both of our resumes, now isn’t it. :) Viva la book geeks.

finn: Hurrah! Looking forward to your list too. You are the original inspiration you know…

Keith: Thanks!

Comment by clickclackgorilla 12.29.11 @ 4:10 pm

I reread “Jane Eyre” and realized that Jane is a much more ambiguous character than I’d thought. On the one hand, the fierce independence – and how revolutionary that must have seemed in the 1840s, coming from a dependent, poor, plain woman – on the other hand the yearing to BELONG. And Charlotte Bronte’s refusal to write a soppy happy ending, how she turns the tables at the end and Jane ends up with all the power…let’s just say that Jane Eyre is this year’s rediscovered classic for me.

Comment by Smilla 01.01.12 @ 1:51 pm

My dad brought out his copies of the first 9 foxfire volumes for me over Christmas. I’ve got to get through a couple more baby books before I dig into them. How did you hear about them?

Thanks to your recommendation I just finished Nina Planck’s Real Food for Mother and Baby and I’m reconsidering some dietary choices I made years ago and stuck with because they were a combination of Weight Watchers and Saving the Planet type mentalities.

Comment by Foy Update: Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat. 01.02.12 @ 11:05 pm

Foy: Oh wow you have the first nine volumes?! Lucky you. I only have three of the Foxfire books. How did I hear about them, hmmm. I think a friend of mine in North Carolina had one or two of them, and then I would look through them in used book stores again and again. Finally got around to getting some copies of my own. Really fantastic books.

Glad to hear you enjoyed Planck’s book. I really loved it, I have to say. Very thought provoking. Of course I try to take all dietary advice with a very large grain of salt, but the stuff she says in there really speaks to an instinctual and logical part of me.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 01.03.12 @ 1:41 pm

Um. Yeah. And I was bragging I’d read 28 books this year.

Italo Calvino is brilliant- I’ll have to read If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler again one of these days.

Anyway, here’s a link to my top ten faves this year: http://www.holly-goes-light-ly.blogspot.com/2012/01/year-in-books-2011.html

I’ll definitely be stalking your blog.

Comment by Holly 01.03.12 @ 4:17 pm

Holly: Hurray for another book lister! “If on a winter’s night” was so damn good. Although I have to admit rather jarring to have to keep switching between stories. But so fantastic. I still think very fondly of the professor who introduced his work to me.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 01.04.12 @ 1:29 pm

Book you might want to add to your sci/fi type list. If you don’t have a problem with unfinished series, that is. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is fabulous. Supposedly it will be a trilogy and the first two book are out. It feels like there is more than one book of story left. Perhaps it will become several trilogies like the Hobbs Assasin and Farseer trilogies.

Comment by Foy Update: Garden. Cook. Write. Repeat. 01.04.12 @ 5:56 pm

I love this idea!! I am going to start keeping better track of what I read. It’s fun to look back! Love looking at what you’ve read!

Comment by Katherine Martinelli 01.07.12 @ 10:59 am

Hey there, and happy new year! Thanks for commenting on my list, I’d have missed your carnival otherwise although I had been intending to come and see if you posted a list too. I haven’t heard of most of what’s on your list either – that’s always the way though. Too many books in the world for everyone to ever get through them all.
Love the tree of books – you should make it into a graphic that can be made into a yoke for people to use to link back to your blog with (I know that’s probably easier said than done but tech savvy people do that kind of thing all the time, don’t they?).
By the way, I also love your new dryer and am very jealous – I have a standard clothes horse that gets moved around the place depending on where I want to be (if I’m in the kitchen cooking, it gets moved to the sitting room and so on).

Comment by Moonwaves 01.07.12 @ 9:21 pm

I wish I kept a list of books I’ve read some of them just evaporate from memory. I recently read The Bloody Chamber (retelling fairy tales), Scavenger’s Manifesto, The Fuck-Up, Tale of 12 Kitchens, Urban Homesteaders’ Guide (slightly wrong title sorry), The Earth Knows My Name (ethnic, ancestral gardens) lots of graphic novels. My favorite book I want to reread in Kristen Lavransdatter. Why? Because I enjoy weeping in the winter.

Comment by tess 01.08.12 @ 7:22 am

Foy: I’ll have to look out for that one at the library and the flea markets. As I’m sure I’ve lamented before, it’s a bit hard to come by all the English books I’d like to read without being forced to buy them. So fingers crossed. Also don’t know the other two trilogies you mentioned. Oh what a long to-read list I have. If I had a time machine I would use it to make the time to read all the books in the world.

Katherine: Hope to maybe next year see a list from you! I love reading other people’s lists and keeping my own. Book geek yeah yeah yeah!

Moonwaves: I was totally excited to see your list on my RSS feed yesterday. Wohoo! Good idea with the graphic. I should do that for next year’s book list link party. And in general have some of those buttons. It does seem like everybody has them so they can’t be that hard to make can they? Fingers crossed. I don’t have a lot of computer patience.

Tess: Haven’t heard of or read any of those books either. Hot damn! But the titles all sound intriguing. Weeping seems appropriate in the winter to me a lot of the time too.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 01.08.12 @ 12:59 pm

Gelesen 2011…

Ich wollte immer schon mal eine Liste aller Bücher die ich gelesen habe, aber für die letzten 40 Jahre ist das wohl nicht mehr aufzuholen … Inspiriert von Click Clack Gorilla habe ich es aber mal für 2011 versucht, das ist eine ganz schön lange Liste…

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