Monday, December 19, 2011

The Year-End Meme

I completed this meme last year and wanted to kick off my year-end lists with it again this year. It may foreshadow the lists that will be coming throughout the next week or so but I think there will still be quite a few surprises for you to uncover in those lists.

1. Best Book of 2011 – Last year I had a tie in this one and while there are a lot of great, great books I read this year, one does stand out above the rest for me and that’s THE RIDGE. Michael Koryta has been a wonderful writer since his debut with TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE, but THE RIDGE takes him to a whole new level of greatness.

2. Worst Book of 2011 – This year was a great, great year for reading but I also had quite a few books that I didn't review because they just hit all the wrong chords with me. And this year I believe I had more books that I simply didn't finish than ever before. It's hard for me to pick one that stands out, but these four were no-gos for me: THE WEIGHT (Andrew Vachss), LOVE ME TO DEATH (Allison Brennan), THIEVES GET RICH, SAINTS GET SHOT (Jodi Compton) and TABLOID CITY (Pete Hamill).

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2011 – DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X. I know a lot of people liked this and I was looking forward to it, but it just fell flat for me. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I'm actually surprised I finished the book at all.

4. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2011 – I'm going to go with HOUSE DIVIDED by Mike Lawson here. I wasn't expecting it to be bad. I had no idea what to expect, so when it was so wonderful, I was very pleasantly surprised.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2011 – I recommended YOU’RE NEXT, THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES and SATORI endlessly this year, so I’m not sure which of those was the most often.

6. Best series you discovered in 2011 – Phillip Brennan/Marina Esposito series from Tania Carver and the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alystyne series from Julia Spencer-Fleming.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011 – Martyn Waites, Louis Bayard, Lesley Kagen, Will Lavender, Mike Lawson, Daniel Palmer, Todd Ritter, Ace Atkins - I read 50 new authors this year and it's wonderful that so many were this spectacular, but my must-read list is growing out of control!

8. Most hilarious read of 2011 – This category's a little more difficult for me because I don't read books that would be categorized as "comedy" but at the same time, one of the qualities I love about my favorite books are the humor that weaves its way in. But I think the book I enjoyed the most and that packed the most humor would be THE WORLD'S GREATEST SLEUTH! (Steve Hockensmith).

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011YOU’RE NEXT. This book is just WOW on every level imaginable. Even though I despise the word “unputdownable” I had a terrible time parting with YOU’RE NEXT and it was one of my very few single sitting reads this year.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2011 – This would be a toss up between LONG GONE, because I always anticipate a new Alafair Burke book, THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES because there was a bit of a lull between Marcus’ publications and A HARD DEATH because I've been waiting several years for the U.S. folks to publish Jonathan Hayes' second novel. Yay!

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011 – I think I have to give this nod to THE RIDGE. All the jackets that Michael Koryta has had with Little, Brown have been wonderful, but this was my favorite. And I love the texture of it as well as the look of it.

12. Most memorable character in 2011 – I have to go back to Daniel in Robert Crais' THE SENTRY for this one. He is by far my favorite antagonist ever. I sure would like to see him come back maybe in a book of his own.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2011 – This one is so hard this year. SATORI was just incredibly written, CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER amazing, THE RIDGE left me breathless, THE HANGING TREE was stunning, A SIMPLE ACT OF VIOLENCE - I seriously think Roger can only write beautifully, it would be a challenge for him to write mediocre, and finally YOU'RE NEXT - I can't imagine not being struck to your soul by Gregg's amazing book.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011 – This is definitely a tight race between THE RIDGE and YOU'RE NEXT. They impacted me in different ways but both tremendously so. These will both be books I'm recommending for years and years to come.

15. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2011 to finally read? – this one is easy for me again. THE ALIENIST. How far behind can I possibly be?


le0pard13 December 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM  

Must. Schedule. YOU'RE NEXT as soon as possible. Fine meme, Jen (hey, that rhymes ;-). You are a reading machine :-). Thanks and Happy Holidays.

bermudaonion December 19, 2011 at 3:20 PM  

I love Koryta's writing but haven't read The Ridge yet. It sounds like I need to get with it!

gspotsylvania December 19, 2011 at 7:42 PM  

So wait - you sent me LOVE ME TO DEATH, you are in so much trouble! Also you have not read THE ALIENIST?!? Maybe I should start sending books to you!!! xoxoxoox

Beth Hoffman December 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM  

Adding The Ridge to my list right now!

Perry St Lawyer December 20, 2011 at 11:18 AM  

The Ridge was very good. Couldn't put it down.

Oddly, I don't recall getting past the first chapter or 2 of You're Next,and that's odd because I loved the Crime Writer. Will try again. I must have been distracted.

Keep the lists coming. Short pithy recommendations from you are the best thing since sliced bread.

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