Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Friday, December 23, 2011

Year-End Wrap Up Post: Best Of Lists, Challenges & Holiday Break

Please excuse the extra-long post but this is an exciting time of year and there's a lot to be shared about this first year (and a half) of book blogging!  I sure hope everyone else's year was as good for reading as mine was.  In a word: Wow!  In just 1 1/2 years of book blogging, the number of books I read (compared to last year, from what I can remember) has increased more than three-fold, and the quality of books read has been incredible, thanks to recommendations from book bloggers and from sucking it up and digging into some classics I would not likely have thought to try.


Books Read:  56 (40 fiction, 16 nonfiction)
*For a complete list of books read in 2011, see Books Read by Year.
Pages Read:  21 097
Average Page Count:  366 (probably skewed due to the two 1000+ page whoppers in the list)
Shortest Book:  The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway (93 pages)
Longest Book:  The Stand- Stephen King (1141 pages)

*Note:  These are only for books that were reviewed in 2011:
A+ Books: 11
A Books:  26 (Very lucky)
B Books:  9
C Books:  4
D Books:  0 (Whew!)
DNFs:  4

Most Read Authors:  Stephen King (8), J.K. Rowling (7), John Irving (2)
Series Read:  Harry Potter (7), 1 each of Kinsey Millhone, Dark Tower, Hitchhikers, Chronicles of Narnia
New (to me) Authors:  Ian McEwan, Alexandre Dumas, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Khaled Hosseini, David Sedaris, Jeffrey Eugenides, Elie Wiesel, Ernest Hemingway, Daphne du Maurier, Bill Bryson, Frank McCourt, Michael Chabon


Most Surprising (in a good way)
Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
Going in, I thought this book would have aged terribly.  It definitely hasn't.  An amazing book.

Most Suspenseful
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
Every chapter ended on a cliffhanger!

The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
Caution: Having a drink while reading this book risks having it spurt out your nose :D

Various stories from Night Shift and Full Dark, No Stars, both by Stephen King
In short: rats, dead bodies coming to life, finding out your husband is a killer, slimy spiders, killer military toys, walking a 5-inch ledge on a skyscraper's top floor, quit smoking at the expense of your sanity, and mowing the lawn (yup, even that one's scary).

A Short Guide to Nearly Everything- Bill Bryson
The science class everyone should have been in.

Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
This story has stayed with me since I read it.  Beautiful, romantic, funny, what's not to love?

Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
I saw the Disney movie countless times as a kid but never read the book.  It was a sweet and
funny read.


*Note:  It was impossible to narrow each category down to a single choice.  Forgive the cop-out :)

Favourite Characters:  Col. Brandon (Sense & Sensibility), Noirtier de Villefort (The Count of Monte Cristo), Prof. Snape (Harry Potter series, especially in The Deathly Hallows), Mick Kelly (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), Hassan (The Kite Runner), Dill (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Favourite Villains:  Zaphrod Beeblebrox (Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix), Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray), Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca)

Favourite Series:  Harry Potter, of course!  I had a fantastic time reading the whole series (the last 4 books for the first time).

Favourite Quotations: 
"For you, a thousand times over" - Hassan, The Kite Runner
"To your sister I wish all imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavour to deserve her" - Col. Brandon, Sense and Sensibility
"Curiouser and curiouser" - Alice, Alice in Wonderland
"Come back to me" - Celia, Atonement
"'Forty-two,'" said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm." - The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy


*Note:  These may include books written before (often long before) 2011.

10)  Bag of Bones- Stephen King
9)  The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
8)  Night- Elie Wiesel
7)  The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini
6)  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- John Boyne
5)  To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee (this was a re-read but I can't exclude it from the list)
4)  Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
3)  The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
2)  Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
...*drumroll please*...
1)  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling


Always pack a towel--it will become very useful (The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy)
Don't trust a cat with green eyes (Pet Sematary)
Teach recipes in English class (Teacher Man)
A dead dog and a tuba will fit snugly but perfectly in the trunk of a car (Wonder Boys)
*Note:  I sure hope I never have to apply this lesson in my life.
Trust the memory of an elephant (Water For Elephants)
Watch your step lest you tumble down a rabbit hole...then again, go ahead (Alice in Wonderland)

*Special thanks to the hosts:  Sarah, Beth, Katy, Book Vixen & Carolyn :)

This is my first time participating in challenges and I managed to finish all 5 I signed up for.  I found by taking it easy with the number I signed up for (and believe me, it was hard to resist signing up for many, many more!), I could manage them and not feel like every book I read had to apply to one of them.  That right mix of flexibility and structure was just what I needed.

I read 26 books for 4 challenges with specific categories, and of course, all books counted towards the Outdo Yourself challenge.  For a complete list of books read for these challenges, visit my Challenges Checklist.

Back to the Classics
Wow, this was a very successful challenge!  After a couple of false starts on original book choices, I settled in and was not disappointed by any on this list.  I've already signed up for the encore challenge in 2012.
Favourite Book:  How do you choose between the A+s in this list?!

What's in a Name 4
A unique challenge that made me think outside the box to fit the title to the category.  I've already signed up for What's in a Name 5. 
Favourite Book:  A tough choice but I'd have to go with Fahrenheit 451.  It was very ahead
of its time and is important for everyone to read about the scary potential of losing the power and impact of the written word.

1st in a Series (level: Series Lover, 6 books)
This got me to read the entire Harry Potter series and get a jumpstart on The Chronicles of Narnia.  How could I lose? 
Favourite Book:  Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone, an infectious start to a wonderful

Stephen King (level: 6 books, plus 2 more)
Being a huge SK fan since I was a teenager, this was impossible to resist.  I read mostly older books of his with just one new one (I'll get to 11/22/63 next year).
Favourite Book:  Definitely Bag of Bones.  It was unlike any other Stephen King book I've read, surprised me in so many ways and not since The Mist have I read an SK book that stays with me long after reading it.

Outdo Yourself  (level:  I'm on Fire, 16+ more books)
I actually read 36 more books than last year!  My numbers from last year aren't exact, but from memory, I counted 17 books, and this year I read 53.  Yowzah! :D

I'm looking forward to seeing how you all did this year and your reading plans for 2012.  Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy yourself, and keep safe and warm, if you get any snow...remember snow?  It's that white fluff that usually falls sometime in December.  Yeah, I'm starting to forget what it looks like, too, and I live in Canada :D

I will be taking a break from book blogging to relax and enjoy the holidays from now until January 9th.  I may pop on occasionally but won't be doing reviews or memes until then.  I'll return with a book loot post should Santa leave any books under the tree ;)

All the best for a happy holiday and New Year!


  1. Happy Holidays to you also :-)

    I loved your stats. You have me interested in The Count....

    You really had an amazing year of reading, hope it continues into next year.

  2. Since blogging I've read a lot more books too, and better books at that.

    Merry Christmas! :)

  3. Wow. I can't believe I haven't noticed your blog any earlier! It is EXACTLY what I have been looking for: you read great books (and I say that because 1. your choice of books is varied and 2. because I seem to share your taste).

    Following from this moment on.

    P.S: As a teacher's daughter I can easily believe you that the quotation which makes your blog tile is used rather frequently :)

  4. Good reading! Congrats on a fun & fabulous book year. :)

  5. Enjoy your break...I gave myself a little two week break two...I've got one week left...I think I'm enjoying it a little too much!

    I was just going through some of my old blog comments and I saw that you commented on my Top Ten Tuesday post that you had the BABYSITTER'S CLUB MAP TOO!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea how totally excited that made me! I don't think I've heard of anyone having that map. I had the banner/ poster thing as well and me and my friends seriously made our own kid kits! lol

  6. You have so manny great books on your list! I love S&S and I am so glad you loved Hitchhiker too. I love your choices!

  7. All lovely, wonderful lists and books. I see lots of my own faves here and lots of books I would like to tackle in the nearish future. I've laid off Stephen King for years, but I am really interested to read Full Dark, No Stars, and I'm tempted by his newest book too.

  8. Hope you have as good as, if not better stats next year. Happy New Year to you!

  9. I love the "Lessons learned" segment of your year-end roundup! Happy Book Year!

  10. Fahrenheit 451 is still one of my very favorite books!

  11. You read soem great books this year - Kite Runner, The bOy In The Striped Pajamas... among me favs