Mephistopheles of Pancakes (gruyere) wrote,
Mephistopheles of Pancakes

Books of 2011

The books I read in 2011
Title, Author (Translator and Language, where applicable). Genre. Source format. Start date-End date. Page count.

  1. Women With Men, Richard Ford. Short stories. Promo paperback. 1/1-1/8. 242 pages. 1
  2. The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard. Novel. New galley. 1/2-1/4. 240 pages.
  3. Assholes Finish First, Tucker Max. Humor. Ebook read at work. 1/4-1/20. 404 pages.
  4. An Albany Trio, William Kennedy. Three novels. Used paperback. 1/4-1/27. 612 pages. 2
  5. Donkey Gospel, Tony Hoagland. Poetry. New paperback. 1/8-3/17. 71 pages.
  6. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, David Mitchell. Novel. New hardcover. 1/9-1/18. 479 pages.
  7. The Lover's Dictionary, David Levithan. Novel. Ebook read at work. 1/24. 211 pages.
  8. Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, Andrew Shaffer. History. New paperback. 1/26-1/27. 176 pages.
  9. Tell-All, Chuck Palahniuk. Novel. New hardcover. 1/27-1/28. 179 pages.
  10. The Virgin of Flames, Chris Abani. Novel. New paperback. 1/29-2/15. 291 pages. 3
  11. Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer. History. Used paperback. 1/31-2/8. 390 pages.
  12. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy. Novel. Used paperback. 2/2-2/9. 242 pages. 4
  13. The Heaven of Mercury, Brad Watson. Novel. Used paperback. 2/11-2/28. 338 pages.
  14. The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes, The Editors of McSweeney's, editors. Humor. Ebook read at work. 2/13-2/27. 224 pages. 5
  15. The Nobodies Album, Carolyn Parkhurst. Novel. New hardcover. 2/14-2/20. 313 pages.
  16. Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny. Novel. Library hardcover. 2/21-2/27. 373 pages.
  17. The Gospel of Anarchy, Justin Taylor. Novel. New paperback. 2/28-3/6. 240 pages.
  18. Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart. Novel. New hardcover. 3/1-3/10. 332 pages.
  19. The Surf Guru, Doug Dorst. Short stories. New hardcover. 3/11-3/14. 278 pages.
  20. Sleep Deprivation Chamber, Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy. Play. New paperback. 3/14. 54 pages.
  21. The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt. Novel. New galley. 3/15-3/24. 325 pages.
  22. Composed, Rosanne Cash. Autobiography. New hardcover. 3/16-3/21. 244 pages.
  23. West of Here, Jonathan Evison. Novel. New galley. 3/24-4/3. 486 pages.
  24. The Piano Tuner, Daniel Mason. Novel. Used paperback. 3/25-4/4. 320 pages.
  25. Seriously Funny, Barbara Hamby and David Kirby, editors. Poetry anthology. New paperback. 3/26-10/19. 412 pages. 6
  26. Bodies of Water, Rosanne Cash. Short stories. Used hardcover. 4/4-4/5. 133 pages.
  27. Other People We Married, Emma Straub. Short stories. New paperback. 4/5-4/13. 215 pages.
  28. You Lost Me There, Rosecrans Baldwin. Novel. New hardcover. 4/6-4/11. 296 pages.
  29. The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht. Novel. New hardcover. 4/12-4/21. 340 pages.
  30. The Dancer Upstairs, Nicholas Shakespeare. Novel. Used paperback. 4/15-4/23. 271 pages.
  31. Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco. Novel. New hardcover. 4/22-5/1. 306 pages.
  32. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley. Novel. Used paperback. 4/23-5/6. 371 pages.
  33. The Singer’s Gun, Emily St. John Mandel. Novel. New hardcover. 5/2-5/13. 288 pages.
  34. Nobody Ever Gets Lost, Jess Row. Short stories. New paperback. 5/7-5/10. 189 pages.
  35. Old School, Tobias Wolff. Novel. Used paperback. 5/12-5/14. 195 pages.
  36. Open Secrets, Alice Munro. Short stories. Used paperback. 5/14-5/22. 294 pages.
  37. GraceLand, Chris Abani. Novel. New paperback. 5/15-5/28. 321 pages. 7
  38. The White Devil, Justin Evans. Novel. New galley. 5/22-5/26. 368 pages.
  39. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, Mark Kurlansky. History. Used paperback. 5/26-6/5. 277 pages.
  40. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu. Novel. New hardcover. 5.29-6/1. 239 pages.
  41. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. Novel. New hardcover. 6/2-6/7. 374 pages.
  42. The Sojourn, Andrew Krivak. Novel. New galley. 6/6-6/11. 192 pages.
  43. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins. Novel. New hardcover. 6/8-6/13. 391 pages.
  44. Flesh and Blood, Michael Cunningham. Novel. Used paperback. 6/11-6/23. 466 pages.
  45. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins. Novel. New hardcover. 6/13-6/19. 392 pages.
  46. 1001, Jason Grote. Play. New paperback. 6/19. 66 pages.
  47. The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, George Saunders with illustrations by Lane Smith. Novel. New hardcover. 6/20. 84 pages.
  48. The Great Night, Chris Adrian. Novel. New hardcover. 6/23-7/3. 292 pages.
  49. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett. Novel. New galley. 6/25-7/7. 353 pages.
  50. Swamplandia!, Karen Russell. Novel. New hardcover. 7/8-7/14. 316 pages.
  51. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh. Novel. Used paperback. 7/11-7/13. 348 pages.
  52. Reamde, Neal Stephenson. Novel. New galley. 7/14-8/12. 983 pages.
  53. Out of My Skin, John Haskell. Novel. Used paperback. 7/14-7/31. 211 pages.
  54. Cold Cereal, Adam Rex. Novel. New galley. 8/12-8/14. 422 pages. 8
  55. Wildwood, Colin Meloy with illustrations by Carson Ellis. Novel. New galley. 8/15-8/22. 541 pages. 9
  56. The Book of Daniel, E.L. Doctorow. Novel. Used paperback. 8/17-8/21. 303 pages.
  57. Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick. Novel. New galley. 8/22-8/23. 180 pages. 10
  58. Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, Dan LeFranc. Play. New paperback. 8/25. 86 pages.
  59. Pretty Theft, Adam Szymkowicz. Play. New paperback. 8/26. 67 pages.
  60. How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Daniel H. Wilson with illustrations by Richard Horne. Humor. New paperback. 8/27-8/29. 174 pages.
  61. Opus, Michael Hollinger. Play. New paperback. 8/29. 65 pages.
  62. Zombies vs. Unicorns, Justin Larbalestier and Holly Black, editors. Fiction anthology. New hardcover. 8/30-9/9. 420 pages. 11
  63. Not the End of the World, Kate Atkinson. Short stories. Used paperback. 9/1-9/5. 252 pages.
  64. Faithful Place, Tana French. Novel. Promo paperback. 9/5-9/15. 401 pages.
  65. Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld. Novel. New hardcover. 9/10-9/23. 485 pages. 12
  66. A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar. History. Used paperback. 9/15-9/21. 320 pages.
  67. Bright and Distant Shores, Dominic Smith. Novel. New paperback. 9/21-10/6. 470 pages.
  68. Fat Vampire, Adam Rex. Novel. New hardcover. 9/24-9/29. 324 pages.
  69. Rupert: A Confession, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison. Novel. New hardcover. 9/30-10/11. 131 pages.
  70. Felicia’s Journey, William Trevor. Novel. Used paperback. 10/6-10/9. 213 pages.
  71. The Leftovers, Tom Perotta. Novel. New galley. 10/10-10/18. 355 pages.
  72. One Hundred Percent Lunar Boy, Stephen Tunney. Novel. New hardcover. 10/12-10/21. 308 pages.
  73. The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature, Ben Segal and Erinrose Mager, editors. Fiction anthology. New paperback. 10/21-11/1. 103 pages. 13
  74. The Artist’s Wife, Max Phillips. Novel. Used paperback. 10/21-10/29. 254 pages.
  75. Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer. Science. New hardcover. 10/22-10/25. 287 pages.
  76. Darth Paper Strikes Back, Tom Angleberger. Novel. Hardcover read at work. 10/26-10/27. 159 pages.
  77. Moon Palace, Paul Auster. Novel. Used paperback. 10/29-10/31. 307 pages.
  78. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, Stephen Sondheim. Theatre. New hardcover. 10/29-10/31. 421 pages.
  79. My Year of Meats, Ruth L. Ozeki. Novel. Used paperback. 10/31-11/1. 377 pages.
  80. More Perfect Depictions of Noise, Justin Taylor. Poetry. New paperback. 11/2-11/13. 41 pages.
  81. Damned, Chuck Palahniuk. Novel. New hardcover. 11/2-11/4. 247 pages.
  82. Stone Arabia, Dana Spiotta. Novel. New hardcover. 11/5-11/8. 235 pages.
  83. Busy Monsters, William Giraldi. Novel. New hardcover. 11/8-11/14. 282 pages.
  84. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie. Novel. Used paperback. 11/12-12/8. 552 pages.
  85. Sing, Brat, Sing, René Fülöp-Miller, translated from the German by Richard Winston. Novel. Used hardcover. 11/15-11/21. 191 pages.
  86. People Who Led to My Plays, Adrienne Kennedy. Autobiography. New paperback. 11/23-11/27. 125 pages.
  87. Arkansas, John Brandon. Novel. New hardcover. 11/28-12/10. 224 pages.
  88. Angels and Insects, A.S. Byatt. Novellas. Used paperback. 12/8-12/16. 337 pages.
  89. The Starboard Sea, Amber Dermont. Novel. New galley. 12/16-12/19. 310 pages.
  90. Flatscreen, Adam Wilson. Novel. New paperback galley. 12/20-12/24. 326 pages.
  91. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. Novel. New galley. 12/24-12-29. 387 pages.
  92. From B.A. to Payday: Launching Your Career After College, D.A. Hayden and Michael Wilder. Self-help, I guess. Library paperback. 12/27. 238 pages. 14
  93. Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations, Alexander McCall Smith. Short stories. Used paperback. 12/30-12/31. 200 pages.

  1. Signed copy I picked up in a Twitter giveaway from Knopf.
  2. Consists of Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, and Ironweed.
  3. Signed copy given to me by my dad after Abani spoke at Bowdoin as part of a series of guest lectures that my dad is involved with.
  4. First reread. Previously read during the summer of 2006.
  5. Literary humor by many different authors, mostly from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
  6. Collection of humorous (not comic) poetry by many different authors of varying degrees of notability.
  7. Signed copy given to me by my dad after Abani lectured at Bowdoin.
  8. Alas, missing most of the illustrations that will be in the published version.
  9. Alas, also missing most of the illustrations in the published version.
  10. Containing all of the illustrations in the published version, which makes sense, considering that an entire half of the plot is conveyed solely through the art. Thus, this page count is an estimate—the book is much longer than this, but the rest is all pictures.
  11. A collection of stories—some about zombies, some about unicorns—by various notable YA and fantasy authors. Team Unicorn: Holly Black, Meg Cabot, Kathleen Duey, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, and Diana Peterfreund. Team Zombie: Justine Larbalestier, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan, and Scott Westerfeld.
  12. Including some (but not many) illustrations by Keith Thompson
  13. A collection of blurbs for and synopses of imaginary books, written by many authors of varying degrees of notability.
  14. The one and only book I read this year that wasn’t for pleasure. It shows, doesn’t it?

Various Tallies

Individual books read: 93
Books read for the first time: 92
Titles from: Albany Trio, An through Zombies vs. Unicorns
Authors from: Abani, Chris. through Yu, Charles
Books read in translation: 2

Source Count
  • Library: 2
  • New: 60
  • Promo: 2
  • Used: 25
  • Read at Work: 4

Format Count
  • Ebook: 3
  • Galley: 12
  • Hardcover: 32
  • Paperback: 44
  • Paperback Galley: 2

Genre Count
  • Autobiography: 2
  • Fiction Anthology: 2
  • History: 4
  • Humor: 3
  • Novel: 53
  • Novellas: 1
  • Play: 5
  • Poetry: 2
  • Poetry Anthology: 1
  • Science: 1
  • Self-Help, I Guess: 1
  • Short Stories: 8
  • Theatre: 1

Total pages read: 27,167
Average Pages per Day: 74.38
Average Pages per Book: 292.12
Average Days per Book: 3.93


Eight Books That Could Make Good Musicals: The Moviegoer, The Piano Tuner, A Thousand Acres, The Singer’s Gun (sort of), Trainspotting (I wish), One Hundred Percent Lunar Boy (maybe?), Busy Monsters (if you’re insane), and The Night Circus (but it could probably never be staged).
Two Books That Have Already Been Made Into Musicals: The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip and Sing, Brat, Sing.
Four Books That Have Already Been Made Into Plays: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Flesh and Blood, Trainspotting, and Midnight’s Children.
I Get It, You’re Awesome. But for God’s Sake, Would It Kill You to Make a Little Sense?: Chris Adrian and Chris Abani have similar names and similar talents for writing gorgeous prose ensconced in almost completely impenetrable books.
Really, That’s Your Ending?: Ilustrado (nevertheless still a very good novel), The White Devil (annoying), The Hunger Games Trilogy (pretty much all of Mockingjay), and Damned (what ending?).
Nine and a Half Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud at Least a Couple of Times: Assholes Finish First (again, I’m terribly ashamed), Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes, the first half of Super Sad True Love Story, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, Trainspotting, Reamde, Cold Cereal, Busy Monsters, and Flatscreen.
My New Favorite Thing, Maybe, 2011 Edition: Amber Dermont. When I asked her on Facebook if I was missing the significance of three characters in The Starboard Sea having names that were anagrams of each other’s, she didn’t answer me. Instead, she pointed out that my name is an anagram of “Deflects Her Hints.” I like this lady.
Four Arguments for the Resurrection of the TV Miniseries Format: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, The Heaven of Mercury, West of Here, and Flesh and Blood (a thousand times over).
Keep Trying and You’ll Get It Right: I didn’t like either of Tana French’s first two Dublin Murder Squad novels (In the Woods and The Likeness), but she’s finally managed to construct a satisfying mystery in Faithful Place, which also happens to be enormously moving.
Missed It By That Much: Louise Penny’s marvelous Bury Your Dead is eminently worthy of being in the Top Ten, but I’ve chosen to exclude on account of it has to be read in tandem with the previous book in the Armand Gamache series, The Brutal Telling (which I liked, but not as much, when I read it in 2009), or else a full third of the plot won’t really make any sense.
Fourteen Notable Authors I Read for the First Time This Year: Chris Abani, Kate Atkinson, Paul Auster, A.S. Byatt, Suzanne Collins, William Kennedy, Alice Munro, Tom Perotta, Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, Dana Spiotta, William Trevor, Irvine Welsh, and Tobias Wolff.

Top Ten Eleven Books (Alphabetical by Author)
  • Composed, Rosanne Cash
  • Flesh and Blood, Michael Cunningham
  • Faithful Place, Tana French
  • Busy Monsters, William Giraldi
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, David Mitchell
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
  • The Nobodies Album, Carolyn Parkhurst
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
  • Reamde, Neal Stephenson
  • One Hundred Percent Lunar Boy, Stephen Tunney
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu

With special citations for the books that made the shortlist: You Lost Me There, The Sisters Brothers, The Surf Guru, The Tiger’s Wife, Bury Your Dead (see in the trivia above), The Leftovers, State of Wonder, Swamplandia!, Wonderstruck, Bright and Distant Shores, Other People We Married, Ilustrado, and Flatscreen.

Notably Lousy Books (Also Alphabetical by Author)
  • Angels and Insects, A.S. Byatt: I feel bad about including this here, considering it’s the first Byatt I’ve ever read, but I found it dry at best and impenetrable at worst.
  • Sing, Brat, Sing, René Fülöp-Miller: Junk. Just junk.
  • Out of My Skin, John Haskell: For god’s sake, why couldn’t something HAPPEN?
  • Sleep Deprivation Chamber, Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy: Adrienne Kennedy wrote those amazing, brilliant early plays that made her a major name in the off-Broadway scene…and then appears to have just given up.
  • An Albany Trio, William Kennedy: Simply unreadable. I’m aware that Kennedy has a Pulitzer. I don’t care.
  • Tell-All, Chuck Palahniuk: Not Palahniuk’s worst—and actually kind of funny at times—but so very, very stupid.

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