Edited to add: This post is looong!
So, another year has ended. TBH I'm not quite sure where 2011 went. It hasn't been...the easiest of years, although compared to what others have been through it has been a walk in the park. *shrug* I guess it's all a matter of perspective :) And where have I ended 2011? Do I know who I really am? (Does anyone ever work that out or is it a journey of a lifetime?) Do I know what I want? Do I even know how to begin to answer these questions? *deep breath* If I worked anything out in 2011 it is that I need to keep on...keeping on. Take that stunted (hiding) human being and let her...grow beyond the walls of her own making, allow her to develop confidence and faith in her own abilities and...trust herself. Because...even though I'm working on pulling that emotional wall down I'm still hiding behind it. It's safer there. I almost think I functioned better with the wall intact. No panic attacks for one. But it's not living, it's existing. And one can't exist forever. Also...I need to learn to relax - being hypervigilant 24/7 is exhausting and I'm so over it - and to be happy. You wouldn't think that is something one would have to learn how to do, but..when have I ever been normal? *grin* So...obviously I have delusions of grandeur if I think I can accomplish all of that? Perhaps...not in 2012, but I make a start, yes?
And that brings me to family. It would be all but impossible to walk away unless I was suddenly thrust into Witness Protection (hopefully with a gorgeous hero to keep me company while I renovate a house) [Note to self: must stop re-reading Hide Out and day dreaming incessantly!]. But...the situation as it is is untenable. I can't move on and grow when I'm so entangled. So...I think I need to draw a firm line in the sand as far as family is concerned and ensure that in 2012 I do not cross it except as pre-specified. Something to discuss with the unnamed expert methinks...
And that brings me to the world of reading and challenges. I read a total of 125 books in 2011 (yes, the same number as 2010). At the beginning of the year I signed up for I Heart Paperbacks' M/M Romance Challenge 2011 and went for the option of reading 20+ m/m romances in 2010. And I read....94 novels/novellas! *blushes* What can I say, I love the genre! 2012 has been the year of Megan Derr, Ginn Hale, and Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux, and of course favourite authors such as Amy Lane, James Buchanan, Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo Price (to name but a few).
I also reissued the 2011 Big Book Challenge in an effort to actually read a large tombed book...you know, the ones with more than 500 pages that can be used as a paperweight? In 2011 I chose Astrid Amara's The Archer's Heart! And I finished it! *throws confetti* Will the Big Book Challenge be back for 2012? That is the question!
The last challenge I signed up for in 2011 was Home Girl's Book Blog's 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge. In 2010 I read 40 library books so I accepted the challenge to read 25 library books in 2011. And...I manged to read *drum roll* 29 library books! There definitely seems to be a downward trend, but I put that down to reading more m/m (eBooks) and to my wrists.
Unfortunately book reviews in 2011 were few and far between. I still have review notes for Corambis (Sarah Monette), which I read over a year ago, and I would like to review it so I have reviewed the entire (brilliant) series, so I think I might have to re-read the book. (Such a shame and ohhh it's a Big Book [in mass market paperback format anyway]!)
And finally I come to my favourite books for 2011. I read a number of five star books this year, but...these were the books that spoke to me. So...in no particular order (OK, alphabetical):
* Coda series (Marie Sexton) [Particularly the first and fourth books - the latter (Strawberries for Dessert) had me in tears]
* Cut & Run (Madeline Urban & Abigail Roux) [Ty & Zane, need I say more? *swoon*]
* Gathering Storm (Lyn Gala)
* Life After Joe (Harper Fox)
* One Real Thing (Anah Crow)
* Rescue Me (Scarlet Blackwell)
* Simple Gifts (LB Gregg) [For such a small book it packed a big punch!]
* Talker series (Amy Lane)
* The Rifter (Ginn Hale)
It's the emotional books I'm drawn to obviously :)
So, what challenges (reading or otherwise) are you thinking about accepting for 2012?