02 January 2012

The (Book) Year (2011) In Review

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?


  1. It's always a journey, orannia--always. Even that person who seems to have it all figured out has something to work on--and just because it may not be as obvious as other people's issues, it does not mean it's not a big issue.

    Like you, I'm at cross roads--existing is a good word for it. And indeed, a person shouldn't just exist forever. Living is what we are here for, and setting boundaries for other people and oneself is a good way to ensure that we can do that.

    So here's raising my glass of juice to you and wishing you progress on your journey, and all the small step success that entails, all through 2012!

    Book-wise: I just realized I haven't posted a new review in something like 18 months--yikes!!!!!

    Sucks, bad.

    So I entered Super Librarian Wendy's 2012 TBR Challenge officially this year, and I'm repeating Christine's In Death Challenge. With any luck, I'll go back to reviewing at least a book a week.

  2. That is such a good point azteclady. Even the most together people likely have something to work on...and people hide things. There is invariably far more beneath the surface. I hope I didn't imply that I had worse than others - that so wasn't my intent!

    Thank you. Here is raising a glass (of juice - I don't drink :) to both of us...to everyone on their journey!

    All the best with your reviewing and the challenges! *hugs*

  3. Congrats on your challenges, hon. You read some really great books.

    I hope 2012 is a much easier year for you. You deserve a good one. *hugs*

  4. Thank you Eyre :) Compared to last year I did a lot better with challenges. I hope 2012 is wonderful for you - you deserve a great year! *hugs back*

  5. You had an excellent reading year - may this one be at least as good, if not better.

    I don't officially enter challenges, other than the m/m one (and I mostly do that for the pretty button for my sidebar... shallow? Wha..?!).

    *hugs* I think you are making tons of progress, but maybe you are just too close to see it?

    I'm trying to figure out what my next steps are myself - I'm strongly suspecting that I have (relatively high functioning) Aspergers and not sure where to go with that suspicion/realization.

  6. ((orannia))

    You're undertaking such a courageous journey! And, doing it in such a self-aware way speaks a lot to how much you are growing, and will continue to grow, through it.

    It sounds like reading-wise, you've really blown away all of your 2011 goals. Congrats!

    I hear you, about the reviews. I've really struggled with that, myself, this year, and hope 2012 is much more fruitful, for both of us! :-)

    You have some great books listed there. LOVED Marie Sexton's Coda series, esp A to Z, and Strawberries for Dessert. The Cut & Run series was another discovery for me, too, and one of my favorite new (to me) series of 2011. I'm going to have to check out LB's novella. I really liked her Dudleytown one, but some how missed Simple Gifts.

    I haven't thought much about Challenges for 2012, but will have to consider Wendy's TBR. Also, maybe I need to FINALLY read Corambis in 2012. Can you believe I still haven't. Though, I'll have to seriously refresh my memory of the previous Melusine books, first!

    Happy New Year, orannia!

  7. I have no plan. It's sad. =/

    I think your challenges sound great! It's always important to have limits--except for when it comes to reading, of course. ;)

  8. Chris - thank you. Fingers crossed both our reading years are good ones :) Is the m/m challenge back this year? I wasn't sure...but I sure hope so! And thank you *hugs back* IDK what it is about the beginning of the year, but instead of looking forward I always seem to look back :( All the best with your next steps. I guess the initial question is - do you want confirmation? And, if so, do you think it change how you live your life? I guess what I'm trying to ask is - do you think there are processes out there that you don't know about that will help make life a little easier for you? *hugs* I wish you all the best and I'm hear if you need a friendly voice...um...friendly type *grin*

    Renee - thank you :) I do hope 2012 is a better year for you - 2011 was rough! So, fingers crossed! Oh, and Simple Gifts is a lovely read IMHO! Oh, and if you want to read Corambis...what about the Big Book Challenge? Corambis is my Big Book! And since I'm determined to review it...maybe we could tandem? Just a thoughts :) Oh...and the thought of re-reading the whole series...*bliss* But I should probably read A Company of Men first *grin*

    heidenkind - maybe your plan will come to you? Your subconscious perhaps just needs more percolation time? *grin* Mine is rather...nebulous TBH. And I don't think they should be stuck in stone but instead be fluid :) And I so agree on no reading limits! *grin*

  9. Happy new year Orannia!

    I can totally relate to the "existing" - I was really in my shell this past year. So best of luck to you on your personal and reading goals. :P

  10. Ames - thank you! Happy New Year to you too! I hope 2012 allows you to come out of your shell and bask in the sun :) *hugs*