Books Read in 2011 (Part 1)

(I know I’ve been slacking off on my reading and reviewing.  I’ve been really tired lately and not to mention, sick.  It’s been years since I last got sick so I was so flat on my bed these past couple of weeks just sleeping it off.  But I’m slowly getting back on my feet.  I missed reading and writing and I will try my darn hardest to get back to the grind.)

The first month of the new year is almost over.  How many books have you read already?  Like last year, I’ve set my yearly target reads to 25; I will raise that number as I go along.  But unlike last year where I had all the time in the world, just lounging at home… I now have a full-time job.  Finding time to read got a lot harder.  But with new gadgets and a renewed interest in other genres, I’m ready to take on the year in books.

Last year, I read 81-82 books.  (I’m not sure because I’ve re-read many books from previous years and I don’t think GoodReads catalogs each read separately.)  I am pretty proud of myself about that.  I know some people who reached upwards of 100-150.  I would love to be able to do that too.  But for now, 80s is a good range.  This is part one (of five) of my 2011 reads roundup.  (Items with an asterisk * means that I have a review of it posted on this blog.)

1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers by Mary Roach

I remember reading this during my 4-day Los Angeles-to-New York City road trip.  Four days on a Greyhound bus, driving through (and getting stuck) in the snow and chill.  It was also kind of ironic because not too long before I started reading this, my grandfather passed away.  So yeah.  This was really interesting to me.  I was introduced to this book by a Six Feet Under episode (4×04).  I was still exploring the non-fiction genre but I loved true crime so I found a stable ground with this.

2. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

I must admit that I picked up this book because of the model/actor they used in the Breathless Reads commercial.  Chase Peacock.  I’m really not into the whole young adult scene.  It is interesting and in the vampire/werewolf saturated genre that is YA, this is a breath of fresh air. Very different and engaging.

3. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Oh I loved this book.  LOVE.  It is, by no means, perfect but… it is so pure and innocent.  Told in the child’s point of view, it is so endearing and so smart.  It does talk about a very dark issue but when talked about this way, it is just so well done.  Also, I went to the author’s talk about the book and it was so enlightening what she had to say about the book and why she chose to have it told in Jack’s POV.

4. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was the last book that I’ve read in 2010.  I remember thinking it was so intense that I had to take a break.  Three books later, I picked up the second one.  This is the longest in the trilogy and I must say, it is the most dragging.  I honestly cannot remember much apart from the action scenes.  It is literally the in-between so you were thrust into the thick of things and left floating until you start with the third book.  But make sure you had the 3rd one right by your side as you reach the last few pages of this book.

5. The Princess & The Penis by R.J. Silver

I was gifted a copy by a friend.  I just finished the 2nd Millenium book and I needed to take a break from all that intensity.  I gave this a shot.  It was funny, for-adults humor.

6. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

I told myself to wait, wind down, cool off from all the Salander action but it lasted for about an hour.  After finishing the second book and a few laughs, I was back in Sweden checking back on Lisbeth and Mikael.  And man, this was full on.  This had so much awesome.  This was my favorite from the original Swedish films.  So many twists.  I enjoyed this trilogy a whole lot.

7. Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

I finished the first Dexter book mid-2010 and I really liked it.  It was pretty much the first season of the TV show.  I also liked this one but I preferred the storyline of the TV show a bit more than the bookverse.  I’m still working through both the book and TV series but I can really get behind it.

8. Between Good and Evil: A Master Profiler’s Hunt for Society’s Most Violent Predators by Roger Depue

If you know me, one of my ambitions, if you want to call it that, is to be a criminal profiler.  I’ve been wanting to be one since BEFORE all these crime shows on TV.  Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows.  So you can imagine how fascinated I am with this subject matter.  This book was useful and informative and I am looking forward to reading similar books in the future.

9. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I must admit, I enjoyed the movie too.  Both my mother and I read and watched this book and movie.  It was beautifully written.  This is the first book that I’ve read about the circus and animals in general and it was so haunting and gorgeous.  Ah, I loved it.

10. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I picked this up because of a Criminal Minds episode (5×20).  I am not the biggest fan of sci-fi but I enjoyed some of the stories in this book.  Considering it was published in the 50s, it had a lot of modern ideas.  Some stories were down right creepy and gory.  And a lot of them were quite sad.  But still, I liked it and I would recommend for a reader who would like to explore the sci-fi genre.

11. Criminal Minds by Jeff Mariotte

It was a worthwhile read. Of course, I am also interested in true crime and the likes so there was never a dull moment. It is basically an overview on serial killers. It was also interesting because the book mentioned parallels between the reel and the real.

12. Criminal Minds: Killer Profile by Max Allan Collins

As a huge fan of the show, I liked it. The characterization was done well, the case was interesting (although on the show, they have dealt with something similar). Knowing how the show goes helps.  I’ve read a couple of Max Allan Collins TV tie-in novels, mostly in the CSI-verse.  He’s done a good job capturing the voices of the characters we know and love.

13. The Collector by John Fowles

This is the second book that I picked up because of Criminal Minds.  And the fourth CM-related book in a row.  “The Fisher King” still is one of my favorite CM episodes.  The book is so twisted and creepy… it was so good!  I am waiting for a movie remake, picturing Emma Watson as the female victim Miranda Grey.

14. Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen *

At the time, I found it so interesting.  I’ve read of youth promiscuity before but in a statistical perspective.  Never before have I read an actual first-hand account.  I still find it informative.  But when I read the follow up book, I had to revise my starred review.

15. Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Very engaging. It is interesting to read about the French Revolution from another perspective. It is very well-written and it felt very personal, even though clearly, this wasn’t an autobiography. Written in first person, Moran was able to capture the voice of Madame Tussaud.

16. The Life of Cesare Borgia by Rafael Sabatini *

I have to be honest, it was not an easy read. Informative and interesting, very much. But at times, it was slow and very wordy. It read like a history textbook.  Well, it was written in 1912-ish so I have to consider the style during that time. I do like History and Historical Fiction – and lately, the Borgia family, so this was right up my alley.  The author did a great job compiling everything and making it concise.

17. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

This is the first Pulitzer Prize winning book that I actually liked. Very well-written and the story is just so fascinating. I didn’t get the ending much, though.  Anyway, this gave me the feel of “Paris, Je t’aime” or “New York, I Love You”. A different story – or at least, a different PART of their story – in every chapter. Also, I admire how well thought out the whole thing is. Everyone is connected to everyone. Very intelligent writing.

18. Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sara Poole *

One of the first reviews on this little book blog.  I enjoyed this book very much.  I am really into the whole Borgia history and this fictionalization was fascinating and engaging.


So that’s it for part one.  There are four more coming up.  Watch out for those in the coming weeks.


5 thoughts on “Books Read in 2011 (Part 1)

  1. Very grateful to be on this list. I was disappointed when the book series was cancelled after three novels, because I enjoyed doing them and felt that my research associate/co-plotter Matthew Clemens and I caught the show pretty well, at a frankly awkward moment (when Patinkin left).

    I hope you’ll try some of my non CRIMINAL MINDS books. In that vein, check out the two J.C. Harrow novels YOU CAN’T STOP ME and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU (also written with Matthew Clemens). My historical detective fiction would be well-represented by any of the Nate Heller novels, mostly recently BYE BYE, BABY, about the death of Marilyn Monroe. My wife and I do a cozy mystery series as “Barbara Allan” (ANTIQUES ROADKILL).

    Thank you again.


    • Oh wow, thank you so much for the comment. It means a lot to me that an author that I admire would take the time to read my little blog. 🙂

      I’ve been a fan of your CSI tie-in novels and I always thought that your characterizations were really spot-on. I was so happy that you also did Criminal Minds. The cases were interesting and the voices of each characters were so close to how the actors portray them on the show. I have not read “CM: Finishing School” yet; it’s difficult to find a copy around here but, I’ve been told it’s the best one so I’m looking forward to that.

      And yes, I will definitely look out for your other books. I like the whole mystery genre and also historical fiction. I can always give it a go when I feel like taking a break and just going back to something I am familiar with.

      Once again, thank you and best of luck with everything! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Coming Down The Pike « Friends/Family/Fans of Max Allan Collins

  3. Pingback: Quotes: Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) | Reading Good Books


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