2011 Reading Challenge Complete

Last year I set a reading goal for myself of 50 books.  And I failed.  I only made it to 30 books.  I underestimated my ability... big time.  So this year I decided to be more realistic in my goal setting.  35 books in 2011. 

And I did it!

Here are some of my stats via GoodReads:
I read 9,544 pages... although I'm not sure how accurate that is, considering I read a lot on my kindle.
Of the books I've read, here's a nifty pie chart for the way that I categorized them. 

Now I will share with you, out of those 35 books, which are my TOP 5 picks for the year!  (In decending order... let's save the best for last, eh?)

5.  1984 by George Orwell

Can you believe I hadn't read this book until this year?!  Well, I made it a point to fit a few classics into my 35 and this was one of them.  I loved this book.  It was terrifyingly real.  There was a part in the middle where Orwell goes into specifics about the political aspect, causing the story to lag, but it was necessary.  
If you haven't yet read this, you must.  And if the last time you read this you were in 8th grade, you need to pick it up again.  You'll have a new appreciation for it as an adult... I promise.  

4. Tortured for Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

This book was so impacting and powerful.  It really helped me put things into perspective.  It is the story of how Wurmbrand evangelized in occupied Romania during the 40's.  He was imprisoned for over 14 years for spreading the gospel of Jesus.  But his imprisonment and torture did not stop him from preaching to everyone who had ears.  
This was so inspiring for me.  As I read what these men, women and children had experienced for the sake of Jesus, I was completely humbled and humiliated.  I realized that the most "persecution" I'll face is losing a friend... not too big a price to pay for Jesus, who paid it all.
See my full review HERE.

3. Room by Emma Donoghue

This is one that will stay with you.  I read it at the beginning of the year and still think of it often.  There's been some buzz about this book this year and it's pretty popular.  
It's narrated by a 5 year old boy who lives in a room with his mom.  He's never been outside of the room and doesn't know anything that exists beyond it's walls.    His mom had been kidnapped 7 years prior and was being held captive in the room that he had been born in.  This is a story with a lot of heartbreak and hope. It's beautiful.  
Read my full review HERE.

2. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

A suspenseful thrill ride where you have no idea what's going to happen.  This book made me feel paranoid.  It got deep down and messed with my instincts.  Good writing!  
There was an accident that caused Christine to lose her memory.  She has short term memory loss and can not create new memories.  Every day when she wakes up, she believes she's either a child or a young woman, only to find out that she doesn't recognize the older lady in the mirror or the man in her bed.  Every day she has to learn about who she is all over again.  And she has a feeling that she can't trust what she's told by her husband, Ben.  
Think 50 First Dates and Momento... but with a whole lot of fear and suspense!  
See my full review HERE.

And... without further adeu, my TOP PICK is...
1. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

I can not explain to you what Zusak's writing does to me.  It wraps around my heart.  It is absolutely breathtakingly lovely.  He weaves sentences into a beautiful tapestry of a story.  Anything he touches is gold.
This book follows Ed, a 19 year old nobody.  He doesn't have a bright future ahead of himself... and he hangs out with people just like him... losers.  One day he gets a card in the mail... an Ace of Clubs with 3 addresses and times on them.  As he visits each location, he realizes that he has to take action and change these people's lives.  But, while working to change the lives of others, he is changed the most.  
This is a BEAUTIFUL story.  When I finished... I wiped my tears, and hugged the book.  
Read my full review HERE.

So there you have it... my top 5 out of 35.  Pick them up... you wont be sorry!  Also, follow me on GoodReads to find some of my other faves and follow me on The Book Nook Blog to read other reviews by some great reviewers.

So what's your goal for 2012?!  I think I'm gonna go for 40.  Read along with me! 

my read shelf:
Nicole's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)


Shawna said...

"Room" sounds really good--I might have to get that for my nook some time!


aitonainen said...

What a great idea/goal! I love to read and have read so many books this year, but...wish I would have kept a list to see how many books, how many pages, etc, like you did. I'm definitely going to do this for 2012! Not sure what my goal will be yet...have to think about it. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for the library! I've always loved books, and to check them out for free is great, otherwise I would be broke! I don't have a Kindle but have always thought about it. Just didn't like the fact that I'd still pay so much for the "books". BUT-our local library JUST started doing e-books for Kindle (free-yay!), so I may have to look into that a little more :-)

Thank you for the inspiration to set a reading goal!

Bee said...

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm putting 1 and 2 on my to-read list! I liked Room, it was such a quick and compelling read. I also enjoy 1984, a creepy classic.