2012 Amazon Best Books of 2011 Reading Challenge {Finished}

2012 Amazon Best Books of 2011 Reading Challenge

The goal of the 2012 Amazon Best Books of 2011 Reading Challenge (hosted by Wickedly Delicious Tales), was to read 5 books (Novice Level) from the Best Books of 2011 list chosen by the editors of Amazon.com.

My Choices

The Marriage Plot (Book)The Lovers Dictionary

1. The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides. I slogged through the first 65 pages with it's slow, tortuous pace and too many references to books I hadn't read, didn't care to read and had never heard of - but after that, the frequency of the references decreased (although there was still a LOT), the pace picked up and I started to enjoy the drama. The characters were flawed, relatable (to a point) and deftly developed and the plot was interesting - severe depression, and how it affects loved ones. Who can't relate to loving someone you KNOW is all wrong for you?! (Amazon| Goodreads)

2. The Lover's Dictionary, David Levithan. I thought this book was okay - but totally forgettable. Some of the anecdotes were cute & funny - many were not. Half-way through I was over it; I kept reading, not out out of interest, but just so I could finish - I just didn't care about the "dumpee" nor the "dumper" or the stories of their lives. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Book)The Night Strangers (Book)

3. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor. This was a 5-star book all the way. Loved the story - the plot, the depth of the characters, the setting, the vivid imagery of Prague, the romance ... overall, this is a beautiful story that's brilliantly written. (Amazon| Goodreads)

4. The Night Strangers, Chris Bohjalian. The 1st part of the book is suspenseful, leaving me walking on an emotional tightrope with the characters. But in the middle, it felt like the books was rambling on and on, going over the same thing again and again. Thankfully, Bohjalian gets back on track and the pace picked up towards the end for the climax ... but then there was the "afterward", which left me open-mouthed and yelling - oh hell NO! (Amazon| Goodreads)

Akata Witch (Book)Among Others (Book)

5. Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor. One of my favorite things about this book is how different it is from many of the other YA paranormal novels I've read - the setting is Nigeria, Sunny, one of the main characters, is albino, there is an underworld of magical society complete with unique customs, and there is a mixture of languages involved - English, Igbo, Efik, Yoruba, English, French, Arabic and Hausa. (Amazon| Goodreads)

6. Among Others, Jo Walton. When I read Fantasy novels, I want them HEAVY on the fantasy. I want those elements to be the main focus - and it wasn't really for this book. Instead, this was more a coming-of-age story with some fantasy elements, plus, it was just too HEAVY on the references to other science fiction & fantasy novels. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Not all of these books would have made my "Best Of" list. Would any of these make yours?

(9 Comments) Leave Yours Below
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May 19, 2012


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Lee @ Rally The Readers | May 19, 2012 4:54 PM | Reply

The Marriage Plot got off to a slow start for me, too, and I couldn't relate to Madeleine's world of privilege at all. It was Leonard's story that I found most compelling, and even heartbreaking at times.

Tanya Patrice | May 19, 2012 7:39 PM | Reply

@Lee - totally agree. Leonard was definitely an interesting character - wouldn't have mind seeing more of him and a little less Madeleine.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic | May 20, 2012 1:20 AM | Reply

I've wanted to do a challenge where I read books off a best of list myself. Maybe next year. Out of the books you listed, Okata Witch stood out and I'm adding that one to my list.

When a book makes the best of book my expectations are a bit higher and I'm usually disappointed. I think I only trust best of lists when they care created by people who have read tons of books. When I seem them in magazines or other similar places, I run away. I'm not sure if I would trust Amazon's list either. I don't know why though.

Andi | May 20, 2012 9:38 AM | Reply

I didn't have much luck with The Night Strangers either. And I've seen a lot of good reviews of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I'll be trying that one somewhere down the road. :)

Mirjam | May 20, 2012 11:38 AM | Reply

I haven't read any of these books, but I have read and loved Blackbringer by Laini Taylor. I am therefore perfectly willing to believe that Daughter of Smoke and Bone will charm me as well!

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) | May 21, 2012 4:23 PM | Reply

The Lover's Dictionary is one of my all-time favorite books! I pull it off my shelf occasionally and re-read it; I've read it four times already this year. I just love the wordplay and non-linear style, but I'm a huge fan of David Levithan anyway. I also love his twitter account, where he adds additional words that aren't in the book. I hate that you didn't love it!

Tanya Patrice | May 21, 2012 6:32 PM | Reply

@Asheley awww - I wanted to like Lover's Dictionary - maybe I should give it another read through.

Lindsey | May 21, 2012 9:34 PM | Reply

This sounds like a great challenge. The only one on your list that I read was The Marriage Plot, which I really enjoyed. I was a geeky English major though!

Melissa | June 13, 2012 7:57 PM | Reply

I just started The Marriage Plot and am having the same reaction as you did to the first 65 pages. This is rather slow-going indeed. Considering making this one a DNF, but am still on the fence ....

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