January 10, 2012

2011 Sitzbook Wrap-Up

At the start of 2011 I decided to try to read a book a week, and that I'd call my project Sitzbook (click here for the Sitzbook page, which has the list for 2011, along with links to books I reviewed). I'm happy to say that I accomplished my goal, and that I'm not sick of reading. I decided I'd do it again for 2012, and I'll try to do at least a brief review or mention of each book, which is something that I wasn't able to do with my 2011 list.

Before we move on to 2012, though, let's look back on 2011. One thing I think I'll do with this year's list is count the page numbers, at least out of curiosity. Some books that I read were quite short and fast (like Daisy Miller or Illusions), and some were longer (like Crime and Punishment or Captain Corelli's Mandolin). A couple were gigantic (like 11/22/63 and The Stand, both by Stephen King, the former over 800 pages, and the latter around 1,100!). It's difficult to have an accurate page count because some are on the Kindle, which doesn't have "pages" for some books, and a few were from literature anthologies, which number things differently. In any case, I'll try for that this year.

So, how about a few winners and losers?

I read a few of these books within 24 hours, but I think the champion(s) must be the three books in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series. I read all three of them in less than two days, much of which I spent on our exercise bike. So in addition to broadening my brain, I hopefully worked against the broadening of my waistline. The three books were all great, of course.

Probably The Stand. It seems to have taken a good chuck of March and April, partly because we were working and traveling, and we also had house guests (Henni and Andy). Plus it's 1,100 pages or so, and I read it in German, and I'd already read the English original, so it wasn't as suspenseful as some other books. It was still really good, though, but just slow going. Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian was also a bit difficult to get through, albeit not especially slow.

I honestly can say that all the books had something I liked, but if there were one or two books that failed to catch my attention, they were Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (dreadfully dull, no real plot) and Germs, Genes, & Civilization by David P. Clark (a free book from Amazon).

With 52 very different books, it's hard to choose one. So I won't. Perhaps because they're still fresher in my mind, I might say 11/22/63, Stephen King's time-traveling story about a man who tries to stop the Kennedy assassination, or Chuck Klosterman's The Visible Man, a story about a psychiatrist whose voyeur patient has developed a way to hide himself. I'm a big fan of both authors, and both books were a bit of a departure from their normal styles, so that also gave these books an air of novelty. Plus they were simply well-written and very entertaining. Although I'd love to read 100% "deep" books about "important" things, it's nice to have a distraction, especially if you're trying to get through a book a week.

So, that's it for the moment. Have you read any of the books on the list? If so, what did you think? Do you have any suggestions for 2012?

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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AnnaLisa said...

I'm sending this link to my entire book club. Thanks!

Sitzman said...

No, thank you! I wish I were in your book club, but geographic and format difficulties make it hard. In any case, happy reading in the new year!