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[personal profile] caliente_uk
I'm disappointed not to have made it to my 50 book goal in 2011, but considering the year I had I can't say I'm surprised. Let's hope I do better in 2012! :)

Books Read in 2011:

1. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (second book in The Hunger Games trilogy)
2. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (final book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Highly recommended series)
3. Room - Emma Donoghue
4. The Long Song - Andrea Levin
5. Angelic - Kelley Armstrong
6. Counterfeit Magic - Kelley Armstrong
7. The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
8. The Postmistress - Sarah Blake
9. The News Where You Are - Catherine O'Flynn
10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
11. Bleed For Me - Michael Robotham
12. Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson
13. River Marked (Mercy Thompson Book 6) - Patricia Briggs
14. The Fiery Cross (Outlander Book 5) - Diana Gabaldon
15. Stay With Me - Brenna Lyons
16. The Secret Holocaust Diaries - Nonna Bannister
17. Pastworld - Ian Beck
18. Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist
19. 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson
20. Trespass - Rose Tremain
21. When God Was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman
22. The Confession of Katherine Howard - Suzannah Dunn
23. My Psychic Life - Sally Morgan
24. Restless Spirits - Jean Marie Bauhaus
25. The Lantern - Deborah Lawrenson
26. Afterwards - Rosamund Lupton
27. Healing Spirits - Sally Morgan
28. Life After Death - Sally Morgan
29. Ghost Story - Jim Butcher
30. Spell Bound - Kelley Armstrong
31. Grace Williams Says It Loud - Emma Henderson
32. Tear in Time - Christopher David Peterson
33. Florence and Giles - John Harding
34. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
35. Before I Go To Sleep - S J Watson
36. Bellwether - Connie Willis
37. 11/22/63 - Stephen King
38. The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring - Hugh Marriott
39. The Christmas Ghost - Dawn Summers (a Buffy fan do you think? :P)
40. Dear Me: More Letters To My Sixteen Year Old Self - Various (edited by Joseph Galliano)
41. Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire #1) - J. R. Rain
42. Vampire Moon (Vampire for Hire #2) - J. R. Rain

So, a grand total of 42 books read in 2011.

I don't think I can narrow it down to just one favourite read, but I do have several that stood out for me: "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" from way back in January, and "11/22/63", the very first Stephen King novel I've ever read, which will now go on my list of favourite time-travel books. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" also stood out for me (in spite of the out of the blue cliffhanger ending), as did "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", which was a fascinating and moving read.

But the book that stood out for me the most (and therefore must be my favourite read of 2011, yes?) was "Grace Williams Says It Loud".

From Amazon: This isn't an ordinary love story. But then Grace isn't an ordinary girl. 'Disgusting,' said the nurse. And when no more could be done, the Doctors advised her parents to put her away, aged eleven. On her first day at the Briar Mental Institute, Grace meets Daniel. He sees a different Grace: someone to share secrets and canoodle with, someone to fight for. Debonair Daniel, who can type with his feet, fills Grace's head with tales from Paris and the world beyond. This is Grace's story: her life, its betrayals and triumphs, disappointment and loss, the taste of freedom; roses, music and tiny scraps of paper. Most of all, it is about the love of a lifetime.

'Henderson allows you to soar with Grace's imagination' (The Times book club )

'Startlingly assured, poetic and engaging - GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD introduces a new voice, one which I have no doubt we will be hearing much more of; I read it in two sittings, and am already looking forward to her next work.'

(Patrick McCabe )

'There is tenderness, joy, romance (not to mention inventive sex) and heartbreak. The language is tricksy, the subject disturbing. But this book is energetic, passionate and not easily forgotten.'

(Sunday Times )

'Grace's story from child to adult, told to stunning effect. Beautifully written, funny, sad and unforgettable, a love story like no other, it could be your book of the year.' (Choice )

'far more inspiring than a hundred feel-good tomes'

(Independent, Books of the Year )

'Mesmerising ... an incredible journey through love, loss, bittersweet triumph and disaster' (Sunday Herald )

'A quirky and clever debut... this is an honest and witty insight into mental illness.'

(Stylist )

'Grace's romance with Daniel, a "debonair" epileptic, is tender and convincing; the limber, musical prose peppered with brilliant descriptions...' (Independent on Sunday )

This book moved me like no other. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even made me shout out in anger at times, but most of all it gave me hope. It's a difficult subject, set in a time when people with disabilities were treated appallingly (and to be honest, although times have improved, we still have a long, long way to go), but is told in such a way that you can't help but feel uplifted by it.

It's a harrowing read at times, but Grace's voice and personality shine through on every page. Some of you may think this book isn't for you because the subject matter scares you (or for some other reason known only to you), but this book shows through Grace's own words that Grace is a person just like you and I. She has exactly the same thoughts, feelings and desires as you do. Having a disability doesn't change that, and I think "Grace Williams Says It Loud" expresses that fact perfectly. It's a fictional story, but the story it tells is a very real and important one. It's also a very important story for me on a personal level, as those of you who know me well will understand.

So yes, in the end there is no doubt that my favourite book of 2011 is "Grace Williams Says It Loud", a book that continues to stay with me several months after reading it, and one that is likely to stay with me for a long time to come.
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