The Sunday Salon: 2011 in Review

Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate it—but it’s also the last Sunday of the year, which means it’s time for my top ten list. As usual, these are my top reads of 2011, not the top published books of 2011. But I’ve also added my favorite film adaptation and my favorite audiobook of the year, since I’ve started really keeping those posts up. I was lucky enough to have a good handful of five star books, but that meant leaving off a lot of four and a half star books that I honestly loved off the list. I invite you to rifle through those categories to your right. And here’s 2010 in review and 2009 in review, if you’re so inclined. I think that’s all the housekeeping, so let’s get started.

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Review: The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

During the first year of The Literary Omnivore (oh, how weird is that to say?), I picked up a lot of recommendations from Paperback Row, a feature in The New York Times Book ReviewThe Lost City of Z is such a recommendation. Those recommendations tend to fall to the bottom of my reading list, picked up later, when I barely recall what the book is about (which is an adventure all on its own!). But I heard good things about The Lost City of Z and ended up finding a copy at a local thrift store over the summer—the one with the poorer book selection, which is a miracle all on its own. I took it to college with me, but never really got around to reading it until fantasy burnout struck after Narnia Week; then, I desperately needed some nonfiction to act as aloe for my brain, so I picked up The Lost City of Z. There’s something to be said for timing in a read; perhaps because it was just what I needed, it blew me away.

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Review: Sixpence House

Sixpence House by Paul Collins


Sixpence House certainly has an arresting subtitle–Lost in A Town of Books. While that might conjure up more fantastical images (am I the only fantasy geek who gets disappointed when she discovers that, say, Crescent Dawn is not a fantasy novel?), it’s a slim little memoir in the “year in the life” vein, albeit without any wacky experiments. It came to me by way of Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust, as many of my books do. After the dizzyingly wonderful ride of The Sundering, I needed some nonfiction to bring me back down to earth and cleanse the palette.

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Teaser Tuesday: The Lost City of Z

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

It was the greatest loss of life in the history of the British military, and many in the West began to portray the “savage” as European rather than as some native in the jungle. Fawcett, quoting a companion, wrote that cannibalism “at least provides a reasonable motive for killing a man, which is more than you can say for civilized warfare.”

pg. 187 of The Lost City of Z by David Grann

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Review: The Complete Walt Disney World 2010

The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 by Julie and Mike Neal

Celia was the one to introduce me to NetGalley, which I was a bit hesitant about joining at first. However, a little poking around soon convinced me it was a good idea–queer historical fiction, a book I’ve wanted to read since I encountered it a year ago in England, and a travel guide to Walt Disney World. As you might know, I’m a huge Disney fan. (Tangled is going to be awesome.) I’ve always wanted to go to Walt Disney World, so whenever I see a travel guide for it, I compulsively grab it and read it, trying to plan out a visit. Naturally, my first galley from NetGalley was The Complete Walt Disney World 2010.

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The Literary Horizon: A Moveable Feast, Manhood for Amateurs

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really go in for memoirs. Unless I’m interested in the person beforehand or they have an interesting life story, I’m rarely interested. I’ve also never read Hemingway; he simply never appealed to me. But here we are today looking at two memoirs written by men–Hemingway, a writer I’ve little experience with, and Michael Chabon, a writer whom I adore.

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The Literary Horizon: May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, Nine Parts of Desire

Last semester, I took a 100 level Anthropology class, which was utterly fascinating. There was so much to learn; for instance, did you know that the concept of race is mostly an American social construct? We often mean ethnicity instead. Although I did feel a few steps ahead of the curve when we looked at gender and sexuality, being an ace who often has to try and teach people that asexuality is real and doubting it will rarely endear you to the one you are talking to. But with that class under my belt, I feel much better equipped to take on these two books that look at the female experience in India and in Muslim countries.

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Review: Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I have to admit, I don’t like traveling. I’m very lucky in that I have plenty of opportunity to travel, what with being French-American and a pilot’s kid, but I always feel a little guilty that I, quite honestly, prefer exploring Georgia to exploring other countries. However, I adore the British. I maniacally TiVo’ed every episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus I could during middle school, I love British humor and television, and I even love their weirdly gregarious ducks. While this probably makes me a terrible Frank, I must say this–my mother is the one that introduced Notes from a Small Island to me, since she had it lying around the house since I was a wee lass. I finally rented it from my local library last week and finished it.

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The Sunday Salon: Spoilers

College certainly broadens your horizons. While the general attitude towards spoilers among my circles in high school was unadulterated fear (we looked upon the gent who spoiled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with both dread and amazement), I have discovered people who actually enjoy being spoiled, wonder of wonders. They say that knowing the ending, or at least some of the smaller details, puts them at ease and helps them focus on the work at hand, be it a film or a book. io9 recently posted an article about how no one is as unspoiled as we once were, and, in light of meeting people who embrace spoilers heartily, I thought I’d glance back over my personal stance on spoilers. (Below the cut are some vague spoilers regarding The Lord of the Rings and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

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Teaser Tuesday: Notes from a Small Island

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

At the far end of the room, there moved a pretty young nurse of clear and radiant goodness, caring for these helpless wrecks with boundless reserves of energy and compassion–guiding them to a chair, brightening their day with chatter, wiping dribble from their chins–and I thought, This is just the sort of person I need.
We were married sixteen months later in the local church, which I passed now as I made my way down Christchurch Road, shuffling along through papery leaves, under a tunnel of lofty boughs, humming the last eight bars of “Nell Gwyn”.

pg. 62 of Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!