My 2011 Reading List

I am thoroughly ashamed of my reading efforts in 2010, I barely managed a book a month. Another year went by where I missed my annual re-reads (although I did squeeze in a Farseer Trilogy re-read after I read the new latest Robin Hobbs) So I will make a futile attempt at having a plan.

What I would like to try and get through this year

Annual “Re-Reads”

Books I have read every year for many years

The Lord of the Rings – I have missed this the last two years. I have a favourite paperback set. 1970’s Allen and Unwin trilogy in three volumes. Although I think I have read it a dozen times now, it is still a necessary ritual.

The Chronicles of Narnia –  One of my favourite reading weeks of the year. Vintage Lions paperbacks. I don’t read the Puffin set, it’s harder to get in those covers. The Harper Collins colour-illustrated set remains untouched, that can stay in the boookcase.

A Little Princess – My all-time favourite Frances Hodgson Burnett. Although I might try and squeeze in Fauntelroy this year.

Charlotte’s Web – I have lost count of how many times I have read this book.

Enid Blyton – Always too many to name. The last few years have been Family at Red Roofs, The Six Bad Boys, House at the Corner and the Naughtiest Girl books. I might try the Faraway Tree set, I haven’t read that for ages.

Random Re-Reads

His Dark Materials – I have a love/hate relationship with these books. How Pullman could have written three characters that I love desperately, Iorek Byrnison, Lee Scorseby and Hester, yet two main characters, Will and Lyra, who I feel completely lukewarm towards, is beyond me. Still, I have read these ones at least four times now. Quite frankly I am still trying to get my head completely around Mary in book three.

Robin Hobb – I can’t get through all nine of these each year, but I do try to read at least one series. With the new Rain Wilds Chronicles (which now makes eleven books) I am desperate for book three, but it is still being written. There is a short story anthology being released next year to tide me over.

To Be Completed…

The Guardians of the Ga’Hoole – These I discovered about four years back (well before they were popular or even published here) I managed to get my hands on the first book here and had to order the rest from the US. I read the first six books, and was thoroughly delighted with them, but I lost track of them. I am quite sure I whooped like a little kid when I saw a preview in the cinema for the film (I had no idea it had even been made, let alone by Animal Logic) I have eight of them, I’ll have to buy the rest as I go.

Tymon’s Flight – by Mary Victoria. I was unable to buy a copy here (or online anywhere) so I had to borrow one from the library and didn’t manage to get it finished in time, I was also having a really distracting few weeks, so I want to re-visit and re-read this, it was very promising.

Soldier Son Trilogy – Shocking that I could bomb out on a Robin (My Queen) Hobb book but I just loathe the main character in this series. I find Nevare self-indulgent, self-pitying and weak-willed, easily-led and foolish. I think I snapped when I found the ending of book two almost identical to the ending of book two in the Farseer Trilogy. I tried to finish book three but gave up. I actually cling to the hope that he will redeem himself somehow.

The Will I Ever Finish???

Wheel of Time, of course. I am stuck on book ten. I know there is only a few to go now (what I think three?) but I just CAN’T do it.

The Carefully Collected…

Dragon Series – By Rosemary Manning. I hunted down the matching set of four Puffins. I used to sell Green Smoke all the time, and then I read the first two pages and decided I had to have a set. And yes, matching covers are always necessary!

The Dark is Rising – By Susan Cooper. Oddly I had never read these. By the time I decided to, I, of course, had to collect the matching vintage Puffins. This took ages. They are currently sitting on my shelf looking awesome.

The Grown-Up Books

Of course they’re probably not very grown-up, but still. The publishers call them adult fiction

Katie MacAlisters Dragon Series – Probably the only romance author I will read regularly, and I will probably only read the Dragon series. I don’t think I will ever read a vampire romance. I still have book three of the Silver Dragons to read, and I have the latest one sitting on the shelf to go as well. Although I think the Aisling books (the Guardians series) are my favourite, and a lot of that has to do with Jim (Effrijim, demon in a Newfoundland’s body) I have enjoyed the May books.

Nothing will ever beat Jim accidentally eating the Imp King. Brilliant comedy.

The Anubis Gates – By Tim Powers. Just because I should have read this by now.

Philippa Gregory – So very outside my usual comfort zone, but the books I have read concentrate on periods of English history I am interested in. I picked up a second-hand copy of Other Boleyn Girl and finished it in a day. I’ve since read all of them, although none were actually as good as that one. I did try to read one of her random historical fiction books. The Wise Woman. It was possibly the worst book I have ever read. Absolute trash. I actually howled with glee when the main character committed suicide at the end of the book. I believe she’s going on with the War of the Roses series. I always enjoy the obscure characters she digs up.

Philip K Dick – I still haven’t read one. I’m not usually a big sci-fi fan, but we have nearly all of them (Craig’s collection I have hunted down for him)

Children’s Books

The Museum of Mary Child – By my new favourite author Cassandra Golds. I have read her other two novels, and they’re just wonderful.

The Pig Plantagenet – by Allen Andrews. A completely random op-shop find, and it looks spectacular.

The Sheep Pig – And more Pigs. By Dick King-Smith, the book Babe is based on. I have to find it actually. It has disappeared into a pile of books somewhere.

Redwall – I have just picked up Rakkety Tam. When I started collecting the paperbacks again a few years ago I sat and read sixteen of them in a row. This was a bit much (and quite mad) so I have had an extended break. I only have five books to go so I am going to try and get through another three this year.

On another note, I have finished getting all the British hardcovers. I’ve been on a Redwall hunt and managed to finish getting hardcover first editions right up to book eighteen. And I only had about three to start with. Maybe four. It was completely insane, and expensive, and worth it. It only took two months. Although I have since been informed the British hardcovers stopped at book eighteen, books nineteen through twenty-one and beyond will only be published by Philomel. So now I have decided to collect all the American editions. Although I may try to go slower.

Non-Fiction

Yes I usually try to squeeze a few of these in. Mostly wrestling biographies. I have a book on Thomas More and his daughter. Wrestling bios I want to read this year are Countdown to Lockdown by Mick Foley, Cross Rhodes by Goldust, and Bruce Hart’s book, which might be terrible.

I might finish the list there, as it already looks immense, and I am already doubting I will get through half of them. Rakkety Tam is a fantastic read so far, a good start to the reading year.

Eulalia!