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It’s that time of year again folks, a fresh new year. We’ll all be setting ourselves fresh new reading challenges, so it’s the perfect moment to look back at 2011 and see what we have accomplished and how we can further improve on our performances. I see that throughout the year I’ve discovered how some of heavyweights like ‘Beowulf’ are not all what they are cut out to be. Yet a penny dreadful like ‘Sweeney Todd’ can turn out to be a surprisingly solid five-star read!

A way to do this is to looks at goodreads.com’s ‘2011 Reading Challenge’. Being a slow reader, my personal record has never gone past more than 50 books, yet I was determined to do better. And I did, I managed to read 72 books. I’m thrilled! For 2012 I’n trying a tentative 70!

Here’s my selective reading journey for 2011:

2011 Reading Challenge

5 Star Reads

White Oleander – Janet Fitch
The Snow Goose – Paul Gallico
Man in the Dark – Paul Auster
Peter Pan – JM Barrie
Beginners – Raymond Carver
The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
Marvels – Kurt Busiek
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Schaffer
The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
The Legend of the Sleey Hollow – Washington Irving
The Tales of Bejamin Bunny – Beatrix Potter
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
Labyrinths – JL Borges
A House of Pomegranates – Oscar Wilde
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Sweeney Todd – Anonymous
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

4 Star Reads

Prisoner of Zenda – Anthony Hope
The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Nazi Literature in the Americas – Roberto Bolano
Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
2BR02B – Kurt Vonnegut
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
The Doll Short Stories – Daphne du Maurier
The Godfather – Mario Puzo
Aesop’s Fables – Aesop

3 Star Reads

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Octopussy and the Living Daylights – Ian Fleming
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – A. Solzhenitsyn
Kung Fu Trip – Benjamin Zephaniah
The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
The Informers – Brett Easton Ellis
Point Omega – Don DeLillo
Wolverine: Origins – Paul Jenkins
The Spy Who Loved Me – Ian Fleming
The Summer Without Men – Siri Hustvedt

Dune – Frank Herbert
First Love, Last Rites – Ian McEwan
Dr. Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
Japanese Fairy Tales – Theodora Yei Ozaki
English Fairy Tales – Joseph Jacobs
Grimms Fairy Tales – Brothers Grimm
Beowulf – Anonymous
The Diary of a Nobody – George Grossmith

2 Star Reads

Tales of Freedom – Ben Okri
Amsterdam – Ian McEwan
Civil War – Mark Millar
Florence and Giles – John Harding

1 Star Reads

Lost World – Patricia Melo
The Lady and the Little Fox Fur – Violette LeDuc
Lost Souls – Poppy Z Brite

So, how was your reading year? I hope you had an interesting one, and good luck for all the 2012 challenges.