My Year of Books

Post by Mary Olson, BWB Outlet Store Manager

Did you know we have a Staff Picks section on our website? That’s right; we asked our book-loving staff what books they love and you can find those recommendations on the www.BetterWorldBooks.com homepage Great Reads box (in case you’re looking for your next new favorite).

It just so happens that the books highlighted this month all come highly recommended by me! All ten books were favorites from my 2011 reading list. Honestly, I only had a few non-favorites; it was such an enjoyable year!


I started 2011 with the new year’s resolution that I’d write down every book I read that year. I made this decision after realizing that I don’t remember even half of what I read as a kid. Rather than depending on my (obviously sketchy) memory, I thought I’d log what I read as a 30-something. As I kept track, I noticed that I was finishing about 3 books per month. (I was three months into the year when I noticed the trend.)

I thought, three books? That would be 36 for the year if I kept this up. I could throw in four extras and make it 40 easily enough. It’s a nice round number and all. So I was telling a couple of friends about my reading adventure in, maybe, June. And one of them said, “What, are you reading a book a week, or something?”

And I thought, You could maybe work on your math skills a bit… but, a book a week? 52 isn’t THAT much more than 40. “Sure, I am!” Why not, right?

(Let me just say that if I ever decide to do this again, I’ll be paying my nieces to clean my apartment as it still hasn’t fully recovered.)

Since I hadn’t planned to read 52 books when I started the year, I really had to pick it up in the second half. Though I certainly found a few books that wouldn’t ever make it on my favorites list, overall, I’d say the effort was definitely worth it.

I love how reading enriches my knowledge and experience of myself, of other people, of other cultures, of the capacity we hold for love, expression, hate, fear. I find myself starting or responding in an increasing number of conversations with, “I read this book once, and….”

As, Norton Juster said in one of my 2011 reads, The Phantom Tollbooth:

“Whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in a pond; and whenever you’re sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it’s much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”


So, I hope you can enjoy some reading, because readers can enrich the world.

Do you have any reading goals this year? What has been your favorite read of 2012 so far?

2 Comments

  1. How about posting your list? Would love to see what you read…………

  2. Mary Olson says:

    Title
    Author
    Date Finished

    Absolute Friends
    le Carre, John
    1/3/2011

    Wicked
    Maguire, Gregory
    1/23/2011

    Son of a Witch
    Maguire, Gregory
    1/31/2011

    Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The
    King, Laurie R.
    2/12/2011

    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
    Packer, ZZ
    2/17/2011

    The Well of Lost Plots
    Fforde, Jasper
    2/20/2011

    Interpreter of Maladies
    Lahiri, Jhumpa
    2/20/2011

    Linchpin
    Godin, Seth
    3/4/2011

    East, West: Stories
    Rushdie, Salman
    3/9/2011

    Death by Meeting
    Lencioni, Patrick
    3/19/2011

    Something Rotten
    Fforde, Jasper
    4/14/2011

    Lolita
    Nabokov, Vladimir
    4/17/2011

    No One Belongs Here More Than You
    July, Miranda
    4/25/2011

    Good-bye Chunky Rice
    Thompson, Craig
    5/10/2011

    First Among Sequels
    Fforde, Jasper
    5/26/2011

    Matchless
    Maguire, Gregory
    5/31/2011

    Principles of Uncertainty, The
    Kalman, Maira
    6/1/2011

    Graveyard Book, The
    Gaiman, Neil
    6/29/2011

    Enormous Crocodile, The
    Dahl, Roald
    6/29/2011

    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
    Blume, Judy
    6/29/2011

    “There Are Things I Want You To Know” About Stieg Larsson And Me
    Gabrielsson, Eva
    7/8/2011

    Lion Among Men, A
    Maguire, Gregory
    7/11/2011

    Phantom Tollbooth, The
    Juster, Norton
    7/11/2011

    Permission Marketing
    Godin, Seth
    7/15/2011

    One of Our Thursdays is Missing
    Fforde, Jasper
    7/25/2011

    It’s Really All About God
    Selmanovic, Samir
    8/6/2011

    Joy of Living, The
    Mingyur Rinpoche, Yongey
    8/26/2011

    Love Wins
    Bell, Rob
    9/5/2011

    Moveable Feast, A
    Hemingway, Ernest
    9/6/2011

    Great Divorce, The
    Lewis, C. S.
    9/10/2011

    That Old Cape Magic
    Russo, Richard
    9/19/2011

    And the Pursuit of Happiness
    Kalman, Maira
    10/8/2011

    (Un)Fashion
    Kalman, Maira and Tibor
    10/8/2011

    Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, The
    Mengestu, Dinaw
    10/22/2011

    Pearl, The/Red Pony, The
    Steinbeck, John
    10/23/2011

    Sightseeing
    Lapcharoensap, Rattawut
    10/27/2011

    In Bikole
    Gilroy, Tom
    10/28/2011

    Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative
    Robinson, Sir Ken
    11/7/2011

    Things They Carried, The
    O’Brien, Tim
    11/9/2011

    Slice of Trust, A
    Hutchens, David; Rellaford, Barry
    11/9/2011

    Element, The
    Robinson, Sir Ken
    11/16/2011

    Invention of Hugo Cabret, The
    Selznick, Brian
    11/20/2011
    (I actually read this one twice: once to myself, and once outloud to my nieces!)

    Elements of Style, The
    Strunk/White/Kalman
    11/20/2011

    night without armor, a
    Jewel
    11/20/2011

    At Home
    Bryson, Bill
    11/29/2011

    Love is a Mix Tape
    Sheffield, Rob
    11/30/2011

    Bill Bryson’s African Diary
    Bryson, Bill
    12/5/2011

    Unaccostomed Earth
    Lahiri, Jhumpa
    12/10/2011

    How to Read the Air
    Mengestu, Dinaw
    12/18/2011

    Arrival, The
    Tan, Shaun
    12/18/2011

    Boy
    Dahl, Roald
    12/21/2011

    Between Boyfriends Book, The
    Chupack, Cindy
    12/25/2011

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