Friday, December 30, 2011

My Year End Wrap Up 2011

"56 Books, Mama? Really? That's all you read this year?"
Toddler shakes head and gives me look pictured above.
"Plum pitiful"

I know. I know. Back off, little man. :)

I kid, obviously but the boy is right. I did only read 56 books this year, down from my 65 books from the year before. But to recap in the fashion of the previous year, my 2011, like my 2010, came with many ups and many downs. I always thought I read more but maybe, in reality, I'm just paying more attention to it and spending more time blogging and reviewing instead of reading. It takes energy and dedication to blog about every book you read. That puts pressure, although most of the time enjoyable, on me as a reader. I struggled with that this year and the ups/downs of my daily life didn't help.

Let's start with the downs, shall we?
My career with Borders came to a screeching halt after the company liquidated. I saw the store I put together with my sweaty little hands get torn apart my savages.

I came to an eye opening, heart pounding realization that I am financially in the crap bucket; my home value is equal to that of a cardboard box on the corner and no help is to be found.

After believing that I was a fertile powerhouse capable of having millions of babies I came to discover that getting pregnant the second time around is like winning the lottery. Not very likely.

And I now have arthritis on my OTHER big toe. Craptastic.

Luckily, with all of these downs, I did have plenty of ups to balance it all out:
First, my peanut of a boy (see awesome photo again), is a smart, feisty, fun, creative, fast talking, bright little guy who loves to go to school and is now POTTY TRAINED (pause for super freaky happy dance here!) He is the light of my life while at the same time running me ragged.

I continue to work at my local library and am still loving it!

I had the chance to go to BEA and the Book Blogger Convention again this year. I had the awesome privilege of rooming with Ms. Stacy of A Novel Source and got to hang out with the wonderful, wonderful Steph from Steph the Bookworm and her equally wonderful mom, Kim. I consider these folks to be my friends now. So happy!
I also got a chance to hang with the super talented, star in the making, mystery author,
Sandra Brannan and my friend, Christine from The happily ever after.
This whole event was a huge deal for me because I went by myself and had a blast. Tours of publishers, networking cocktail parties, tons of books, etc. It was amazing!

I got to work at the Midwest Booksellers Association Trade Show and worked with a ton of authors and literary folk. I think this is going to be a nice step towards an even
more literary life for me!

I purchased my own domain name and officially became

I participated in a Thrill Week with Marce at Tea Time with Marce.

On top of it all, I got another job. This time at an independent bookstore in Minneapolis, one of the largest in the midwest actually. I am pretty excited with it. It all happened with some connections with literary folks that I know and being in the right place at the right time, I guess. I am really happy with it and look forward to what the new year brings with it all.

And, I discovered New Girl, my favorite new TV show and that I secretly enjoy dancing to Taylor Swift. I know. I know. Would this be considered an up? Well, yes, I think it does. I dance joyfully and it makes me happy. I'm usually accompanied by my remote for a microphone and a fuzzy scarf for jazzy stage dress.

Overall, another full year for me in 2011. What can I say about 2012? I guess I just want to continue to find my happiness within myself and my family and with you all. Of course, I want to read a ton of books but I'm not going to stress myself out on the number or whether I not I complete challenges. I'm going to have fun!

Now on to my year in books...

Books Read:
Books Read including Children's Books:
Review Copies read:
Library Loan:
Owned Books Read:
Challenges participated in:
My A-Z Mystery Author Challenge 11/26, History Challenge 0/2, Memoir Challenge 3/6, Read from your Shelves Project 6/10

Favorite New Author:
Lisa Gardner

Best Review Book I almost said No to:
Wrecker by Summer Wood

Best Discovery:
Creep by Jennifer Hillier
(a frightening new series)

Guilty Pleasure:
Goddess of Vengeance by Jackie Collins

Least Favorite Book of 2011:
Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal
(should have left the past in the past, yo)

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2011:
Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lot's Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

As always, I had fun reading and that will continue to be my motivation as I enter my third year blogging. I always enjoy your company as my friends and my readers. I will continue to be me and keep it low key and full of my delightful humor (wink). I treasure you all who have been with me from the beginning. I look forward to those I have recently "met" and will continue to "meet". Though I may not stop by as often these days, your readership and support and involvement in this book blogging community continues to inspire me.

Here's to a bright and beautiful 2012!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Stacy at The Novel Life said...

He just gets more and more adorable with each new picture! Keep 'em coming!

Thank you for the mention - you are definitely in my Top 10 category! BEA with you was a blast and a memory I shall cherish for a lifetime!

And you lucky girl, you! A job at an independent? Fantastic! I know you must be in heaven there. Kudos to you!

Happy New Year Michelle. I wish you and your family the best in 2012. Blog on, friend!

Marce said...

What a great end of year post Michelle. I keep considering the Blogger Convention next year, exciting and scary.

I only read 4 more than you hon, we are moms of toddlers, life happens just keep enjoying.

Thanks for mentioning Thrill Week, look forward to next year. :-)

I haven't read any on your list but on to TBR are, Live to Tell, Lot's Return to Sodom, The Memory Palace and Water for Elephants.

I would recommend going to see The Help also.

My top 10 will be up in the morning.

Happy New Year :-)

Marce said...

I also meant to say Memoir Challenge didn't have a level, so you 'officially' completed that one :-)

Your link to Sandra B book is not working.

Melissa said...

Marce is absolutely correct ... we didn't have a level for the Memoir challenge this year so you are a winner in my book for that one! :)

You did great with your reading totals. I know it's been a tough year for you (and me too) and I want to say that you've been a great friend to me this year. Hopefully I've been able to return the favor from time to time. So glad we had the chance to have lunch again at BBC. I'm on the fence about whether it will happen again this year (we'll see about the dreaded finances).

Till then, have a wonderful 2012!

Jenny said...

I only read a few more than you, and I don't have any children! I definitely want to read more though. I love The New Girl too!!
But ugh, my home is worth nothing too. And all these other people are buying huge houses for a fraction of what I still owe on mine! =(

Ryan said...

He is just so adorable

The year is over and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the new year brings you less downs and more ups.

There are so many books on your list that I want to read, but haven't done so yet.

christa @ mental foodie said...

You had quite an eventful year! Now I am curious which bookstore you're working at! Love going to bookstores (though I am probably not a good customer since I typically browse only as I borrow most books from the library instead due to budget...)

Happy New Year!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I had a wonderful time at BEA, but I think if I go again, I'll only go for the last day for the Book Blogger Convention.

You've got some great selections for your list, and I really need to pick up Creep.

Have a safe and Happy New Year, and I love the picture of your son. Too funny! :)

Siobian said...

Your son is too cute!!! Even though you had some downs this year, it sounds like you had some really great ups too. I hope 2012 is even better for you and I can't wait to find out what you read next year! (Psst, I love dancing to Taylor Swift too, but don't tell anyone! :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Wow. What a recap. 2011 was bittersweet for me too.

The bitter: I lost my dad.

The sweet: After 4 years of marriage (and believing my husband and I would never be parents) I had Valentina.

The moral of my story, keep your chin up. You never know. You may still get another baby.

Side note: I LOVE New Girl too. At first I was unsure of it but it turns out the guys on that show are hysterical.

56 books is awesome! I'm sure that's far higher than mine.

Happy New Year darling!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Oh and your little was is so cute! How old is he?

DMS said...

What a cutie he is! I love the facial expression and the outfit! It sounds like 2011 really was a mix of good and bad for you. I am glad that you had some great ups! Working at the library sounds fun- and the independent book store sound cool (my co-authors aunts, uncles and cousins all live in Minneapolis or a surrounding town- if you mention the name of the bookstore I am sure she will tell her family to check it out).

56 books read is a pretty good numver- considering you are also writing reviews. Be proud of yourself for getting to over 50 books.

I loved Water for Elephants and I cannot wait to read Wonderstruck!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Any young mom that can read over 50 books is to be commended. Great job and Happy New Year!

Lisa said...

Yikes, you had some major downs this year! What a great attitude you have. Somehow I missed out on the new job - congrats!