Favorite Posts of 2011

My Work Desk

Over the course of the year, I have written more posts in this blog than I have in my more popular one. For one thing, I think I was more focused on reading, and this blog proved to be a sort of refuge. I think I could branch out and write about other things here now. It feels like a more comfortable place, and I can’t explain why. I have had a really difficult time thinking of things to write about on my other blog, but I have had no such trouble with this blog, at least not this year. Before the year ends, I thought I would share some reflections about my favorite blog posts (and, of course, invite you to read them for the first time, or reread them if you choose).

January

  • Do You Hate Holden Caulfield?: This post grew out of a post and some of its comments I read over at Forever Young Adult, and it’s mainly a reflection about how we are entitled to the reactions we feel to books, and that sometimes those reactions change over time. In it, I examined how my own feelings changed for Holden Caulfield. However, the reason it’s one of my favorites is the comments received, particularly one from a student who was more or less asking me if it was OK to hate Holden Caulfield—he wondered because the reaction from his teacher made him feel like there was something wrong with not liking Holden. For what it’s worth, I gave him my permission.
  • Mary Novik: Author Interview: Mary was so kind, and I loved her responses to my questions. Mary Novik made me look at John Donne in a new way.
  • Byron was a Bad, Bad Boy: I was on a real Byron kick this year. He was undoubtedly one of the most interesting figures of the Romantic era. He’s so endlessly fascinating that you can even read an entire blog devoted to him.

February

  • Dearest Cassandra: This creative writing piece was written as part of a model project for my students. I wrote a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra detailing the events that happened after Jane inexplicably traveled forward through time to the year 2010. It was a lot of fun, and an edited version of the letter wound up in a book I’m currently writing.
  • Fanny Brawne: This post is all about my girl-crush on Fanny Brawne, John Keats’s fiancée.
  • Passion, by Jude Morgan: My enthusiastic review of the novel. It was a long book, and I felt accomplished after I finished it. I can’t wait to read Jude Morgan’s next one. He’s one of my new favorites.

March

  • Reading Update: Wolfe and Lovelace: I had just finished reading the story of how James Wolfe won a major battle in Quebec during what us Americans call the French and Indian War, and I recounted the story here.
  • Nostalgia: This post is more about where did all the time go? rather than books, but I like it, and I love the song in the video I embedded into the post.

April

May

  • Teaser Tuesdays—May 17, 2011: The most accurate and hysterical definition of criticism (in the sense of analyzing art or literature, not “finding fault with”) I’ve ever read. God love Jasper Fforde. He always makes me laugh. Also, I need to do Teaser Tuesdays again. If I do, I’m changing the post title construction (for Musing Mondays, too). These titles I’m using are not descriptive enough.
  • Historical Crushes: A longish post about all the historical figures I have historical crushes on. I want to write one about literary crushes (fictional characters), but it’s been in the draft stage for a while. I need to return to it.

June

  • Booking Through Thursday: Interactive?: I get tired of the doom and gloom posts about how the Kindle is killing books. We’re in the midst of a reading renaissance!
  • Best Dads in Literature: This post was surprisingly hard to write because there aren’t a huge number of great dads in literature. Sad.
  • Teaser Tuesday and Top Ten Tuesday—June 21, 2011: See what I mean about these titles? Anyway, this post has a great quote from Paula McLain’s [amazon_link id=”0345521307″ target=”_blank” ]The Paris Wife[/amazon_link] and a list of ten reasons I love book blogging.
  • Sunfire Romances: In which I describe my affection for the YA Sunfire Romances published in the 1980’s. Think less successful American Girls books for teenagers.
  • Music and Reading: A discussion of two of my passions.

July

August

September

October

  • Music: A kind of revealing post in which I discuss music. Note: I would change #3 now to “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.
  • Surprise Endings: A discussion of the top ten endings that shocked me. Caution: here be spoilers!
  • Musing Mondays—October 17, 2011: More book cover porn!
  • Planning My NaNo Novel: In this post, I shared my process for preparing for NaNoWriMo using Scrivener, which is my new favorite piece of software. Scrivener put this post on their Facebook fan page, too.

November

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King: Perhaps the single most influential book I read this year and the best book of writing advice I’ve ever read. Inspirational!
  • I Won NaNoWriMo!: I was so proud of “winning” NaNoWriMo this year. It was my second time, and I think it was even sweeter than the first because I learned that the first time wasn’t a fluke. This was the year I finally felt like a writer. I am currently wearing my Winner’s Circle tee-shirt, which for some reason I felt compelled to order this year when I didn’t the other year I won. Go figure!

December

  • Sunday Salon: The Shelf Awareness Interview: In this post, I share my answers to the standard questions Shelf Awareness asks of authors they interview.
  • Writing Dreams: I had tea with the Romantic poets in April, and here in this post, I describe how Joe Hill and Stephen King gave me writing advice (except, I didn’t actually get the advice).
  • Top Ten Books of 2011: I enjoyed thinking about which books made my list of the year’s best.
  • 2012 Obscure Books Challenge: After I said I wouldn’t, I had an idea for challenge to host and threw up some pages inviting participation. God help me.

photo credit: DeaPeaJay