Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Wrap-Up - Part 1

Last year, I did a Year End Wrap-Up for the first time, and more people read it than I expected. So, like last year, I’ll summarize the year in two parts, featuring Authors @ The Teague tomorrow.

I did a great deal of traveling this year, but still managed to read 188 books. (I know my friend, Sandie, tells people I read a book a day, but it’s close to a book every two days.) That’s ten more books than 2010, so I do seem to have a regular pace. Of those 188 books, 105 were mysteries or crime fiction, a higher number than last year.

With Craig Johnson at LCC

Two of my trips actually involved books. I attended Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe, a city I had wanted to see for ten years. I had the chance to meet a number of mystery writers there. And, I was at Craig Johnson’s table at the banquet the night he won the Watson for a mystery novel (Junkyard Dogs) with the best sidekick.

My other book-related trip was to New York City in May. I was on a panel at Book Expo America (BEA), The Great Readalike – If You Like This…You’ll LOVE That!, where I talked about mysteries.

In July, I welcomed Sandie Herron to Lesa’s Book Critiques. Sandie, the former owner of A Novel Idea bookstore in Sarasota, Florida, writes book reviews that appear in Sandie’s Corner. With her reviews, you’re able to read someone else’s opinions about books.

Photo by Bette Sharpe for Glendale Daily Planet

It was a surprise, and a wonderful honor, this year when the Arizona Library Association presented me with the Outstanding Library Service Award in November. That award was given because of my contribution to the community through my blog, Authors @ The Teague, and my brown bag luncheons, as much as for my job as a library manager. So, thank you to all of you for sharing in those events.

And, I can't forget to mention the "conversation" I had with two friends, Jen Forbus and Kaye Barley, as the three of us shared a chat about mysteries and books via our blogs, a conversation with three reading women. That was a treat for me, and I hope readers enjoyed it. 

One of my favorite things about reading is discovering debut fiction authors. As usual, I was impressed with the ones I read. In 2011, I read first novels by Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, graphic novelist Jonathan Case (Dear Creature), Sarah Jio (The Violets of March), Jael McHenry (The Kitchen Daughter), Meg Mitchell Moore (The Arrivals), and Deborah Rodriguez. Although Rodriguez is the author of Kabul Beauty School, A Cup of Friendship was her first novel.

Fans of crime fiction may want to watch for these debut novelists that I enjoyed this year: Esri Allbritten (Chihuahua of the Baskervilles), Carol K. Carr, with two books, India Black and India Black and the Widow of Windsor; Spencer Seidel (Dead of Wynter), and Tina Whittle (The Dangerous Edge of Things). S.J. Watson's thriller, Before I Go to Sleep, was one of the most talked about debuts of the year.

And, I saved one debut for last. One of the authors, Kevin Hearne, is a local Valley author. His urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles, kicked off with three terrific books in succession, Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered. I was so impressed with these books that I asked him to appear for Authors @ The Teague. What a terrific appearance! The audience was packed with fans who discovered this author. Now, a number of us have tickets to the launch in April of the next book in the series, Tricked.

I want to end by thanking every reader of Lesa's Book Critiques. I want to thank you as readers who love books, in whatever format. You comment on the posts, tell your friends about the blog, follow me here, and on Twitter (@LesaHolstine). I want to welcome new readers, and I hope you will continue to stop back once in a while. It's fun to tell you about books and discuss them here. I love to hear that you read and enjoyed a book I reviewed, or that you didn't like a book. Thank you for all the comments. I love to write this blog because I know you're reading it.

In early January, 2012, I'll be kicking off the eighth year of Lesa's Book Critiques, and I have an idea as to how to do that. So, I hope you'll stick with me.

In the meantime, please come back tomorrow, when part 2 will include the year in pictures.


Bev Stephans said...

O what a year it has been. I'm so glad you mentioned Kevin Hearne. He has become one of my new best authors.

There are so many books that you have recommended and I have read, and I want to thank you for each and every one.

It's fun to see new readers to your blog. For an example, there is Rosemary who was directed to your site by Louise Penny's blog. I don't think I ever told you, but that's how I found you. Rosemary and I are very lucky.

I'm looking forward to 2012 and many additions to my TBR pile!

Lesa said...

And, Rosemary is in Scotland, Bev, which I love! I didn't know you were directed here by Louise Penny's blog. That's terrific, and so nice of Louise.

I've loved every minute of 2011, Bev. It's been a terrific year, for me, and for reading. Here's to 2012. May it bring us great books!

Inside A Book said...

I can't wait!! You are deserving of every award and then some! I truly enjoy looking back at your /our year with you.


Rosemary said...

Lesa, what a fabulous year you have had. I'm sure 2012 will be even better. You are a great inspiration to us all. And 188 books!! Where do you find the time? I think I've done well if I manage 45, although I can see that the Kindle is going to help. No more time wasted.

I am away from tomorrow till Monday night; happy Hogmanay to everyone.


Beth Hoffman said...

What a wonderful and busy year for you, Lesa. Congratulations again and again for earning the Outstanding Library Service Award, it couldn't have gone to a more wonderful person!

I'm looking forward to your 8 year kick off!

Big hugs ~ Beth

Lesa said...

Gaye, Rosemary, Beth - Thank you! I would never have continued this for seven years if people hadn't responded to it. I started the blog for myself, but I wanted to share books & book discussions, and this has been so much fun. Thank you!

I hope 2012 brings us all great books and more discussions together.

Kris Meyer said...

You had a fantastic reading year! I hope 2012 is another great year. Love reading your reviews even if I don't comment on all of them.