During 2011 I read (or at least I recorded myself as having read - I may have missed a couple) 62 fiction and 27 non-fiction.
This compared very poorly with the previous year, 2010 - 137 fiction and 32 non-fiction (not 125 and 32 as previously recorded) but I have the excuse that 2010 was exceptional since I was laid up for a while after my heart by-pass.
The 2011 total figure was also down on 2009 when I read at least 89 fiction but the non-fiction were up on that year's 21.
Six of the non-fiction that I read in 2011 got ten stars :-
David Verey (Ed) – “The Diary of a Victorian Squire” (re-read)
Joan POWERS (Ed.) - "Eeyore's Gloomy Little Instruction Book" (re-read)
Ronald Blythe -"The Penguin Book of Diaries" (re-read)
Scouse Press – "An Everyday History of Liverpool" (re-read)
E & M A Radford - "The Encyclopedia of Superstitions" (re-read)
William Plomer (Ed.) - "Kilvert's Diary 1870-1879" (re-read)
Since they were all books I had read before it seemed inappropriate to make a 'Best of non-fiction award' for 2011 though if I were pressed I would give it to Kilvert's Diary which is one of those books one could read and re-read a dozen times and still enjoy.
The SCRIPTOR SENEX PRIZE FOR FICTION for 2011 is divided into three sections – Victorian fiction, 20th Century Fiction and 21st Century Fiction.
The Victorian Fiction that got ten stars were:-
Charles DICKENS – "Dombey & Son" (1848)
Elizabeth GASKELL - "North and South" (1855)
Mary Elizabeth BRADDON - "Lady Audley's Secret" (1862)
Anthony TROLLOPE - “Rachel Ray“ (1863)
Joseph Sheridan Le FANU – “Uncle Silas ” (1864)
Margaret OLIPHANT - "Miss Marjoribanks" (1865)
Wilkie COLLINS – “The Moonstone” (1868)
And the VICTORIAN PRIZE was shared jointly by an obscure scribbler called Charles John Huffam DICKENS for "Dombey & Son" (1848) and Mary Elizabeth BRADDON for "Lady Audley's Secret" (1862). Unlike Dickens,whowrote little and faded into obscurity, Braddon was an extremely prolific writer, producing more than 80 novels with very inventive plots. The most famous one is "Lady Audley's Secret" which won her recognition as well as fortune. The novel has been in print ever since its publication, and has been dramatised and filmed several times. Unfortunately neither of the above responded to my e-mails asking them to collect their prize.
No 20th Century books that I read in 2011 got ten stars so no Prize was awarded in that category!
The 21st Century fiction that got ten stars were:-
Helen DUNMORE - “The Siege“ (2001)
Khaled HOSSEINI – “The Kite Runner” (2003)
Terry PRATCHETT - “Once More * *with footnotes” ( 2004) (re-read)
Alice HOFFMAN – “The Ice Queen ” (2005)
Khaled HOSSEINI – “A Thousand Splendid Suns ” (2007)
Muriel BARBERY – “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” (2008)
Paul TORDAY - “The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce - a novel in four vintages" (2008)
David MITCHELL – “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet ” (2010)
Terry PRATCHETT - “Snuff“ (2011)
Like the Victorian Prize the 21st CENTURY PRIZE was shared. This time by David MITCHELL for “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet ” (2010) and Khaled HOSSEINI for “A Thousand Splendid Suns ” (2007). Both deserve all the praise that has been heaped upon them and I recommend them to you most heartily. They are books not only to read but to buy and keep for ever.
If either of those gentlemen would care to contact me I shall be happy to forward a printed certificate and a tin of my delicious cornflake crunch.
What was the best book you read in 2011?