This post is inspired from Arleen. Like her, I love reading, but this last year has been a bit disappointing in taking a chunk out of all that's on my list.
I'm hoping to reverse that trend this year.
I'll share the books I'm reading here, and hopefully that will keep me somewhat accountable.
The first book that I've read so far this year (or more accurately, finished, since I spent a couple months of '11 reading it as well) was George R.R. Martin's first book in his "Song of Ice and Fire" series. You probably recognize that it's A Game of Thrones. Not only is it already massively popular (I think it was first released in the mid-nineties), but it's also become a very successful television show on HBO.
I won't give too much detail, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Although I'm a fan of the fantasy genre, I don't really care to read too much of it. This book is basically Tolkien minus some of the fantasy plus a medieval time period. It's also lacking the black and white moral absolutes of Tolkien's masterpiece. While that's not necessarily a good or bad thing, it makes for a very interesting drama involving vast kingdoms who are all vying for power, and all think they're the ones who deserve it (for the most part).
More than that, however, these power struggles are told through several personal narratives, and a majority of them are very interesting and deeply compelling.
I encourage you to check this one out. It's a good 800+ pages, so it's a commitment for sure. I'm not yet going to start on the second of the series, but I plan to soon.