Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best books of 2011

I read (or listened to the audiobook version) 57 books in 2011. Here's my list of the top 10, particularly of literary fiction (I'll get to my junk reading later):
1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
3. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
4. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
5. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantell
6. The Imperfectionists by Rachmann
7. Great House by Allison Krauss
8. How to Life Safely in a Science Fiction World by Wu
9. Parrott & Olivier in America by Carey
10. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

I also read the following classics, and they don't fit into a top 10 list
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (the generation gap in 1860's Russia).
The Brothers Dostoevsky by Fyodor Dostoevsky
(I had read this in high school but evidently forgotten all of it; it is still a fiction masterpiece but really sprawls in its "form". Wild mixture of psychological analysis of character, soap opera love triangles, religious and philosophical arguments and debates, and a law and order type murder investigation and trial. )

I read but was not a fan of or disappointed in Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Foreign Bodies by C. Ozzick, Remember Ben Clayton, and Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I don't read as much non-fiction but did enjoy the following:
1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
2. The Checklist Manifesto by Gawade
4. The Pacific (audio book version of HBO miniseries)
5. The Talent Code
6. Manhunt (about Lincoln's assassination)
7. Bossypants by Tina Fey
8. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
9. Naked by David Sedaris
Now, my junk authors:

I still love my John Sandford, both for Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers ("that f.... Flowers"), and enjoyed the following this year:
Rough Country, Buried Prey, Bad Blood
I've started reading Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels (the ultimate "have gun will travel" tough guy):
Worth Dying For, One Shot, 61 Hours
I also like the Ridley Pearson mysteries set in Sun Valley, Idaho, including Killer Summer
Connelly's The Closers and
Echo Park (LA cop)

I also read several of H.C. Beaton's Seamus McBeth Scottish mysteries, Death of a Bore, Death of Glutton, Death of a Gentle Lady, but they begin to get formulaic.
Also Nevada Barr's Burn was not up to her usual standard.
(Too many books with child abuse themes this year).

The book I most hated was Robin Cook's Intervention, which made all of the following professions look bad, and was probably incorrect on the technical aspects of each field: archaeology, Catholic priests, Gnostic gospels, the Apostle Peter, medical examiners, monks, chiropracters, alternative medicine,etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment