Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Reads of 2011

I've made it a rule since my college days to read at least one book (novel or nonfiction) per week or one short story a day...And this year, I had the good fortune to start reviewing books for Shelf Awareness.  That meant that I read a lot more than usual, but I had a little less time to devote to all the books I had planned on reading. The good folks at Shelf Awareness for Readers send me an often ecclectic list of nonfiction/fiction, mysteries and romances--books I might not normally choose for myself, per se, but titles I have enjoyed reading that broaden my range. Of late, this blog tends to highlight a majority of those titles. However, I read a lot more than what I post. 

Therefore, below is a list of my Top 12 Personal Favorite Books from 2011. Please note: there is no special ranking.  Each book is so different in content/form/subject matter that I feel it is unfair to qualify them in that way. The numbers are there to simply keep the list orderly.  And unless otherwise noted, all books referenced are fiction/novels. To learn more about any of the selections, link on the title for additional information:

1)    Faith - Jennifer Haigh
2)   Coming Up for Air - Patti Callahan Henry
3)   Let's Take the Long Way Home - Gail Caldwell (memoir)
4)   The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress - Beryl Bainbridge
5)   Bin Laden's Bald Spot - Brian Doyle (short stories)
6)   The Women Jefferson Loved - Virginia Scharff (nonfiction)
7)    Emily and Einstein - Linda Francis Lee 
8)    The Solitude of Prime Numbers - Paolo Giordano
9)    Emory's Gift - W. Bruce Cameron
10)   I Married You for Happiness - Lily Tuck
11)   The Train of Small Mercies - David Rowell (short stories)
12)   Blood, Bones and Butter - Gabrielle Hamilton (memoir)

Here is a list of books I had wanted to read this year, but never got around to...I'll add them to my stack for 2012:

1)     State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
2)    The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides
3)    The Art of Fielding - Chad Hardbach
4)    Falling Together - Marisa de los Santos
5)    Death Comes to Pemberly - P.D. James