Listomania 2011


Photo of woman reading by Alexandre DulaunoyIt’s the time of year when every newspaper, magazine, and blog comes out with a series of lists, including “best books of the year.” There is, naturally, a lot of overlap between lists.  This year’s list roundup shows, on nearly every list:

Big Lists and Notable Picks

There are also plenty of new books that most people probably missed in these lists – I’ve highlighted a few notable picks that caught my eye.

The New York Times’ “10 Best Books of 2011” (winnowed down from their "100 Notable Books of 2011")
Notable pick: Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson: “Henderson’s fierce, elegiac novel, her first, follows a group of friends, lovers, parents and children through the straight-edge music scene and the early days of the AIDS epidemic. By delving deeply into the lives of her characters, tracing their long relationships not only to one another but also to various substances, Henderson catches something of the dark, apocalyptic quality of the ’80s.”

“Books of the Year 2011” from The Guardian’s writers
Notable pick: Jeanette Winterson  recommends Ali Smith’s There But For The: “What would you do if an uninvited guest locked himself in the bathroom and refused to come out? She writes so well, distinctive, a bit crazy, compelling in the way that language should be, with surprises everywhere.”

“Writers Choose Their Favorite Books of 2011” for Salon
Notable pick: Ann Patchett picks The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson: “This book was my favorite for the sheer force of its creativity. Mr. and Mrs. Fang are performance artists whose art consists of public disturbances, usually centered around their children… You won’t read anything else like it.”

“The Best Book I Read This Year” from The Atlantic
Notable pick: Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History by Hamtpon Sides: “The story of how James Earl Ray murdered Martin Luther King… A thriller with cinematic ambitions, crackling detail, and a Jack Bauer pace that re-creates the tick-tock of events leading up to that shot in Memphis in April of 1968, and of the manhunt that followed until Ray’s capture in London two months later.”

“Best Books of 2011” from Slate
Notable pick: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones: “It’s one of those ‘just one more chapter’ kinds of books that requires much last-minute changing of plans, because real life feels far less amusing, appalling, shocking, and loving than the world of its characters.”

“Newsweek/Daily Beast Writers’ Favorite Books 2011”
Notable pick: The Convert by Deborah Baker: “About Margaret Marcus, a troubled, middle-class Jewish girl from Westchester who, in the early 1960s, changed her name to Maryam Jameelah, moved to Pakistan, and become an important theorist of radical Islam. It’s puzzling and haunting in all sorts of ways.”

"The 10 Best Books of 2011" by Esquire
Notable Pick: Ratification by Pauline Maier: “The United States of America, as it is constitutionally defined, was born in a bare-knuckled political brawl. This is not a metaphorical statement. People literally threw down over things like tariffs and the right of the government to raise an army.”

Photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy


Author Bio:

Nicole Pasini is the Acting Branch Manager for the Woodside Library. The best books she read in 2011 were An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell and Role Models by John Waters.

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