Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner has again created an end of 2011 survey to reflect on this years best and worst reads. I had a lot of fun with this one last year, so of course I was excited to see that she brought it back this year.
This survey includes books I have read this year, both old and new. It is not a survey that rates 2011 releases.
1. Best Book You Read In 2011?:
- This one is hard. I read a lot of amazing books this year. Three titles immediately come to mind when I think back to the "best" books; Norwegian Wood, Middlesex and them. Of those three, the one that stands out the most for me is Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. On the surface Norwegian Wood is a love story, a very organic one at that. But it's really much more than just a love story. It's about memory and the memory of love, and how it stays with us even when the one we love is gone. It's about coping with death and sorrow, and understanding life while trying to find your place in this imperfect the world. It's about loneliness and isolation and the innate human desire to form unique relationships. I've got to thank Ben from Dead End Follies for recommending this book to me.
- The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown: I wish I hadn't wasted my time and finished this one.
- How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely: I picked this book up after Jackie at FarmLane Books recommended it. I thought I would like it, but I was surprised by just how much. I read this one in two days, laughed out loud quite a bit (which is something I rarely do when reading, or even watching a movie) and recommended it to a handful of bloggers.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This book had enough hype surrounding it that I didn't really need to push it on anyone, but I did recommend it to my mom, my sister and some friends. It's got such universal appeal that you can't really go horribly wrong by telling people to read it.
- The Wonderland Quartet by Joyce Carol Oates: To be fair I've only read one of the books in the series, but it was so good I already bought another and plan to read it soon.
- Jeffrey Eugenides: Yes, I only just discovered Eugenides this year when I read Middlesex in May for the Back to the Classics Challenge.
- Joyce Carol Oates: Oates is absolutely astonishing. I can't wait to read more of her work.
- Jhumpa Lahiri: It took me awhile to pick up some of Lahiri's work but once I did I immediately knew why she won the Pulizer.
- The Thieves of Manhattan by Adam Langer: This one was easy, it was the only novel I read in under 24 hours this year. It was awesome.
- The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: If you followed me on twitter near the end of the summer I wouldn't shut up about how excited I was for the book. I may have also posted about that a couple of times.
- On Beauty by Zadie Smith: I found this beautiful hardback edition at Half Price Books and scooped it up immediately. The picture doesn't really do the cover justice. It is made up of all these lovely patterns and textures.
10. Most memorable character in 2011?
- Midori Kobayashi from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: This girl is bananas, in the best and most sincerely possible way.
- The Painted Veil by M. Somerset Maugham: Maugham's writing is truly lovely and his ability to convey ideas without hitting the reader over the head with them is refreshing.
- The Submission by Amy Waldman: If you are looking for a book that will challenge your notions of post 9/11 America, I ask you to let The Submission be it.
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I've been a long-time fan of Vonnegut's short stories, but I didn't pick up Slaughterhouse-Five until this year.
- "This goes along with another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise. " - Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye (I liked this quote so much I paired it with this photo of myself taken a few months prior to reading this book.)
- The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: I was so excited to get my hands on this book that I cruised through it in a couple of days. I'd like to reread it and take my time with it the second time around.
- This is a tie between the ending of The Marriage Plot and the second half of The Thieves of Manhattan.