Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year in Books — the Best of 2011


Although I read a lot of books in 2011, I certainly didn’t read all that were published in 2011, and I didn’t read exclusively books that were published in 2011. So a “Best Of” list is a strange thing to produce. Necessarily, it is a list of the best books I read, not the best books that were published. I read pretty widely, too, so I need to break this down into categories. And to hedge my bets, most categories have runners-up!

Best Novel (published in 2011): Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, reviewed here.

Honorable mention: Family Fang by Kevin Wilson; and To Be Sung Under Water, by Tom McNeal, reviewed here.

Other 2011 novels I enjoyed: Blood Clay by Valerie Nieman; The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes; One Hundred and One Nights, by Benjamin Buchholz; and Whale Man, by Alan Michael Parker, which I reviewed here.

Best Novel (published prior to 2011): The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
Honorable mention: Shanghai Dancing by Brian Castro, reviewed here.

Best Short Story Collection: Accidental Birds of the Carolinas by Marjorie Hudson
Honorable mention: Burning Man by Ed Falco.

Best Young People’s Literature: Eddie’s War by Carol Fisher Saller, reviewed here.
Honorable mention: Catcher, Caught by Sarah Collins Honenberger.

Best Memoir: Witness by Curtis Smith.
Honorable mention: Caged by Cameron Conaway, reviewed here.

Best Buddhist Book: Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor
Honorable Mention: Buddha Standard Time by Lama Surya Das

Best Liberal Book: Aftershock by Robert Reich
Honorable Mention: Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann

I'm looking forward to more good reading in 2012!

4 comments:

Marjorie Hudson said...

Thank you Cliff! Wow. I know you read a lot of short story collections, so this is SWEET!!!! Hope you will review the book!

Sarah Collins Honenberger said...

Loved the categories, especially 'Best liberal Book.' And thank you for citing Catcher, Caught. I'd love your take on Mattaponi Queen by Belle Boggs, particularly with your interest in short stories.

Clifford Garstang said...

Should have had a general nonfiction category, too. Haven't read Belle's book, but I just ordered it so . . . eventually.

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