My Favorite Books of 2011

December 20, 2011

I have been reading a lot of “best of” lists for the last week or so and thought I might share my favorite books of the year, too. I hope you’ll take a minute and enter your top book of the year in the form at the end of the post which should give us all more great reading suggestions!

My list is not in any particular order…

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – I love books about sisters, and especially educated, quirky, and interesting ones.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – I don’t want to say too much about this but it is a very fun and surprising

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro – Partly about postwar Japan and partly about the decisions made by painter Masuji Ono earlier in his life. A very moody story by one of my favorite authors.

The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball – I love books like this, as I am a farmer at heart.  When Paul and I moved to the country our plans weren’t as ambitious as theirs but we had just as much fun and ate just as well, too.

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty – I have a soft spot for Southern authors and family and this book takes its time winding back and forth in the Judge McKelva family.

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton – This book, by the owner of the New York restaurant Prune, shares her love of food and cooking and all the kitchens and inspirations that brought her to where she is today.

Three Stages of Amazement by Carol Edgarian – I had enjoyed her previous book Rise The Ephrates and bought this as soon as it came out.  The story is a complicated family story that is very beautifully told.

Ordinary Love and Goodwill by Jane Smiley – These two short novels are powerful and wonderful.She is an incredibly talented writer.

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson – Here is another talented author and a very memorable (although a tad confusing at times) intertwined story.  You’ll remember it for a long time, I promise.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – Patchett is another of my favorite authors and I was patiently waiting for this book to be released, too. The – almost a love – story takes you from Minnesota to the Amazon jungle and you learn a thing or two about the pharmaceutical industry, too.

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje – What a delightful book! A fictionalized memoir of Ondaatje’s early years, starting with a voyage from Colombo to England. The story, the voice, the characters are all interesting and surprising.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – I know Murakami is not for everyone as sometimes he is a bit too surreal but he is one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled to have a new book this year.  This long book weaves its way back and forth as the two main characters (Tengo and Aomame) gradually become aware of their strong early connection.  Part mystery and part fantasy, it is a wonderful read. And even more amazing is that it had to be translated from the Japanese.

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

5 Comments
    1. F loves Murakami and has several of his books, translated into Spanish, of course. I have a feeling I shall some day read them, especially as I now have your recommendation too.

      Saludos,

      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we are currently working our way through La Reina Del Sur in Spanish.

      1. Hola Kim G, I hope you’ll give Murakami a try. I have read all of his novels and his non-fiction “What I talk about when I Talk about Running” and have loved them all. There are still a lot of short stories and novellas waiting for me – I have to parcel them out so I don’t slurp them up too quickly. (Oops, I guess not everyone slurps up books like I do…) When are you guys coming to Maz, anyway? I am getting impatient! Don’t forget moto week is the week after Easter!

    1. I have been looking for a good post to end the year, This would be a good topic. Oddly, I don’t think we have any matches.

      1. Steve, Book posts are always interesting…. I would like to read your favorite list, too. And our lack of matches on our lists? Like my grandmother said “It takes all kinds to make a world…” and that’s what makes the world interesting!

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