My 2011 in Books

Best Books I Read Last Year (loved): A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I finished it, then read it immediately again. It was intriguing, complex, and engagingly constructed. I hugely enjoyed William Gibson’s Bigend trilogy: Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero Country. The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall took Utah polygamy and made it sympathetic and even universal. The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson is a deep and moving American family portrait. Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was so rich and complex I read it twice.

Other Books with both Style and Substance (really liked): The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, What Was She Thinking, Genghis Khan, The Hours, Half of a Yellow Sun, God on the Rocks, The Funny Man, Freedom, The Death of Adam, The Memory Artists

Worthy re-reads:
In the Woods, The Likeness, Gilead, Carter Beats the Devil, The Road, Handmaid’s Tale, The History of Love

Enjoyable reads: I Think I Love You, Bad Marie, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, House of Tomorrow, Lamb, D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths, News to Me, Savages, The Thousand, The Gargoyle, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, The Family Fang, Jhereg, Yendi, Miracle, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

Previously recommended-to-me classics I’m glad I finally read:
Life with Jeeves, Riddley Walker, The Master and Margarita

Really Good Graphic Novels: The Alcoholic, Drinking at the Movies, Fables (though not Super Team), Dream Country, Unwritten, Finder, Batwoman: Elegy, Sweet Tooth

Kind of hated, or at least actively disliked parts:
Ex Machina v10, Room, One Day, The Finkler Question, The Red Tent, Absence of Mind, Gingerbread Girl, The Fate of the Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Everything is Illuminated, An Equal Music, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Fables: Super Team, Blood, Bones & Butter

Read with the kids:
The Mouse and his Child (too complex and dark for 5 and 7yo), Odd and the Frost Giants, The Magician’s Nephew (wish we’d started with Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe), Charlotte’s Web. 5yo Guppy had trouble with most of these, but liked Odd and Charlotte by the end. My husband is now reading them Lord of the Rings following the Hobbit, and they’re enjoying them a lot; I think the enthusiasm of the reader in this case helps a lot.

No links or even italics here: too much info to cram in on the last day of the year. For links, look in 2011 Books link to the right.

Ex Machina v 10 by Bryan K Vaughn
The Alchoholic by Jonathan Ames
Drinking at the Movies: Julisa Wertz
Fables v 14: Bill Willingham
Pattern Recognition: William Gibson
Life with Jeeves: Wodehouse
In the Woods: Tana French
The Likeness: Tana French
Spook Country: William Gibson
Zero History: William Gibson
Room: Emma Donaghue
Gilead: Marilynne Robinson
I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson
One Day: David Nicholls
Carter Beats the Devil: Glen David Gold
The Finkler Question: Harold Jacobson
The Road: Cormac McCarthy
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
Nox: Anne Carson
Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: Aimee Bender
Handmaid’s Tale: Atwood
What Was She Thinking (Notes on a Scandal): Zoe Heller
Negotiating with the Dead: Atwood
Riddley Walker: Russell Hoban
The Death of Adam: Marilynne Robinson
House of Tomorrow: Peter Bognanni
The Red Tent: Anita Diamant
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Dream Country: Neil Gaiman
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World:
Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: Louise Erdrich
The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban
Unwritten v1 by Peter Gross
Fables: Rose Red by Bill Willingham
Absence of Mind: Marilynne Robinson
Finder: Voice: Carla Speed McNeil
Batwoman: Elegy: Greg Rucka
The Wordy Shipmates: Sarah Vowell
Gingerbread Girl: Paul Tobin
Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse again
American Gods: Neil Gaiman
The Magician’s Nephew: C.S. Lewis
Odd and the Frost Giants: Neil Gaiman
D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths
Mrs Dalloway: Woolf
Planetary: Warren Ellis
The Hours: Michael Cunningham
News to Me: Laurie Hertzel
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Douglas Adams
The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul: Douglas Adams
The Mrs. Dalloway Reader: ed. Francine Prose
Half of a Yellow Sun: C. Adiche
Everything is Illuminated: Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Jonathan Safran Foer
The Lonely Polygamist: Brady Udall
Savages: Dan Wilson
The Magician’s Elephant: Kate DiCamillo
The Fate of the Artist: Eddie Campbell
God on the Rocks: Jane Gardam
The Thousand: Kevin Guilfoile
Finder, library 1: Carla Speed McNeil
The Gargoyle: Andrew Davidson
The History of Love: Nicole Krauss
An Equal Music: Vikram Seth
The Year We Left Home: Jean Thompson
Master and Margarita: Bulgakov
Unwritten v 4: Peter Carey
Sweet Tooth v1: Jeff Lemire
Special Topics in Calamity Physics: Marisha Pessl
Sweet Tooth v2: Jeff Lemire
Get in if You Want to Live: John Jodzio
The Girl of Fire and Thorns: Rae Carson
Sweet Tooth v3: Lemire
The Funny Man: John Warner
Freedom: Jonathan Franzen
Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? Mindy Kaling
The Family Fang: Kevin Wilson
Jhereg: Steven Brust
The Memory Artists: Jeffrey Moore
Fables v16: Willingham
Yendi: Brust
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine: Alina Bronsky
Blood Bones and Butter: Gabrielle Hamilton
Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White

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