(some of the) Best Books of 2011

It’s that time of year…no, I don’t mean the holiday season.  It’s the time of year for the “Best Books of the Year” lists.  There’s  Amazon, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, among others, already weighing in with what their editors believe are the most important and enjoyable books published during 2011.

Here is a sampling of some of books that are already being considered as the most noteworthy of 2011:

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (fiction)

Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather’s search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (fiction)

A baseball star at a small college near Lake Michigan launches a routine throw that goes disastrously off course and inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president, a gay teammate and the president’s daughter.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (fiction)

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.  A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (non-fiction)

Based on more than 40 interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues–the author offers a fascinating look at the co-founder and leading creative force behind the Apple computer company.

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (non-fiction)

The chef of New York’s East Village Prune restaurant presents an account of her search for meaning and purpose in the central rural New Jersey home of her youth, marked by a first chicken kill, an international backpacking tour, and the opening of a first restaurant.

Don’t forget to look for the “Best Books of 2011” display located on the main floor when visiting the library during December.

– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services

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66 thoughts on “(some of the) Best Books of 2011”

  1. EXCELLENT! I just finished a book last night (Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which took all of a few days to read … but I still loved it), so I needed a “next” pretty soon…

    Loving your list!

    1. I’m reading it now, can’t say that I’d recommend. It has all the Murakami elements but it’s just too long. It took him about 350pg to unravel the story and then by pg 500 total ridiculousness begins.. I am at about 600 now and thinking of abandoning it

    1. Hmm… Khaled Hosseini has a similar style, but different themes….Irvine Welsh as well, except his novels are (even more) graphic than Eugenides…. Aldous Huxley has some similar prose-y things, but they’re also pretty scientific. I’ve heard Margaret Atwood is good in a similar kind of way, and Oryx and Crake is up there on my list =D hopefully htat helps!

  2. Great list, definitely added a book to my ‘to read list’! I just finished the Tiger’s Wife, it was a good book but I just didn’t LOVE it like I expected to… I found myself absolutely loving the parts of the story set in the grandfather’s time that were being passed down and reflected upon and waiting to go back to that time when we were back in the present. It was a good story overall just not as amazing as I hoped it was going to be. Kudos on being fresh pressed!

  3. this is a great list! i just joined a couple book clubs and we’re in need of some worthy reads. i always struggle to identify new books that may interest me, but this will give me a place to start. thanks for sharing!

  4. Love your section of books and your reviews.. Great work!
    I have read Steve Jobs and 1Q84. Great books! I highly recommend getting them if you don’t have them already lol 😉
    Chow xx Ezzy

  5. I was just about to research some new books to take out from the library because im about to finish the book Deliverance. 1Q84 and the Tiger’s Wife look very interesting

  6. We’ve all heard the term “Chick Flick”. Is there such a thing as a “Chick Book”or “Chick Book List”? I only ask because I noticed there are a dozen girls for every guy replying on this post. 🙂 Thanks for the list. Think I’ll try 1Q84.

  7. It’s funny how different these five books are 🙂
    1Q84 is probably the one I find most interesting. I’ve read some of Haruki Murakami’s other books and apart from all being interesting, they all seemed to be rather realistic in the beginning and then become exponentially more weird towards the end… Which I find inspiring.

  8. The more I hear & read about Steve Jobs, the less I like him or who he was. Is it wrong to speak of the dead like that? I don’t know, but it seems to me he was a selfish, self obsessed man. Granted, he presented the world with amazing gadgets, but heck, one does not have to treat people like dirt to do that. The only thing going for him was that he wanted no control over his biography. Maybe he knew that he “behaved badly” and this encouraging people in interviews to speak honestly about what they thought of him, was to assuage his guilt.

    Oh, by the way, I have not read the book. yet.

    Does that make me ignorant? I suppose so.

  9. I was so disappointed by 1Q84 and, while I thought “The Tiger’s Wife” was well done, it felt very thin to me. And by that I guess I mean I felt the youth of the author behind it–lovely prose, though.
    I’m posting chapters of my new novel, VERA, which is a satirical, supernatural novel (in the vein of “Cold Comfort Farm”) on my blog, and the book I was most inspired and impressed by this year was “The Astral” by Kate Christensen–such a smart, wise, gifted writer.
    Thank you for all you do, R&R.
    Sincerely,
    Alice Blunt

  10. I really liked Blood, Bones, and Butter. I haven’t read the others (I tend to stick mostly with non-fiction, though I do make myself branch out–gasp!–into fiction sometimes). Bossypants is awesome and hilarious–you’ve got to read it.

  11. Thanks for this list – comes at the perfect time! Has anyone read Eugenides new book yet? Wondering if I should pick it up. His ability to embody characters in his first two books has been unmatched on my reading list.

    One of my thoughts this week is about how are sharing our love of reading with others. Thinking of building a ‘little free library’ on my street. Find out more here – http://communitiesknow.com/2011/11/22/inspiring-literacy/

  12. That “1Q84” sounds interesting. I’ll have to get that one or read it online (if possible of course). What was your impression of it? Did you read it?

    Thanks for this list, too. I like reading books before bed, relaxes the brain.

    1. No I haven’t read it yet. I’ve never read any of his books, I’m thinking of starting with “Norwegian Wood”.

  13. I will get a copy of IQ84-I had not heard of it until this blog…according to Amazon it was a runnaway bestseller in Japan and was likened to a parallel universe version of George Orwell’s 1984….thanks for the list

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