Best books read in 2011

The annual Patricia Awards
(with 2011 being the year of the YA novel)
I read 101 books this year. I was hoping to read no more than 70 and completely failed. To be fair, there were a lot of YA novels, which are quick reads. There were also a goodly number of poetry and Shakespeare plays, which are also quick reads, but suffice to say I spent a lot of time reading this year. You needn’t read as many books as I did. Instead, take a gander at the following awards and pick (or avoid) a read for yourself.
(All original reviews of these books can be found on this blog or on Goodreads)
Darn Good Concept whose ending was unfortunately bungled:
Incarceron
Catherine Fisher
Best female character I’ve encountered in years:
and
Best series to spawn 100 discussions about a variety of topics:
and
Best book by an author with my last name:
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Best novel to include a hilarious musical theater scene:
and
Most memorable main character since Owen Meany:
Will Greyson Will Greyson
John Green & David Levithen
Best book to read during the holiday season:
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Rachel Cohen & David Levithen
Book I couldn’t convince anyone else to read due to odd subject matter, but that I (and the book group) absolutely loved:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barbery
Interesting portrait about one man overcoming (and succumbing to) his upbringing:
The Last American Man
Elizabeth Gilbert
An interesting idea, a gripping read, all capped off with two perfectly awful last chapters:
My Name is Memory
Ann Brashares
The classic novel I enjoyed much more than I thought I would:
Frankenstein
Mary Shelly
Sidesplittingly funny story of exactly what the title says:
The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Good collection of poems about people and travel:
The Last Uncle
Linda Pastan
Interesting book (especially about the history of the science of diet and exercise) whose advice I would rather not follow:
Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It
Gary Taubes
The most delightful tales from anywhere this year:
Tales from Outer Suburbia
Shawn Tan
Parts 1 & 2 of what would have been an intense five part novel:
and
Most heartbreaking story of its creation:
Suite Francaise
Irene Nemirovsky
Biggest slog I should have just quit reading:
The House at Riverton
Kate Morton
Best set of poems to read when you need a bit of a laugh:
The HaHa
David Kirby
Most fun book written this year for Laura Ingalls Wilder fans:
The Wilder Life
Wendy McClure
A bit too long, with a completely unneeded side plot, but still a very good read:
The Hour I First Believed
Wally Lamb
Excellent magical realism and overall most cherished book read this year:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Aimee Bendar
Fun to read, if only for the Richard III as Rocky Horror Picture Show send-up:
The Eyere Affair
Jasper Fforde
Best reason to clear your schedule for a few days:
Freedom: A Novel
Jonathen Franzen
My two favorite British characters this year:
and
The kind of book where the five pages of setup is completely worth it for the joke’s payoff:
Freddy & Fredericka
Mark Halprin
Best languid description of landscape:
My Antonia
Willa Cather
Best audiobook to listen to while you wait out the insomnia:
A New Earth
Eckhard Tolle
Best intriguing plot and plot shift:
Silver Sparrow
Tayari Jones
Most delightful eleven-year-old of the year:
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly
Especially good novel to read aloud with a partner:
One Day
David Nichols
A bright bit of fun for a cold night:
13 Little Blue Envelopes
Maureen Johnson
Book that I finished, but only so I could discuss it at book group:
100 Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Best urban tale set in Canada:
Blink & Caution
Tim Wynne Jones
Book I found both heartbreaking and heartwarming:
A Place on Earth
Wendall Barry
Book I liked the best of the “Anne” series:
Anne’s House of Dreams
L.M. Montgomery
My favorite book read for the Mock Printz:
A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness/Siobhan Dowd
Incredible, wonderful, stupendous book…Until the last four words:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor
Best sci-fi historical fiction novel:
Kindred
Octavia E. Butler
Best “rough around the edges” memoir:
It’s So Easy & Other Lies
Duff McKeagan

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