In 2011, I read 42 books. This breaks down to: 27 fiction books, 7 non-fiction books, 2 graphic novels, 4 short story collections, and 2 young adult and/or juvenile literature books.
This is a list of the best books I read in 2011.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I’ve long considered this one of my all-time favourite books so was thrilled when I had the chance to re-read it in a class that I was TA’ing. Even having to mark terrible undergraduate papers on this book could not ruin it for me. Quietly heartbreaking and beautifully subtle.
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
Another book from the same class (guess the Prof and I have similar tastes). The students weren’t too in to it, but I was. A lovely story that follows protagonist Daisy Goodwill Flett from birth until death. I also read Shields’ Unless this year, which gets an honourable mention.
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
When I saw David Sedaris read at McNally Robinson, he recommended this short story collection by the awesomely named Wells Tower. When I read it a few months later, I understood why. Tower is hilarious and has a keen eye for detail. I eagerly anticipate his future releases.
Room by Emma Donoghue
After winning and being nominated for a lot of awards, this book had a lot to live up to. It did not disappoint. A weird mix of creepy and life-affirming, this page turner kept me up past my bedtime.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
David Mitchell is a superhero among writers. I mean, who else would think to tackle a subject like Danish trade with Japan in the late 18th century? And who else could make it so amazingly good? Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (a favourite of last year) is no less ambitious or amazing.
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
I guess it’s a little unfair to include this being that a) it’s another re-read, and b) Lorrie Moore is one of my absolute favourite writers. I could read this short-story collection over and over and over again. Moore’s characters are so fabulously flawed.