It’s that time of year when the favorites lists start appearing! Instead of splitting my 2011 reads up by genre, I thought I’d pick favorites in each medium: print and audio. I chose a top ten plus a runner-up for each type. I’ll share my print list today. Stop back tomorrow to see which audiobooks I picked!
Runner-up: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
I read this one for a recent book group meeting after hearing about it for years. I started out skeptical of a novel about Jesuits and life on other planets but ended up finding it quite beautiful.
#10: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
I’d eagerly awaited Hillary Jordan’s next novel from the moment I finished her first book, Mudbound, a few years ago. This slightly futuristic dystopian did not disappoint and even inspired me to pick up Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, on which the former draws.
#9: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Who knows how I managed to make it this far in life without learning the plot of Jane Eyre? I’m glad I didn’t. I read Bronte’s classic for the first time this year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
#8: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My first exposure to Kingsolver’s fiction, The Poisonwood Bible blew me away with its distinct narrative voices telling different sides of a story about a missionary family in Africa. It’s the first of several Reading Buddies picks on my top 10 list.
#7: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Another Reading Buddies pick! When reading Cutting for Stone, I kept forgetting I was reading a novel, caught up in the story of twin boys growing up in Ethiopia told within its pages.
#6: The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer
This quirkily clever debut novel delighted me to no end. But then, what else would you expect from a story about a corporate drone turned decorative hermit?
#5: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I had been meaning to read this novel for years and am so glad Reading Buddies got me to finally pick it up. A beautiful and heartbreaking and touching book that skillfully handles the tragedy of 9/11 through the eyes of an extraordinary child.
#4: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This charming fictional diary of an aspiring young writer captured my heart from its first pages and held me rapt throughout. It was one of the first classics I can say I really loved.
#3: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
I wouldn’t have tackled this beloved mystery without the push of Reading Buddies, but I’m so glad I did. Another classic I ended up loving, and a new author for me to explore!
#2: The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
My introduction to Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men both entertained me and made me think. I love the way Ness creates such complex and multifaceted characters, erasing the lines between good and evil and keeping readers on their toes.
#1: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I would have to say this book club selection is my current favorite book. I adored its clever construction and wide variety of styles and voices. It’s one I know I’ll read again, and Mitchell is an author I very much look forward to revisiting!
What were some of your favorite 2011 reads?