It’s our best of the year ~ for 2011. Yep, this list is a bit later than planned, but we had the pleasure of reading some intriguing and engaging books this past year.
So here is our list of “sparklers” for 2011. We have included the covers, our “review overviews”, and each book cover links to our full post for the book, so that you can read our extended thoughts - if so desired. Please enjoy, since it is our hope that you may find a few favorites of your own here.
Our Very Top of the List:
John’s choice: The Windup Girl ~ by Paolo Bacigalupi
Wonderful and highly imaginative, it’s a dystopian novel set in a world-gone-wrong that is both crazy and disturbingly believable. All wrapped up into a complex and many-layered story, this book was a delight to read.
Shellie’s choice: Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 ~ edited by Kevin J. Anderson
An incredible collection of short stories, novelettes, one novella, poetry and more -representing the best in the science fiction and fantasy field published in 2009. All chosen by peers from the SFWA –Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Shellie’s choice: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (in audio) ~ by Susanna Clarke; read by Simon Prebble
There is a reason why some novels win multiple awards; this historical fantasy is one example of a book that deserves all the accolades it has received. An incredible tome which is a grand meandering adventure into the historical, magical, and darkly hilarious. It is a perfect read for fall.
John’s choice: The Revisionists ~ by Thomas Mullen
An excellent and thought-provoking science fiction thriller, featuring an agent from the future who is sent back in time to ensure that cataclysmic world events are allowed to happen. His perfect future depends on near-apocalypse for today’s world.
Shellie’s choice: Willy ~ by Robert Dunbar
A disturbing and poignant coming of age story with elements of suspense and psychological terror which verges on the paranormal.
Non-Fiction | Journalistic:
John’s choice: Life ~ by Keith Richards
A fascinating, entertaining and surprisingly detailed biography of Keith Richards – the heart of the Rolling Stones.
Shellie’s choice: The Psychopath Test ~ by Jon Ronson (arc)
A darkly hilarious, and almost unbelievable journalistic journey into how “madness” is defined, recognized, and treated within western culture and the mental heath industry.
John’s choice: The Killer Angels ~ by Michael Shaara
An excellent historical fiction novel about the greatest battle of the American Civil War, told from the perspective of several of the main protagonists.
Shellie’s choice: Possession ~ by A.S. Byatt (in audio, performed by Virginia Leishman)
A multilayered award winning tale of interwoven romances. Set in two different centuries and connected ingeniously through letters and journals. It has elements which include faeries, myth, poetry, science, feminism, lgbt, and Victoriana.
John’s choice: Mr. Chartwell ~ by Rebecca Hunt (ARC edition)
A wonderfully original and entertaining debut novel that pits Winston Churchill and a humble librarian against a most unusual common enemy.
Shellie’s choice: The Inverted Forest ~ by John Dalton
A perfect summer novel for those looking for something with a bit more depth in their reading. This novel has an idyllic summer camp setting in the Ozark Mountains, where an unexpected tragedy is set in motion through a series of complicated events. It is a heart wrenching and insightful story that has a diverse and unusual set of characters.
John’s choice: The Time Machine ~ by H. G. Wells (1895)
An old science fiction classic that still lives up to its reputation; a delightful read and a trend-setter that was published 100 years before anyone ever dreamt up “steampunk”.
Shellie’s choice: Wuthering Heights ~ by Emily Brontë
A classic masterpiece that is an incredible work of horrific and tragic fiction. It is a shocking “page turner” that I could not put down.
John’s choice: The Map of Time ~ by Felix J. Palma
A complex multi-layered historical fantasy that weaves real characters with fictitious ones in a story about time travel and the effects of changing history – with H. G. Wells as the central character.
Shellie’s choice: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine ~ by Alina Bronsky (translator Tim Mohr)
A dark modern fable translated from German. It is a literary novel that is tragic and blackly humorous, told by a narrator who is definitely misguided and “unreliable”.
Other links of related interest:
We are looking forward to our best reads for 2012. It’s always exciting since you never know which books we will uncover (no pun intended).
Thanks for reading.