Favorite Books of 2011

Now that the year is winding down, it was fun for me to take a look and see which books lasted as my top picks. (Or maybe I saw that MBC just did this and thought, "Huh. Good idea!") Anyway, in no particular order, here they are!

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. I've already talked about this one, but it's great. I got a copy for Christmas and can't wait to try out some of her recipes. And to read about the goats and the bobcats again.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. by Barbara Demick. If you are like me and know hardly anything about North Korea, this book will just kill you and you won't be able to put it down. When you do put it down, it will be to tell someone what you just read.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Alice blacks out at the gym and forgets the last ten years of her life. The last thing she remembers is being a happy, pregnant newlywed. Now people are telling her she's a stressed-out, soon-to-be-divorced mother of three. The author takes a somewhat soapy premise and does some wonderful, thought-provoking things with it.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. It's illustrated in the same style as his Invention of Hugo Cabret, so despite being a fat book it's a quick read. I dare you not to be sniffling at the end.

Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. Loved this--it's real letters from a woman who left her job doing laundry in Denver in the early 1900s and headed west with her young daughter to try homesteading. This lady was hard core. And! You can get the Kindle edition for free. So there you go.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. The language may not be for everyone, but man. I listened to the audiobook and within the first 30 minutes was crying and laughing out loud. How many books can do that?

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer. Just before the eight shelves of Twilight books begin, you'll find this series. Read Book #1 and I can almost guarantee you'll read another. An orphaned London street urchin disguises herself as a boy and joins the British navy as a ship's boy. It's like Horatio Hornblower but with a cheeky cross-dressing girl as the hero.

Anybody else read any of these? Agree or disagree with my vote? Feel free to toss in some of your top picks in the comments so I can add them to my "to read" list in Goodreads!


Bridget said... [reply]

I LOVED Nothing to Envy.

I really didn't like Bloody Jack. It reminded me of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, except creepy and pedophile-y and rape-y. Just didn't sit well with me.

I really want to read Make the Bread. Thanks for this list!

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

These are my favorite posts of the year!!!

I just downloaded "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" onto my (NEW!) Kindle. I'm so excited!

beckyww said... [reply]

"Empire of the Summer Moon" was the best I read this year. Now reading "Destiny of the Republic" and it's very good, too.

Ann-Marie said... [reply]

I loved "Divergent" by Veronica Roth!

Jenny said... [reply]

I am still thinking about what Alice forgot months later. Possibly because I am 29.

I really liked Divergent also. You'd like it. And blood red road by Moira Kelly was a really well written YA dystopian novel.

And the two newest Flavia de Luce were the best ones yet, If I stay by Gayle Foreman, and Keturah and lord death.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I loved 'Make the Bread, Buy the Butter'. I've made the bagels, wiener wraps and the bread. The wiener wraps were tasty. The bagels and bread were delicious. Mostly I love her clever writing.


abby said... [reply]

If you like memoir, you might like The Latehomecoming by Kao Kalia Yang. It's beautiful writing and it is fascinating to learn about the Hmong experience in America.

Janssen said... [reply]

I've listened to all but the latest Bloody Jack books. . . .I can't stop listening (the narration is AMAZING) even though they keep getting more absurd.

Unbroken is SO good. . .you must read it.

Cherie said... [reply]

Just finished "Bloody Jack" on your recommendation--loved it! Will probably read another, although I'm not sure I'll make it through the entire series.

Last year I really loved "Moon Over Manifest," "Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night," and "Crossing to Safety." I don't know where Wallace Stegner has been my entire life; I can hardly believe I'm just discovering his writing in my early 30s!

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