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Books 2011

This was an interesting year of reading for me. While I read 46 books this year, I feel like I really didn't read that much. 10 of those books were for my English classes - one focusing on Jane Austen and the other on British novels. I read 7 that weren't fiction, which is actually a lot for me. I also started and stopped many books this year, partly because I had to return them to the library and partly because I had a lot of "not the right book at this time" experiences. In the end, I did really like most of what I read and isn't that the goal? Here are my favorites...

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway - This is my favorite novel of the year, period. It came out in 2008 and I heard about it through the Bookrageous podcast. It is inventive, full of amazing sentences, and just flat-out fantastic. It also has a big twist that I was expecting but made perfect sense. I highly recommend this novel and can't wait for Harkaway's new one, which comes out in March.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - This one was my favorite novel of 2011, just barely edging my next entry. It is an epic quest story set in a future where everyone escapes into virtual reality. The quest is to finally solve the mysteries of that virtual reality and take control of it. All of what I just wrote sounds really boring. This book is not boring. It is edge-of-you-seat reading and filled with 80s pop culture references. How could I not like it? I'm going to try to get my 14 year-old to read it in the coming year. I think he could love it as much as me. That says something.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman - I loved this novel too. I read the first book in the series, The Magicians,  when it came out 2 years ago and liked it quite a bit. This one is better. First of all, Quentin Coldwater isn't as arrogant after the events in the first book. Second, the chapters on Quentin alternate with Julia's story, which I found very gripping. Third, the ideas are great. Grossman is working on the final novel of the trilogy now, The Magician's Land. Can't wait.

The Great Frustration by Seth Fried - This is my favorite short story collection of the year. Granted, I didn't read many but even if I had I'm certain this would top the list. The stories are varied in both subject and in how they're told (several in first person plural). What does not vary is the quality of the writing and the humor to be found in the absurd. Highly recommended to everyone who reads (which means you).

Honorable Mentions
The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson


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