Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Reading

This was somewhat of an usual year in reading for me. I read about twenty fewer books than I have in the past three or four years, which I attribute to a combination of being busy at work, starting several books that I did not finish, and subscribing to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, which occupy my commuting time that, in previous years, was spent reading books. Also, I finished 2010 in the middle of three or four different books, including the bookstop Infinite Jest (not included on any of the below lists because I read most of it in 2010) and it took me most of January to finish them. Still, I read some great stuff this year. These are the most noteworthy books. I would like to thank my friend and blogmigo Ellen W_______, of the excellent literary blog Wormbook, whose idea I am totally ripping off here.

BEST FICTIONA VISIT FROM THE GOOD SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan
PYM, by Mat Johnson
FATHER OF THE RAIN, by Lily King
NETHERLAND, by Joseph O'Neill
THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE, by Haruki Murakami
TRUE GRIT, by Charles Portis
THE TIGER'S WIFE, by Tea Obrecht
THE MAGICIANS and THE MAGICIAN KING, by Lev Grossman

BEST NON-FICTION
ALL THINGS SHINING, by Herbert L. Dreyfuss and Sean Dorrance Kelly
OUT OF THE VINYL DEEPS, by Ellen Willis

BEST MEMOIR
THE LONG GOODBYE, by Meghan O'Rourke
LIFE, by Keith Richards
BALL FOUR, by Jim Bouton
BOSSYPANTS, by Tina Fey

Most Dated Novel Widely Considered To Be A Classic
THE MOVIEGOER, by Walker Percy

Best Novels To Be Overshadowed, Unfortunately, by Their Film Adaptations
TRUE GRIT, by Charles Portis
THE BIG SLEEP, by Raylond Chandler

Best Novel By First-Time Novelist Whose Future Books I Eagerly Await
SWAMPLANDIA!, by Karen Russell
THE ADULTS, by Alison Espach

Best Essays
PULPHEAD, by John Jerimiah Sullivan (Full disclosure: not yet finished)
DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE, by David Rakoff

Best Genreless Book By Famous Humorists
THAT IS ALL, by John Hodgman
ZOMBIE SPACESHIP WASTELAND, by Patton Oswalt

Best Short Stories
THE ANGEL ESMERELDA, by Don DeLillo
LIKE LIFE, by Lorrie Moore

Best Endings
THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE, by Haruki Murakami

Books Published in 2011 I Am Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2012
THE ART OF FIELDING, by Chad Harbach
PULPHEAD, by John Jerimiah Sullivan
THE LEFTOVERS, by Tom Perrotta
BLUE NIGHTS, by Joan Didion

ONE LAST THING --

I started Roberto Bolano's 2666 this summer, and really enjoyed it, but it is very long, and work got spectacularly busy this fall, and long story short I kind of lost my momentum in it and never picked it up again. But its real

3 comments:

8yearoldsdude said...

I also didn't much like The Moviegoer and felt weird about that because it was supposed to be A Classic.

And not to be a hater, but Swamplandia! is Karen Russell's second novel. She wrote Aunt Someome's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves.

Wade Garrett said...

8yearoldsdude - St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised by Wolves is a short story collection, not a novel. It usually takes me a long time to get through short story collections, but, from what I've read of it, it is really good.

8yearoldsdude said...

word. I stand corrected.