At this point, we’ve all read the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2011 list. But if you’re anything like me, you’re still catching up on the bestsellers from the previous two to three years, after everyone’s told you a thousand times “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS.”
That being said, I’ve compiled my own “Best” list for 2011, which includes nothing published in 2011. It’s a list of the best books I’ve read this year, regardless of when they came out. I hope you enjoy!
10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Meant to be Franzen’s comeback novel after his beloved bestseller The Corrections, Freedom didn’t get quite the same recognition. But I found this story of a troubled Midwestern woman and her relationships with her husband, children, and former lover a mess of a good time. Get it now.
9. Ice Bound by Jerri Neilsen. Based on a true story, Dr. Neilsen performed surgery on herself after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the South Pole. The story is so absurd, it can’t be fiction. Her bravery is just as captivating as the story itself. Get it now.
8. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. When two Chinese girls are sold to an American man in the 1930s, their lives can’t possibly get any worse. But it does. Reading about these two women and the ways they move on with their lives after all they’ve been through is mind-blowing. Get it now.
7. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. It’s the second book in the Millenium series, but it’s also the best. It moves the quickest, as we rush to learn as much as we can about this mysterious, troubled computer hacker and the past she can’t seem to leave behind. Get it now.
6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It’s a story similar to Columbine. A high school student goes on a shooting spree that kills and injures dozens. But the way the truth unfolds through the trial thereafter is told in the only way Jodi Picoult can: brilliantly. Get it now.
5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. When you hear romance and animal cruelty are the two components for a bestseller, you might wonder what planet you’re living on. But Gruen makes it work here as the fight to keep a beloved animal alive is shared by two circus member soul mates. Get it now.
4. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. In typical Dan Brown fashion, Robert Langdon goes on yet another mythological, artsy, and religious adventure in a thriving metropolis. But the formula works, as we watch Langdon discover the secrets of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Get it now.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. If you haven’t read this story about a white Southern girl and her mission to write a book about the black help in the 1960’s, you really are missing out. Two maids and one brave white aspiring author detail their personal journeys in this inspiring novel. Get it now.
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. In a post-apocalyptic world, teenagers are forced to fight each other in an Olympic-style survival game until only one remains alive. It’s dark and twisted, but it sure is fun. It’s also impossible to put down. Get it now.
1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. One of the classics of our time, Edith Wharton uses high society New York City in the 1870’s not only as a setting, but as a character in this romance novel. It not only leaves us wondering how much or how little things have changed since then, but also has us wishing we were alive in those times. Get it now.
And in case you were wondering, here’s a complete list of all the books I’ve read in 2011.
Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
Eclipse – Stephanie Myers
Breaking Dawn – Stephanie Myers
L.A. Candy – Lauren Conrad
The Girl Who Played with Fire – Steig Larsson
Sweet Little Lies – Lauren Conrad
Sugar and Spice – Lauren Conrad
For One More Day – Mitch Albom
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Next – Steig Larsson
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
One Day – David Nicholls
Painted Ladies – Robert B. Parker
The Red Scorpion – Ed Newman
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
Ice Bound – Jerri Neilsen
The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
Little Bee – Chris Cleave
The Prodigal Hour – Will Entrekin
Dear John – Nicholas Sparks
Boom! – Tom Brokaw (abridgement)
The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
Shanghai Girls – Lisa See
Lethal Circuit – Lars Guignard
What were your favorite reads this year.? I’m always looking for new books to add to my list! See ya’ in 2012!