Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for our Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011.

This has been an interesting year for reading. There have been some amazing new authors, great classics and some that I know will be favorites for years to come. There are also some that I'm so glad I read, and I got so much out of, but they might not make it in the top ten, like War and Peace and Middlemarch. It's not that these aren't amazing books, it's just, there were so many great books and I'm basing this list off my personal enjoyment as well as the brilliance of the book.

1) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - I think this is my favorite Dickens so far, though Great Expectations is a close second place.

2) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - End of the world story with a huge dose of British humor. I already knew I loved Gaiman, but this book sold me on Pratchett as well.

3) Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck - The follow up to Cannery Row, this one was a lovely return to some great characters.

4) The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - Priests in space, but somehow not weird. This was one of the most surprising books of the year. It's an absolute gem.

5) Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh - So much wisdom packed into a small book. I know I'll reread this one at every new stage in life.

6) A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - Criss-crossing a dozen lives and multiple decades, it made my brain hum.

7) The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - Gothic mystery, multiple continents, English cottages, I couldn't ask for more.

8) Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi - One woman's childhood in war-torn Iran, and it's funny to boot!

9) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson / The Woman in Black by Susan Hill - I suppose this is cheating, because it's two books, but I loved them for the same reason! Both are wonderfully creepy and perfect fall reads.

10) The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - A heart-wrenching tale of a New York socialite, just beautiful.

Bonus: I don't count re-reads in my best of the year lists (usually because they made it in a top ten list from an earlier year). But I'd like to say I loved re-reading the entire Harry Potter series this year. It made me fall in love with the series all over again. The same is true for re-reading Pride & Prejudice. I'm going to make an effort to re-read a bit more next year, because I've learned I get so much more from the book each time.

19 comments:

Biblibio said...

Your comment about rereads is absolutely right - there's so much to be gained from the second time around. I normally just go back to the scenes that I particularly liked but I'm thinking I should start reading my favorite books cover-to-cover. I suspect I'll learn a lot more that way...

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have been working on my literary goals for 2012, and re-reads is on the list. I rarely do them, but a couple of them keep popping up in my head, so I figure that must be the sign. I REALLY need to read the Sparrow...

Tanya Patrice said...

Love your list - so many books that I want to read are on here - can you believe I haven't read any Gaiman yet?!

Amanda said...

I only have a top 6 this year, eek! And two of them are rereads...but I haven't read either of them since I started blogging, so I figured they were okay. :D

Allie said...

Great list!

I'm excited to read David Copperfield now, so thanks. :) That one was making me a bit nervous!

And I am glad House of Mirth made the cut. :)

gautami tripathy said...

Great choices. I am gonna add to my already LONG tbr pile!! Come check mine too:

Here is my Top Ten post!

Cat the Librarian said...

You've got a great list - I haven't read a lot of these but some of them definitely sound interesting!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Biblibio - There are so many books I want to re-read and I rarely make time to do so. I'm thinking Little Women, Sense and Sensibility and The Hobbit are all musts for this coming year.

Sandy - Definitely check out The Sparrow, and it's great on audio!

Tanya - There are so many great 1st Gaiman choices! I'd recommend starting with Stardust or The Graveyard Book.

Amanda - You had a great list and any time Jane Eyre makes a list, it's got to be good.

Allie - I know you and Dickens have a rough history together, but I think if any book can turn that around, it's probably David Copperfield.

gautami - Great list! Room made my top ten last year.

Cat - Thanks.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'd also like to add that A Monster Calls probably would have made this list if I'd read it any sooner. I just read it over the weekend and it was wonderful!

Trisha said...

Good Omens is one of the funniest books I've read in my life! So glad it made your list.

Brenna said...

Nice list! You certainly read a diverse list of books in 2011. I'd like to read The House of Mirth soon - I've only read Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome.

Janiera said...

I've never read any of these books before. you have a really unique list!
My Top Ten

Nikki said...

I love all things John Steinbeck. Great and unique list.

~Nikki @ Imaginative Adventure

Check out my Top ten. Plus my top two favorite books giveaway!

Nymeth said...

So many books I also love in there! And many I want to read. The House of Mirth is definitely on my mental list for next year.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trisha - I laughed so hard during that one.

Brenna - Those were the first two of her's I read. I think they are good books to start with. The House of Mirth feels so much more personal.

Nikki - I've learned that Steinbeck has written some very different books and that's only made me appreciate him more.

Nymeth - I've gotten so many geat recommendations for my mental list as well!

wordsandpeace.com said...

great list! Morton's one is on my TBR for next year. here is my 2011 recap: http://wordsandpeace.com/2011/12/30/year-of-reading-2011/

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

"it made my brain hum" - lol! What could be a better compliment? Have it on the TBR and The Sparrow is on my wish-list ever since I read your review! Have a great beginning of 2012 Melissa!

Jenners said...

So glad to see Gift from the Sea on your list. I read this every few years or so and always find myself relating to it in different ways. You're so right … it is a book to revisit several times in life.

Wishing you a wonderful 2012 filled with 5 star reads!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

wordsandpeace - I'm hoping to read more from Morton this year. So good!

Alex - Happy 2012 to you too! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Sparrow.

Jenners - I think it's one of those that I will gain something new from in each new phase of life.