Okay, I wasn’t going to do this, but I did. My local bookstore, Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers, posted their Top 12 of 2011, then solicited responses from those of us on the mailing list. I figured what the hell. Here’s what I sent them. . . .
These are 11 books that came out in 2011 that I loved; the order they are in just happens to be the order in which I read them. I loved them all! I thought there’d be more nonfiction in the list, but discovered most of my favorite nonfiction reads came out in 2010.
1) The President’s Vampire: A Novel, by Christopher Farnsworth. Blood sucking fun and espionage.
2) Badass, The Birth of a Legend: Spine-Crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned, by Ben Thompson. The title alone says it all. If this doesn’t make you want to blow the dust off your D&D books, then, god help you, nothing will.
3) Once Upon a River: A Novel, by Bonnie Jo Campbell. My most anticipated book of the year. It didn’t disappoint.
4) Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead: A Novel, by Sara Gran. “I hope my sad little novel doesn’t ruin your trip,” Sara wrote me via Twitter when I mentioned I was reading it on my way to the city where it is set, New Orleans. It didn’t.
5) The Adjustment: A Novel, by Scott Phillips. Phillips is a twisted noir/crime writer who never missteps. I’d like to kick his ass for that.
6) Southern Gods: A Novel, by John Hornor Jacobs. Excellent debut. Looking forward to more.
7) Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents. Travel/Memoir, by Elisabeth Eaves. Travel writing needs more bold women speaking truth and honesty.
8) The Wrong Thing: A Novel, by Barry Graham. Violent. Sad. Compelling.
9) My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself. Memoir, by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson. A fun, and sweet, read that launches, sort of, right out of Missoula.
10) How the Mistakes Were Made: A Novel, by Tyler McMahon. Opens in the late, great Jay’s Upstairs, gets even better from there.
11) Fun & Games: A Novel, by Duane Swierczynski. Swiercy is the best there is at what he does. What he does is write fantastic, high octane thrillers just a little off of center.
Can’t miss with any of these, if you ask me.