2011 Favorites

So I’ve read 41 books this year. Some good, some bad. Here’s a list of my favorites. I haven’t written reviews of all of them (yet) but for each book, I’ve written a reason for why it’s one of this year’s favorites. And I’ve linked to the review I have written. So in no particular order, my best reads of 2011.

Fiction

  • A.S. Byatt: The Children’s Book: This was the first book I read this year and it was a good start to the year. It was my first Byatt and I loved it. Byatt might make it onto the favorite author list one day! Especially since this is apparently isn’t one of her best books if I am to trust other reviewers and bloggers. For me, the best part and the part I keep on remembering is what gave the book it’s name. How the mother in the family wrote a story for each child and each child had it’s special notebook, decorated so it fitted the child and the story. Loved it!
  • Charles Dickens: David Copperfield: I have a weakness for Dickens. At least I think I do. I loved this, I loved A Christmas Carol, and I loved Nicholas Nickleby when I saw it in it’s entirety in a theater some years ago. David Copperfield is an amazing book, apparently kind of self-biographical. This is the story of David Copperfield’s life, starting with his birth, and it’s good.
  • Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections: Not only did I love this book and added Franzen to my list of potential favorite authors, my review of this also made it to the Fresh Pressed page here on WordPress which makes me remember it even more fondly. What can I say? It’s an amazing book. Franzen writes so so so good and everything in the book is just perfect (almost).
  • Colum McCann: Let the Great World Spin: This one surprised me. It involves a lot of different stories, most of which cleverly connect over the marvelous feat performed by a tightrope walker, walking between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The various stories gives the impression of a huge city, where a lot of it’s inhabitants get to share an experience that in some ways can be said to define the uniqueness that is New York.
  • Orhan Pamuk: Snow: The language in this one, the way he uses snow as an image and a metaphor … This is so good. Even though he reveals parts of the story, Pamuk still keeps you hooked. This is an amazing book and it has made Pamuk one of my potential favorite authors.
  • Marcel Proust: Swans Verden 1 (På sporet af den tabte tid 1)/Swann’s Way 1 (In Search of Lost Time 1): Proust is Proust. He’s in a league of his own. I don’t know yet if it’s a league above everyone else but I know he has his own league. Some of his thoughts are so interesting. And it’s weird that an entire book about a man who has just woken up but hasn’t gotten out of bed yet, can be so interesting. I need to read on to really figure out what my thoughts on Proust exactly are.
  • Jack Vance: The Complete Lyonesse: If you like a fairytales, this is a book for you. This is a beautiful and well-written and wonderfully long fairytale with princesses, princes, magicians, kings and queens, fairies and everything else, that makes a fairytale. This is good!

Non-fiction

  • Melanie Joy: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The argumentation in this is simple: We’ve all ben indoctrinated to think that it’s all right  to eat our fellow animals but it really isn’t. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian but I hope to one day have the guts to take the step. Books like this are preaching to the choir – still, I think the argumentation in this was more sound than in lots of other books. And I loved it.

So out of 41 books, 8 got 5 stars. So close to 20% of the books I read, I gave 5 stars. Looking back now, the only one I might regret giving 5 stars, is the first volume of Proust’s Remembrance of Times Past/In Search of Lost Time. But I had a hard time figuring out what to rate it. And it’s Proust. I’ve had him on a pedestal forever so I couldn’t rate it anything else. Maybe I’ll change my thoughts about Proust as I read on.

When I look back, 2011 has felt like a really lousy year with regard to reading (and health). Still, I’m sitting here pain free, I got engaged this year (something I never thought I would be) and I did actually read some darn good books this year! So thanks for everything 2011 and see you in 2012! (Oh, and maybe I need to read a bit more non-fiction next year!)

Happy New Year!

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