Reflections On The Best Books Of 2011

As 2011 comes to an end I’m finding myself stuck in a reflective and thoughtful mood. It’s the time of year for tinsel and turkey but also the time of year to think of what we’ve achieved, what we’re disappointed we haven’t achieved and what we hope to get from the coming new year. As an avid reader who surrounds myself with books I have invariably ended up musing on the books that made 2011 for me. So I thought I would jot down my thoughts here and share them all with you. 

The first book that really blew me away this year was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, I was given the book for valentine’s day and the story of fated love set to the back drop of a speculative version of England made for an interesting and emotional parody to the traditional love story. I certainly had a book hugging moment when reading Never Let Me Go, how could I not?

The next book to really grip me was Room by Emma Donoghue. The hype of this book seemed to escape me and when I was handed a copy it was with little appreciation that I began reading it. But Donoghue’s magic didn’t fail me for long and I was soon exchanging sleep for stolen hours reading this book late into the night (that sounds almost like a love affair doesn’t it?). But I really did love this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.

One Day is another book that really made my 2011 reading experience. The story is simple enough but it’s told with such a frank and honest approach that I found the novel and it’s messages deeply moving and engaging; for me the perfect reading experience.

Another book to captivate my attention and stick with me this year turned out to be Grace Williams Says It loud by Emma Henderson. How could I not be blown away by this book? Henderson shines a light on a subject that is rarely explored and does this in such a candid manner that the book is a shocking but emotional page turner that’s hard to forget.

Carrying on with the Orange Prize theme I also read and loved the debut novel Annabel. Although I will admit that my interest in the book waned towards the end overall I loved this book, I found her voice powerful and inspiring; this book is simply one of the most pleasurable books I’ve read this year.

One of my favorite books this year and one I’m not likely to forget (or shut about anytime soon) is The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly. This novel epitomizes my ideal book, secrecy, scandal, mystery and complex relations; this book ticks all the boxes and had me gripped from day one. If you haven’t read this book I’d highly recommend you do.

Colette is a writer I discovered in 2011 and her novella Gigi is a book that really stands out for me and was a pleasure to read. The glimpse of life as a society girl for Gigi in late Paris was delectable and really made a sunny day spent in Spain an extra treat.

And lastly a book I had low expectations for but loved was The Girls by Lori Lansen. It’s a story about Conjoined Twins and it’s one of those rare novels that in one breath has you crying in sorrow and in another smiling and filled with joy at the beautiful outlook on life that Lansen possesses.

So there the books that I’m most thankful to have read this year and the one’s that I wont forget. I may at some point decide to reflect on the books that really didn’t do it for me and the one’s that let me down. But what about everyone else? What books did you love this year, what would you recommend, what can you not stop talking about?

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5 thoughts on “Reflections On The Best Books Of 2011

  1. I forgot about Gigi, I’ll have to borrow that off you. So if you’re starting Fingersmith now, and perhaps finishing it in 2012 then that will be the best book of 2012 for you? I definately want to see the worst books of 2012!
    For me, the best book club book in hindsight was Annabel – like you it left me a bit disapointed with the ending but overall it was beautifully written. I read Room too this year and it was great. My other favourites were Motherless Brooklyn, Fingersmith, The L Shaped Room and Alias Grace by Margaret Attwood. My worst books – you’ve guessed it – Arundati Roy’s The God of Small Things, and perhaps A Kind of Intimacy, and French Lieutenants woman.
    What was your best of all?

    • I definitely need to lend you Gigi. I toyed with the idea of having it as a favourite book given that it’s so short but then I got so much joy from reading it. Well I’m 200 pages into Fingersmith and hoping to have it finished by the end of the year, if it carries on like this it will be making my top books of this year. I’ve just got to part 2, O my god, can’t believe what happened.

      Ha thankfully I didn’t have many bad books this year but God Of Small Things will no doubt make that list.

      I’m surprised but pleased to hear that Annabel ended up making your top list. I think it’s one those books that you appreciate more in time, when, especially when you read others books that aren’t as good.

      I want to read the L Shaped room and Motherless Brooklyn, all in good time. Mm I don’t know, at this rate Fingersmith is a contender, The Poison Tree was amazing and probably the most enjoyable. I found Room quite easy but rewarding too but then Never Let Me Go was more challenging but incredibly rewarding. Guess at the moment the last three are my top three..

      So Annabel was your best, not Fingersmith? I am surprised 🙂

      What are you looking forward to in 2012?

  2. My best books of 2011 were probably –

    Mice – Gordon Reece
    The Radleys – Matt Haig
    The Passage – Justin Cronin
    Room (I loved this book too!)
    The NIght Circus – Erin Morgensten (This is a new book and if you haven’t started reading it yet, do so now. It’s so magical and beautifully written.)

    • The Passage is on my TBR list and after reading Fleur Fishers review so is The Night Circus, thanks for the recommendation 🙂

      Room was amazing, I remember it getting a bit of slack around the time of the Orange Prize. I think people were sick of seeing/hearing about it but I can never run out of praise for it. Such an imaginative book with lots of impact. What were the worst books you read this year? Anything your really looking forward to next year?

  3. Pingback: Goodbye 2011…Hello 2012 | I hug my books

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