Favorite Books of 2011

Best YA and Middle Grade

  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
    A brilliant novel about a German girl during World War II. Interesting fact: It’s narrated by Death. The second of Zusak’s books I’ve read and loved.
  • Because of Mr. Terupt, by Rob Buyea
    One of the best books, YA or otherwise, I’ve read in a long time. About a fifth-grade class that goes through some pretty big changes when there’s a tragedy in their class.
  • Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt
    Sequel to The Wednesday Wars, though it isn’t necessary to have read the first. Both so, so wonderful.
  • I am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
    A surprisingly unique plot. Audiobooks usually take me a long time because I only listen while I’m driving, but I was so into this one that I kept finding times to listen until I finished, less than a day after I started.
  • For the Win, by Cory Doctorow
    Par for the Cory Doctorow course: thrilling story, cast of technological teen prodigies, rebellion against the corrupt establishment, terrifying semi-futuristic plotlines that don’t sound all that futuristic, and the occasional surprisingly-understandable explanation of concepts that are otherwise really hard for me.

Best Nonfiction

Best Adult Fiction

  • Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See
    Amazing sequel to Shanghai Girls; takes place in newly-Communist China.
  • Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
    My favorite Haruki Murakami so far. Beautiful writing, beautiful characters. One of my very favorite books.
  • Chocolat, by Joanne Harris
    The book on which the movie was based. I love them both deeply.
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski
    Not my usual fare, and therefore all the more wonderful because of the surprise. About a boy born mute (but not deaf) into a family that breeds a very special kind of dog. Based on a certain play by Shakespeare.
  • Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson
    Good old Brandon Sanderson; you really can’t go wrong with him if you’re even the tiniest bit interested in the fantasy genre.
  • Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
    I seem to have had a stronger reaction to this book than most of the other people I know who’ve read it, but I don’t know why. It’s a gorgeous book based on the Lima Crisis of 1996-7; a really fascinating story.
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