Monday, 2 January 2012

What was your best read of 2011?

Mine was the wonderful One Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
I am a long term fan of David Mitchell (that is the literary one not the budding national treasure one) and knew I would like 1,000 Autumns but was not prepared for quite how much I would love it. It is a novel about understanding, how we communicate with others who speak another language. How different cultures communicate, trade, dominate, serve, love and hate. It has a massive sweep over modern history and examines the relationship between East and West. A novel set in 1800 yet speaking to us in the 21st century.
So what did you enjoy reading in 2011? By that I mean books you read in 2011 regardless of when published.


sundancemckid said...

I loved 'The Odd Women' by George Gisseng, a fierce and funny depiction of victorian feminist london.

Janet O'Kane said...

You'll not be surprised that my top 3 for 2011 are crime-related. My book group served up MJ Hyland's 'This is How' and although it was generally well received, I don't think any of my fellow members enjoyed it as much as I did. Not a whodunit but a subtle and surprisingly touching examination of someone who commits a horrendous crime for little reason.
Second is David Jackson's 'Pariah', which has one of the best opening chapters I've ever read. Little wonder he was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. The rest of the book nips along nicely without being predictable.
Finally, just before Christmas I read my first crime novel by a Norwegian: 'Don't Look Back' by Karin Fossum. It's a deceptively simple tale with a sympathetic detective and a horrific revelation at the end that makes you want to shout 'oh no!'

Pete W said...

I read the 2 books by Khaled Hosseini "Kiterunner" and "1000 Splendid Suns" both of which were terrific and very moving.
However these were just pipped by The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas written by John Boyne from the choild's perspective which was chilling and moving and every other emotion I can think of.

Yvonne Johnston said...

The Odd Women sounds interesting. Am trying to read more classics, especially as they download freely or cheaply to my Kindle. I already had many of them in hard copy but tended to be put off by the tiny font size of most!

Well I love crime too so will check those out.

I read Boy in The Striped Pyjamas with my younger son when he was about 11. We later saw it at the cinema and, at the end, sat in stunned silence along with the rest of the audience for several minutes. Breathtakingly sad!

Anonymous said...

Hi Yvonne
My top read for this is still Ann Patchett's State of Wonder which I think has had mixed reviews but I found utterly compelling (review at
Another favourite was John Harding's Florence and Giles - unforgettable main character.
Happy New Year!

Yvonne Johnston said...

Hi Alison,
Happy New Year to you too.
I read State of Wonder quite recently. I did enjoy it but, for me, it dragged a bit in the middle. Still, it was another of those novels (of which I read several in 2011) that really got me thinking.

Tony Armstrong said...


2011 saw another tally of some 30+ books spread over hardback, paperback and Kindle (great for holidays and those impulse buys). Quite the most memorable book was Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese Set in the Ethiopia of the turbulent years of the 60's, 70's and 80's it tells the story of two surgeon brothers. The plot builds with heartbreaking intensity and the characters are so memorable.

Yvonne Johnston said...

Thanks Tony, will check that one out.