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Pingwing’s Top Ten Reads of 2011

My favourite books of the year!

When I started thinking about writing a post on my favourite reads of the year, I anticipated that it would be a list of maybe five books. Then I started looking back at my posts from 2011, and realized there would have to be more than five books on this list! It’s been difficult to narrow it down but I have settled on ten.

Rather than selecting a best-of [insert category here, i.e. young adult], I decided to select the ten books that I enjoyed reading the most, regardless of genre.

Mr. Pingwing asked me earlier what it is that I want from a book – do I want to laugh, be surprised, etc.? It was difficult to try to think about and then explain, but what it all boils down to for me is that I want to feel completely immersed in the book’s world. I like to read as an escape from my real life, and the books that have become my favourites, the ones that I read over and over, are ones where I can lose myself in the stories, characters, and environments. I want to feel a connection to something when I read.

I decided to leave out books that I read this year that were part of a long-running series, such as the Pretty Little Liars books, because I wanted to put together a list where someone could pick up a book I’ve listed and get reading, without having to go back and read from the beginning of a series. However, I did decide it was okay to include a book if it was the first in a series.

So with that in mind, I prepared my top ten list. Maybe something on here will stand out for you and you’ll give it a read, too.

Also, to clarify, these are not my favourite books that came out in 2011; these are my favourites of the books that I read in 2011, regardless of the year in which they were published.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton

This was my favourite read of the year. I loved the slow unravelling of the family secrets and mysteries in this novel.

2. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Reading this reminded me why I love video games and books: they are mediums where anything can happen. I had so much fun reading this book. Very entertaining!

3. Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, by Jeff Ryan

I don’t read much non-fiction, but this one intrigued me and was a really interesting look into the history of a company that provided me with many hours of fun as a kid (and even now!).

4. Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray

I love Libba Bray’s writing. This book is a very sharp satire of youth and pop culture, and I think it’s a must-read.

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

I love dystopian, post-apocalyptic stories, and this one is pretty perfect. It is the first in an amazing series.

6. The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl

I have read Pearl’s other books and loved them. This one is another of his wonderful works of historical fiction.

7. The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt

This was different from other books I read this year, and it’s a real page turner.

8. Sister: A Novel, by Rosamund Lupton

This is a very intriguing, suspenseful book. Although I’m still torn over the ending, I recommend it because I simply couldn’t put it down.

9. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver

I love the idea of reliving one day in your life over and over, and experimenting with what you could have done differently. I was hooked right away.

10. I’d Know You Anywhere, by Laura Lippman

This was thought-provoking, entertaining, and very satisfying.

So that’s it for 2011. I’m looking forward to a bunch of great new books to read in 2012! What’s on your reading list for the new year?

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