Top Ten Books Read In 2011 - Top Ten Tuesday

Hard to believe that the end of 2011 is drawing rapidly to a close and that 2012 is right around the corner.  And scrolling through the books that I have reviewed over the past 12 months, I am really shocked at the amount I have read over the past year and also the quality of books that I have read.  So here are my top ten books that I have read over the past year.

1. Unbroken: a World War II story of a survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand : This was my absolute favourite novel of 2011 and I seemed to have compared all my books with this one, including the fiction novels.  The book was so engrossing that I did return the book as an overdue and didn't regret that I did.   At times it felt as though you were in the story yourself and I found myself routing for Louie and the other guy on his plane that survived, hoping that they would both surviving in the end.  It was so good that by the end that I was sobbing.

2. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson : This book was a very close second, especially since that the storytelling was just as strong and I did find myself routing for the three main characters that Isabel followed over the course of the book.  The writing was phenomenal and it was very apparent that Wilkerson had spent a number of years researching and working on the book; I can't imagine the notes that she had to go through in order to be able to even start writing the book!

3. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill : I honestly don't know how I missed this book when it first came out about 4 years ago, but somehow I did.  I guess the hype about Harry Potter had something to do with that.  It took my book club to get me to read the book and I found that I didn't really care that the book was almost 500 pages and in fact felt that the book was actually about half that length as the writing was truly amazing and allowed me to engross myself in Aminata Diallo's life as she moved from Africa to the United States to Nova Scotia back to Africa and eventually to England.  Her story was so amazing that I really did think that she was a real person and who knows, maybe she was based on an African woman or a series of women who made that trek.

4. Room by Emma Donoghue : This was by far the best piece of fiction that I read this past year and possibly the only book that I was able to get really engrossed in the book, other than the Harry Potter books that I have been reading over the past year.  I guess the Jessie Dugard story that emerged not long after the book was released made the book even more real and one had to pinch oneself that while this book was a piece of fiction and not inspired by a real story, even though it seemed it had been.

5. Juliet : a novel by Anne Fortier : I really like the tale by Shakespeare and so I was kinda unsure at first what to think of the book and read it in fits and starts, but once I was able to get going in the book, I was really into it and was unable to put it down.  I liked how the story went from the modern world to the Renaissance world and then back to the modern world very seamlessly and it seemed to flow perfectly and how the author told the story made total sense and very enjoyable.

6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot :  This was the book that made me think this past year and since I have read it, I have really started to think why doctors would do what they did in the first place and it makes my skin crawl about what happened and it definitely lived up to the hype that I have heard about the book.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels by Libba Bray : I really liked these two books and while I haven't read the final book in the trilogy, I can definitely see why its popular with readers and why it continues to be so with YA readers.

8. The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly : I discovered this series this past summer and finished it shortly after the final book in the trilogy was published this past August.  And once I got into the books, I rarely had a moment of why am I reading this and grudgingly read on, but rather I was spending many long nights reading them as I frantically read the books wondering what was happening to the Flannigan clan in their various pursuits.  When examining the bibliography that Donnelly had amassed over the course of the three books, I can see why I was so engrossed in each of the novels.  In other words, she did her research to make sure that books were as accurate as she could possibly make them.

9. True Grit by Charles Portis : I didn't expect to like this particular book, as I don't normally read westerns and due to that I had my preconceived notions of what the book was going to follow.  But seeing the movie adaptation of the book by the Cohen brothers about a year ago, didn't hurt either.

10. Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton : One of the best biographies/memoirs that I read this year.  At times, I could literally taste the food that was being cooked/made and made me want to go to Prune and sample some of the food, which I imagine is just as good as I think it must taste, but I don't want to go and get my hopes up, least I find myself there eating there sometime in the future.

Honorable mentions:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady: a novel by Elizabeth Stuckey-French


Your book has some yummy-sounding books on it. I should just write them all down and start at the top of the list and work down.

Please take a look at my new challenge to read the ALA YA Book Award winners for 2012.

Toni D. said…
Room is on my list as well... I just felt so astounded after reading it.
Anne said…
I really enjoyed Juliet and The Tea Rose too, great picks.
Loved Warmth and Room and Unbroken, so I should probably just go ahead and add everything on your list to my wishlist!

Here's my Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011.

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