The Best Books of 2011

A quick review of my reading history for the past year reveals 42 volumes have passed my purview. However, less than half (19) were published in 2011
Here are my top five along with two honorable mentions:

  1. The Tiger's Wife: A Novel by Téa Obreht: A finalist for the National Book Award, Obreht's first novel thrilled critics and consumers alike. She uses Magical Realism to relate her tale of a young doctor from the Balkans on a quest to rescue her recently deceased grandfather's belongings. I reviewed it here in May on Book Jones Review.
  2. When the Killing's Done: A Novel by T.C. Boyle: The latest Boyle novel is set mostly off the coast of Southern California on Santa Cruz island where feral pigs threaten to eradicate the island's indigenous wildlife. Read the review on BJR
  3. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard: The story behind James Abram Garfield's assassination. Millard probes the disturbed mind of assassin Charles Guiteau with sharp insight, while shedding some light on the unsanitary medical practices of the day.
  4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: Hyped as the author's magnum opus, this thousand page tome had a lot to live up to. Although Murakami's quirks - like repetition, odd dialogue, and mundane description - are an acquired taste, the novel succeeds on many levels.
  5. Faith: A Novel by Jennifer Haigh: Haigh takes on the volatile issue of child abuse in the Catholic church. The author uses unreliable narration to tell the sad tale of the McCanns of Boston, an Irish Catholic family with a secret. Read the review on BJR here.
Honorable Mention:
  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku: Unlike many other science texts, this gem by the professor of theoretical physics and futurist, Michio Kaku Ph.D., is ultra-informative, articulate, and entertaining. I still refer to many of the book's ideas in casual conversation.
  • 11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King: Even though I am currently only about a quarter of the way through this time tripping tale, I can confidently predict another adroit and creepy offering from the master of mayhem. Besides, it made many of the major 2011 top ten lists.