The Best 11 Books of 2011
I am proud to say I read 75 books in 2011. It was an eclectic mix of Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Literature, World Lit, Nonfiction, Memoir and more. I love to read and enjoy reading across different genres. I belong to three different book clubs, read and promote local authors, and enjoy reading from a list. My bookshelves are currently at capacity and I just got an ereader to fill. So choosing only 11 books to highlight for 2011 was difficult. The following books I read in 2011, they were not necessarily published in 2011. Each book was reviewed by me in 2011 and each book cover has a link so you can connect and purchase it off Amazon if you wish. They are in no particular order.
1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. These three books occupied my mind and brought me heart stopping entertainment. I couldn't stop reading them. I read at stoplights, in the copy room, the bathroom, and everywhere in between. My 13 year old son has deemed them his favorites and we are both eagerly awaiting the first movie in March 2012.
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is an amazing book about the cells of a woman named Henrietta Lacks. All of us owe a huge debt to this woman who, unbeknownst to her, is responsible for amazing medical advances. I seriously learned a lot from this book and recommend it often.
3. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann. I read this book while on my trip in New York City. It is about the man who walked between the two towers on a tightrope and about New York and its people, attitudes, neighborhoods and the tragedy of 9/11. Words cannot describe how good this book is.
4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This story has lived on in my mind. Sepetys got me to think about a part of World War II that I didn't know about. The Baltic States, of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, were in the middle of two evil giants (USSR and Germany) trying to conquer the innocent people there. So powerful, moving and utterly beautiful.
5. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine. I read this book aloud to one of my ninth grade World Studies classes and it changed my class, from wild and crazy to a group that wanted me to read the whole hour. This book is about a young girl sold by her father in India into sexual slavery. It is really realistic of what is happening in India today and I highly recommend it. We need to help these young girls escape and we must educate ourselves to help them. This is an important story that everyone should read.
6. Roots by Alex Haley. I think this should be required reading for every American citizen. Roots chronicles the journey of Kunta Kinte from free man to captured slave. Alex Haley researched his family tree and traces his roots through the stories of the people found with the pages of this African American saga. It is about 900 pages and I spent some of my summer reading it. It is well worth your time and energy. Don't forget about the movie either!
7. Crazy by Han Nolan. This is probably one of the most unique, creative books I read all year. It is told by 5 different voices inside the head of one young man who believes he is crazy. The reader also has a voice in the drama. What more can I say? It is an awesome book and you need to put in on your radar for a future read.
8. Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield. This book is told from the point of view of a child in Afghanistan after 9/11. I liked the uniqueness of the story and the fact that it explores many different points of view. Afghanistan is a complicated place with a complicated history and Busfield incorporates an understanding of the country I didn't have before I read the book.
9. Sugar Changed the World: A story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science by Marc Aronson. Another great book that taught me about the power sugar held on the world and how it is really responsible for the massive need for African slaves. 96% of slaves were needed to produce sugar for the world. Very interesting, informative and entertaining. I love it when a book teaches me something and this book taught me a lot.
10. The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo by Tom Feeling. It took the author 20 years to create the story board and artwork for this amazing book. It is wordless but speaks volumes. Utterly Powerful!
11. Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. Alexie is a great writer and if you haven't read any of his books, Reservation Blues is a good place to start. The story is gritty, full of the blues, music, Native American mysticism, and life. It is will make you want to sing, cry, laugh and read all of Alexie's books.
There you have it, the top 11 of 2011. What are the best books you read in 2011? Have you read any of the books on my list?
Have a great 2012!