Friday, December 30, 2011

A Sampling of Excellent Books from 2011

I'm unable to select the ten best or even the twenty best books read this year partly because my reading is so eclectic, so I'm just going to point out some of the best.

One of my favorite authors is Linda Gillard and I read two of her books this year, Emotional Geology and House of Silence, both of which were among my most enjoyable reads. I also loved reading books by Dorte Jakobsen this year.

I loved the characters and the plot of The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson. Couldn't decide exactly how the victim died, but had a lovely time trying.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield drew me in and I still remember vividly the characters, particularly Swan Lake, the best child character in years.

Settings drew me in in such books as Tom MacDonald's The Charlestown Connection (Boston), J. Sydney Jones' The Silence (Vienna 1900), and The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman (Berlin during Nazi takeover).

As I look at my list, I realize I didn't write down some of the books so maybe I got closer to 100 than I thought. My list says I read 71 and I'll have 72 finished by tomorrow night for sure. However, I don't see The Help, a great book.

That reminds me that I discovered many authors new to me this year. I read a mystery by Perri O'Shaughnessy which makes me very glad that a friend gave me several of their books. I also discovered C. J. Box (Cold Wind), Reginald Hill (wonderful The Woodcutter), Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear (Bone Walker), Jacqueline Winspear, Shamini Flint, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and B. Kent Anderson (Cold Glory). I'll be following these authors in 2012.

Finally, I reread Jane Eyre with a new appreciation thanks to my more, er, mature mind. I have plans to read many more classics in the future. Perhaps Wuthering Heights next.

I may not have read as many books as others but I definitely enjoyed my reading more this year, and I think I have blogging to thank for that. I'm looking forward to my reading and blogging in 2012.


  1. Thanks, Barbara, for mentioning my books in your end-of-year round-up.

    Good luck with the Classics. An accessible and underrated Bronte novel is Anne's TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL. A rattling good yarn!

  2. My New Year's Resolution is "E-Books: You Can Do It!" Then I can read Linda's new books. Gaaaaaaah

  3. It is hard to narrow a list of favorites down, so I know how you feel. Discovering new authors is one of the joys of blogging. Happy New Year to you and your husband.

  4. Reading new books and discovering new authors is always an exciting experience. Your reading is truly noteworthy - a great spread of genres and authors. Here's to more of the same fun in 2012!

  5. Linda, You're very welcome. You'll just have to live with the fact that you're one of my favorite authors. So there! I will try the Anne Bronte. Thanks.

    Jill, I hope you like e-books more than I do, but you know I'm hopelessly old-fashioned.

    Kathy, Thank you for the New Year's wishes.

    Kathy and Tina, I love finding new authors to read and expect to have a lot more reading fun ahead.

  6. It looks like you had a great reading year. I love to come here to see the new books and authors you've discovered. I think you concentrate on quality. Quantity isn't that important. Happy New Year to you and your husband. Happy Reading in 2012.