2011: The Favourites

Reading more books each year is all well and good but it does make choosing only a handful of favourites more difficult. I make no claims to these being anything other than my personal favourites because their characters, stories and surprises lingered in my mind long after I’d closed the back cover. They are the books that have wormed their way into my memory, my dreams and those conversations which start “I’ve got this book that you have to read….” As always I am eternally grateful to their writers (and translators, editors and all the rest who helped produce each novel) for the enjoyment provided.

1. I knew when I read it that Catherine O’Flynn’s WHAT WAS LOST was, for me, something special and I am still besotted by the characters and their various losses.

2. Y.A. Erskine’s THE BROTHERHOOD would, in any other year, have been my top pick. So chuffed to see such great things from a new Australian woman writer (the Y stands for Yvette).

Rounding out the top ten in no particular order are

  • Christopher Brookmyre, PANDAEMONIUM, a horror story that made me laugh and fall in love with a bunch of teenagers
  • Geraldine Brooks CALEB’S CROSSING, an evocative and gentle tale of 1600’s America
  • Reginald Hill’s THE WOODCUTTER, pure storytelling at its finest
  • Kathryn Fox’s DEATH MASK tackled a difficult subject with sensitivity and insight, things that shouldn’t be nearly so rare
  • Tom Franklin’s CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER was that all too unusual a thing: a book which lived up to its hype and then some
  • Adrian Hyland’s KINGLAKE-350 tells the story of a horrific, disastrous day in Australia’s recent history without judgement or sensationalism
  • Asa Larsson’s UNTIL THY WRATH BE PAST is a beautifully told story about the dangers of hanging on to the past
  • Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström BOX 21, a brutal but brilliant book that made me angry for a long time
  • Johan Theorin, THE QUARRY, intriguing and displaying a full gamut of human emotions
  • Domingo Villar, WATER-BLUE EYES, equal parts beauty and humour with a dash of brevity, a delicious book
Lest you think I can’t count I do realise that’s more than 10 books. But I didn’t fancy culling any further. It’s my blog and I’ll fudge the figures if I want to 😉

There were many books clamouring for a spot in thefavourites list and it would be rude not to mention them too.

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9 Responses to 2011: The Favourites

  1. Kathy D. says:

    Very good list. Will print it out and either get out of the library or purchase many of them. When I read What Was Lost a few years ago, I liked it very much and it stayed with me for a long time. The Brotherhood — am waiting for it to get here from Britain. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was in my top 5 for the year, and I certainly include Asa Larsson’s book in my top 10. I would put Outrage up there, as I love Indridason’s writing I’ve read about 10 of your next batch and liked all of them; this is reminding me to get on the case about obtaining many of the others.
    About Mercy, a friend just read it, said it kept her up all night and gave her nightmares, but then she asked, “When is Adler-Olsen’s next book coming to the States”? I liked Howell’s Cold Justice, and look forward to more by her. I wish I had just read Mina’s Exile; maybe I will reread this trilogy, although there is so much that’s new to read.
    Just finished V is for Vengeance, and feel a possible post-good-book slump developing, but am quickly looking for a new book.
    Have a great year of books, and look forward to the blogs and reviews, which are so appreciated.

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  2. The only one I’ve read from your list was Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter –which i enjoyed. Great List (I need to look some of them up).

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  3. Bernadette – You really have chosen some excellent, top-notch reads! I haven’t read all of them, but of the one’s I’ve read, I can see why they stayed with you like that. And if you want to choose more than ten, why not? Far better I think than trying to come with ten after having read a lot of disappointing books!

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  4. Barbara says:

    There is one book on your list I particularly agree with: Reginald Hill’s The Woodcutter. That one had me on the edge of my seat and I got absolutely nothing else done while I read it.

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  5. Maxine says:

    I’ve read seven on your “best of the best” list and I agree completely. I, too, absolutely loved What Was Lost. I’ve only just (yesterday) finished Kinglake-350 thanks to an Amazon promotion, and agree it is marvellous, I expect it to be on my top list for 2012 even though it is only 4 Jan so far!

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  6. Oh no! Something that looks like a top-100 of brilliant books! And I have only read 12 or so of them. This is so not fair, Bernadette, don´t you know my shelves are bursting already 😦

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  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s a lot of books that were pretty good reads! Sign of a good year!

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  8. Marg says:

    Well damn. That comment was from me!

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