With 67 books gracing my reading list from 2011, I had to make a few rules to help with the choosing of my top ten: re-reads do not count; no Discworld (otherwise I’d be here forever trying to narrow down the list); and, no books in a series, unless they are a) the first book in said series, or b) function as a standalone.
So, here you have my belatedly finished list – in semi-relevant order:
Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
Steampunk. Zombies. Kick-ass characters. This book instantly made in into not only my top ten for 2011 but also my top ten – ever. I was so taken with this book that I have recommended it to numerous people, and the second novel set in this world only escaped being on the list because I didn’t want to clog it up with too many books by the same author.
Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
Fforde is easily one of my favourite authors, so the inclusion on the list of the first book in this newish trilogy is no big surprise. I admit I was a bit disappointed with the ending, feeling that maybe it was just being unnecessarily mean to the characters, but it does end a certain pessimistic realism to the story, and may even become plot relevant. Perhaps.
Chasing Odysseus – S.D Gentill
I picked up this book because it was front facing in a library display and I thought ‘I could’ve sworn ‘The Odyssey’ had nothing to do with wolves’. This particular library also has no YA section, so I originally assumed this was an ‘adult’ book, I snuck between the stacks and read the prologue and then I was hooked. In fact, I may have to write a full review at some point instead of thrusting the book randomly on people.
This is Shyness – Leanne Hall
What an unexpectedly gorgeous read. I remember being really impressed with the language use in this novel – though since it was a while ago I’m struggling to remember specifically what it was about the language use which so impressed me. I may be wrong, but I’d categorise this as magic-realism – and the quirks of the world are really fun, while the smaller details like sneaking into a bar remain real and down to earth.
Howl’s Moving Castle – Dianna Wynne Jones
I went through a huge Diana Wynne Jones faze as a kid, but Howl’s Moving Castle was never one the books which seemed to be on the shelf to read at the library. After the sad news of Jones’ passing I made sure to finally track down a copy of the book. It met, and exceeded, expectations – which were high after having seen Miyazaki’s anime adaptation of the novel. Definitely more comprehensible.
Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery
Another read prompted by a childhood obsession. Maybe it’s because I’m a redhead myself, but I was fascinated with the Anne of Green Gable movies as a child. It only occurred to me a few years ago that I’d never read the novel/s they were based on – in fact I remember being really surprised by the fact that my parents hadn’t gotten it for me at some stage. Anne’s melodrama really comes to life on the page, and I had to laugh out loud several times.
The Search for WondLa – Tony DiTerlizzi
This book is really fun, and also prompted my first video post since I was really excited about an interactive feature used in the book where-in readers can access bonus material online when they hold certain pages up to their webcam. Plus, things are always fun when universal translators are involved.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre holds the honour of being the first book read on my eReader. I was already prepared to love this book – what with Fforde’s retreatment of it, and my love of the BBC miniseries. I was slightly disappointed, because I’d already built the story up in my head, and it took so long to get past the description of Jane’s childhood – which had only been glossed over in the references and retellings. However, the novel did manage to hook me in, and despite the small glitches in my copy I enjoyed it. The novel affected in me a strong debate as to its merits. Something which leaves me thinking for so long after reading definitely deserves a place in the top ten.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
This was one of the first books I read in 2011, and thus manages to be a little vague in my memory… I do know that if I’d read Anansi Boys in the same year, that would have been on this list instead, but that’s neither here nor there. One thing I did prefer about American Gods was the extended cast of mythical figures. And the undertaker gods 😀
A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron
I had read mixed reviews about this book online, and had wanted to get it as a present so decided to give it a pre-read through the library before buying for Mum. It has made the list because it made me cry. Twice. This may be because I was tired from staying up to read it, and hormonal, but the book was better done than many others of its kind I have read.
Special Mentions/ Runners Up:
Ella Minnow Pea – Mark Dunn
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Dreadnought – Cherie Priest