2011 Book List There were so many books that I thoroughly enjoyed this year; this is that list. Still it is a partial list, as ones I would recommend (I don't include any others that just didn't do it for me). The ones labelled ** are those that I categorise as YOU MUST READ THIS; * are the excellent reads. Those were the ones instantly recalled when I set to write the list (I am always asked for the 10 best, or the 50 best...) I made a New Years Resolution list, which included the statement "I will read no more than 4 books a week." Then someone pointed out "BUT Helen, that is still over 200 books a year!" Well, sleep is for amateurs, or when you are dead, or both. Enjoy Non Fiction *Elizabeth Tora Bailey. The sound of the wild snails eating James Buchan Frozen Desire: meaning of money Andre Dubus III Townie: A Memoir Thomas Friedman. That Used to be US Marjorie B. Garber The use and abuse of literature Lori Gottlieb Marry him : the case for settling for Mr. Good Enough **Adam Gopnick Winter: windows on five seasons, *Adam Gopnick Table comes first (France Family and the meaning of food) **Andrew Greig. The Loch of the Green Corrie Simon Loxley The Secret history of Letters Edward Hoagland Sex and the River Styx **Tony Horwitz. Midnight Rising: John Brown Victoria Golden McMains (2000) The Readers’ Choice: 200 bookclub favorites **David McCullough The greater journey : Americans in Paris John McPhee Silk parachute Frank Muir An irreverent and thoroughly incomplete social history of almost everything Frank Muir Oxford book of humorous prose: from William Caxton to P.G.Wodehouse: a conducted tour Adam Nicolson Seamanship : a voyage along the wild coasts of the British Isles Adam Nicolson.God's secretaries: the making of the King James Bible Adam Nicolson Sea Room: an island life in the Hebrides Jane and Michael Stern 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and Best Places to Eat Them Susan Allen Toth. England for all Seasons Anna Pavord Plant partners David L. Ulin.The lost art of reading : why books matter in a distracted time Simon Winchester The Alice behind Wonderland, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles Jehanne Wake Sisters of Fortune *Jonathan Yardley. Second Reading 30 books on the global climate change (McKibben, King, etc) 100 banned books
Fiction-Mysteries Kate Atkinson Started early, took my dog Jean M. Auel The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children Series, Book 6 Gil Adamson Help me, Jacques Cousteau Stephanie Barron Jane and the Canterbury Tales *Simon Becket The Calling of the Grave *John Connolly The Burning Soul Laurence Cosse A Novel Bookstore Sara Donati The endless forest Nicholas Drayson Confessing a murder Gerald Elias Danse Macabre Dick / Felix Francis Gamble Susan Fraser King Queen Hereafter Elly Griffiths The Janus stone Martha Grimes Fadeaway child **Deborah Harkness A Discovery of Witches C.S. Harris.Where shadows dance **Susan Hill The Betrayal of Trust Claude Izner ; translated by Isabel Reid Murder on the Eiffel Tower . Claude Izner ; translated by Isabel Reid. The disappearance at Pere-Lachaise : a Victor Legris mystery Judith Koll Healey The Canterbury Papers (04), Rebel Heiress (09) *Laurie R King. Touchstone, Mary Russell series (Mrs Sherlock Holmes) Michael Koryta So cold the river, The ridge Archer Mayor Tag Man Sharyn McCrumb The Ballad of Tom Dooley Larry Millett The Magic Bullett **Tawni O'Dell. Fragile beasts Brigid Pasulka A long, long time ago and essentially true Anne Perry Acceptable Loss, A christmas homecoming Deanna Raybourn The dead travel fast, Dark Road to Darjeeling *Mary Doria Russell Doc C.J. Sansom Heartstone Alexander Mccall Smith The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party Book 12 *Julia Stuart The tower, the zoo, and the tortoise Andrew Taylor The Anatomy of Ghosts **Charles Todd A Lonely Death, Bitter Truth *Nicola Upson. Angel with two face/Two for Sorrow featuring Josephine Tey Jill Paton Walsh Attenbury Emeralds Wendy Webb Tale of Halcyon Crane **Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs Series!
Literature Louis Bayard The school of night **Lauren Belfer A Fierce Radiance *Vanora Bennett The People’s Queen (Chaucer) Chris Bojahlan (all) *Geraldine Brooks Caleb’s Crossing Eleanor Brown Weird Sisters **PD James Death comes to Pemberley Sandor Marai Esther's inheritance; translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes. Sander Marai Portraits of a Marriage Steve Martin An Object of Desire David Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet Kamala Nair The Girl in the Garden *Robin Oliveira My Name is Mary Sutter Felix Palma Map of Time **James Robertson And the Land Lay Still *Mary Doria Russell Doc *Alexander McCall Smith The Forgotten affairs of Youth P. G. Wodehouse My Man Jeeves
Biography Judy Collins Sweet Judy Blue Eyes Elizabeth Chadwick The Greatest Knight (3 vols) Amy Krouse Rosenthal Encyclopedia Of An Ordinary Life A.A. Gill The Angry Island: hunting the English A.A. Gill Previous Convictions: assignments from here and there; AA Gill is Away *Gregory Maguire Making mischief : a Maurice Sendak appreciation **Tony Horwitz: Midnight Rising: John Brown *Simon Winchester The Alice behind Wonderland
Romance Diana Gabaldon The Scottish Prisoner Jayne Ann Krentz Arcane In Too Deep Amanda Quick Quicksilver Stephanie Laurens Earl of Glencrae Christina Dodd Taken by a Prince, Bella Terra Madelaine Hunter
Childrens **Alan Bradley – Flavia DeLuce! *John Connolly The Infernals *Kate DiCamillo. Magician’s Elephant Gregory Maguire Three Rotten Eggs (2002) Gregory Maguire The next queen of heaven Walter Moers The alchemaster's apprentice : a culinary tale from Zamonia /by Optimus Yarnspinner ; translated from the Zamonian and illustrated by, whose German text was translated into English by John Brownjohn. *Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrin’s home for peculiar children **Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck
Science Fiction Dave Duncan Pock’s Arena, Speak to the Devil Charlene Harris Sookie Stackhouse Karen Marie Moning Shadowfever **George R.R. Martin A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons: Song of Ice and Fire Series, Book 1 - 5 Naomi Novik Tongues of serpents, Crucible of Gold *Terry Pratchett Snuff
Paula McLain The Paris Wife One good book leads to another – if you have read Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, you have your next book: The Paris Wife. I liked that he finally recognised what he had lost with his divorce, from this comment: “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her (his first wife, Hadley)." McLain writes primarily in Hadley’s voice providing her version of events. A previous biography (Sokoloff, 1973) is quite good, but this novel portrays the woman who loved him, for himself, and is fascinating! Paula McLain painstakingly researched the biographies, letters, and Hemingway's novels, to accurately detail their lives, including their marriage (1921-1926). She is also a poet, which is evident in her fine language craft and evocative prose which captures the glamour, emotions and trials of the 1920s, Europe and especially Paris.
Hadley (Elizabeth Hadley Richardson 1893-1979) was a 28 year old midwestern girl when she met the 21 year old Hemingway who was already brash and ambitious. You are caught up in their whirlwind courtship and the infinite possibilities that await them in life (even knowing the baggage that came later, you love the current story). Her inheritance enabled them to move to Paris and initially provided Hemingway with the stable environment which promoted his writing and provided him with material/experiences.
The reader is charmed by the warm generosity, beliefs and support of Hadley, delighted by the glittering expatriate world which is littered with well know literary and artistic figures as Gertrude Stein, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Ford Maddox Ford, Jean Rhys, and many others, and heartbroken when their marriage dissolves; Unable to survive the fame, the drinking and womanizing, especially in wake of the birth of their child John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway “Bumby” and her family values.
Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises during this time frame, dedicating it to her (and their son) partly in recognition of her sacrifice to his art. The royalties were hers as well. I will always wonder if she had stood up to him more, what greatness they could have achieved together. He desired her because she was not the independent, modern woman, but forgot she was her own person. She struggled to find her place in his ever changing world. While she embraced his adventures, the outdoors, the bullfights, etc their romance didn’t survive the drinking, jealousy, celebrity, ambition, depression and angst. McLain is also sympathetic to Hemingway, recognising his early troubles, from his controling mother, the trauma of the great war and his depression. We know the man he became. Hadley married journalist and political writer Paul Mowrer in 1933 (Pulitzer 1929), eventually moving back to Chicago. He was also the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire (1968). Bumby (1923-2000) went on to become an American writer and conservationist (he finished the memoir, A Moveable Feast).
Non Fiction Elizabeth Tora Bailey. The sound of the wild snails eating Andrew Greig. The Loch of the Green Corrie; David McCullough The greater journey: Americans in Paris Fiction-Mysteries Susan Hill The Betrayal of Trust Tawni O'Dell. Fragile Beasts Literature Lauren Belfer A Fierce Radiance James Robertson And the Land Lay Still Biography Tony Horwitz: Midnight Rising: John Brown Childrens Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck Science Fiction George R.R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire Series
Best Books 2011Non FictionElizabeth Tora Bailey. The sound of the wild snails eating Thomas Friedman. That Used to be US Adam Gopnick Winter: windows on five seasons, Adam Gopnick Table comes first (France, Family and the meaning of food) Andrew Greig. The Loch of the Green Corrie Edward Hoagland Sex and the River Styx Tony Horwitz. Midnight Rising: John Brown David McCullough The greater journey : Americans in Paris David L. Ulin.The lost art of reading : why books matter in a distracted time Simon Winchester The Alice behind Wonderland, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles Jonathan Yardley. Second Reading 30 books on the global climate change (McKibben, King, etc) Fiction-Mysteries Deborah Harkness A Discovery of Witches Susan Hill The Betrayal of Trust Laurie R King. Touchstone, Mary Russell series (Mrs Sherlock Holmes) Tawni O'Dell. Fragile beasts Anne Perry Acceptable Loss Charles Todd A Lonely Death, Bitter Truth Jacqueline Winspear Maisie Dobbs Series! Literature Lauren Belfer A Fierce Radiance Vanora Bennett The People’s Queen (Chaucer) Geraldine Brooks Caleb’s Crossing PD James Death comes to Pemberley Robin Oliveira My Name is Mary Sutter James Robertson And the Land Lay Still Mary Doria Russell Doc Biography A.A. Gill The Angry Island: hunting the English Tony Horwitz: Midnight Rising: John Brown Childrens Alan Bradley – Flavia DeLuce! John Connolly The Infernals Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrin’s home for peculiar children Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck Science Fiction George R.R. Martin A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons: Song of Ice and Fire Series, Book 1 - 5 Terry Pratchett Snuff