Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Best Books of 2011

On Wednesday, I said I was tempted to compile all the lists of lists of the best books of 2011 into one list, then sort it by popularity.  I couldn't resist!  Here are the top 12 books of 2011, as determined by everyone in the English speaking universe.  If you look at the list of lists put together by Random House, I used every list except those that were over 50 books (come on people, that isn't selecting anything!) or those that were genre-specific.  Those that were broadly fiction or non-fiction were included.

A few comments on the list - quite a few of these are first novels.  Harbach, Obreht, Wilson, Morgenstern, Waldman, and Russell; congratulations to those authors for really achieving something special.  I just bought a copy of The Tiger's Wife at the Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, SC, and it is the #3 book of 2011.

Book Author # of mentions
Art of Fielding, The Harbach, Chad 10
Marriage Plot, The Eugenides, Jeffrey 10
Tiger's Wife, The Obreht, Tea 9
1Q84 Murakami, Haruki 8
State of Wonder Patchett, Ann 7
Open City Cole, Teju 6
Blue Nights Didion, Joan 5
Bossypants Fey, Tina 5
Family Fang, The Wilson, Kevin 5
Night Circus, The Morgenstern, Erin 5
Submission, The Waldman, Amy 5
Swamplandia! Russell, Karen 5

You can see the entire list I compiled here.


  1. I have five of those purchased and waiting to be read.

  2. Fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to compile this meta-list. I loved reading Eugenides' latest over Thanksgiving.

  3. Jan - which 5?

    Carl - I haven't always enjoyed Eugenides, but the critics have spoken!

  4. i read night circus, gave up on swamplandia, plan on reading 1q84 and the family fang, probably wont read the others and laments the fact that THE SISTERS BROTHERS by patrick dewitt isnt on this or many other lists. *sigh*

  5. Robyn, the deWitt made the list but only with 1 or 2 mentions. I far prefer Russell's short stories, but like that she is getting encouragement to keep writing!

    I didn't connect with some of my vacation reading stack so I'm getting the Family Fang at GPL next week.

  6. You know, I've not read any of these :(
    The Night Circus is on my Christmas list though!


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