I’ve read a lot of really good books this year, so compiling a list of the top ten best was rather difficult for me. However, I will be listing my favorite books for each particular genre all week with no limitations except for what was my favorite (my classics list will be rather long), so this list will simply be the best of the best. For me, the best books are the ones that I will never forget, and will probably re-read in the future. To further narrow it down, my top ten will only include books I read for the first time this year, no re-reads. So, here’s my top ten with mini-reviews for each and the genre it is associated with.
Please note: This list is compiled in no particular order. It is simply a list of my favorite books in 2011.
1. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Fantasy)
The long-awaited fifth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It certainly lived up to my expectations with the return of most (if not all) of my favorite characters, twists and turns on every page, and my most favorite epilogue of all time (So that was his hidden motive!)
2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Classic Horror)
I loved this novel by Jackson. It was an excellent kick start to my readathon in October. Here’s my review.
3. The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman (Graphic Novel~Horror)
This graphic novel series is unique in its unflinching depiction of a group of survivors in a world decimated by zombies. Kirkman has no problem killing off favorite characters in the most heartbreaking ways, and that is one reason why this series is so amazing.
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Memoir)
This well-written, very emotional memoir chronicles a very unconventional, nomadic life. Wells was the daughter of very unconventional parents who move their children all across the country. The parents come off as very unfit, and Wells relates how their life was seen as an adventure when she was young, but then grew to be tiresome as she matured and differentiated from her parents’ life philosophy. Contains some shocking scenes which often anger and polarize readers. I will never forget this well-written memoir-it’s one of the few pieces of biographical writing that I truly enjoyed.
5. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool (Nonfiction~British Literary History)
I love this book! I always keep it by my side when reading classic British literature, which is often. It includes explanations on the differences between Town(London) life and country life, occupations, titles, illnesses, food, games, dances, and more. It also contains a map of England, which I mark up with the locations of scenes from each novel I read.
6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (Children’s Literature~Horror)
One of the scariest books I’ve read all year, and it’s a children’s book! Highly recommended for its imaginative plot and creepy pictures. Gaiman is a master!
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth (Young Adult~Science Fiction/Dystopian)
Really enjoyed this dystopian YA novel. Check out my review here.
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Classic British Literature)
The best book I’ve read all year! I can’t believe I’ve been sitting on a copy of this for 10 years. Loved the plot, loved the characters. One of the finest novels I’ve ever read.
9. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (Classic British Literature)
This might be my #2 favorite book of the year. Very amusing classic written in the vein of Austen. The characters are excellent, the plot is solid, and I laughed out loud numerous times. I highly recommend this novel to fans of classic novels.
10. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (Classic British Literature)
Really loved this classic. Read my review here.
Honorable Mentions (Includes re-reads of 2011)
11. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (Adult Contemporary Fiction~British)
Really enjoyed this novel. It worked as a comedy of manners with a sweet love story. Pettigrew’s son infuriated me regularly, and while I was often angry while reading, it was very hard to put down.
12. Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Adult Contemporary Fiction~American)
This wonderful novel included excellent, well-rounded characters, a page-turning plot, and a haunting development at the climax. Highly recommended to anyone.
13. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (Adult Contemporary Fiction~American)
Allen is the master of Southern magical realism. In this, her most recent novel, Allen once again spins a magical thread into what is simply a lovely depiction of a North Carolina small town and its delightful residents. I love all of Addison’s beautiful novels. Recommended for any occasion when you just need a breath of fresh, sweet air!
14. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Classic British Literature)
Not in my top ten only because it was a re-read. Love this novel, have always loved this novel, and will probably re-read it again!
15. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (Fantasy)
Again, a re-read, so not in my top ten. My favorite entry in the Song of Ice and Fire series! Full of action, twists, intrigue, shocking deaths, and a major cliff hanger ending. Love, love, love this series!
Tomorrow’s Post: Top Classics Read in 2011!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.