Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year List: Two for the Price of One

Best Books of 2011, Bonus 2010

As the end of the year draws closer and closer (when did that happen?), everyone starts making lists of the best songs, movies, and moments of the year. I’ve decided to contribute with my personal list of the best books of 2011. These aren’t necessarily all books published from 2011 (indeed, many are not), but books that I read or re-read in 2011. And, because I wanted to do something similar in 2010 and didn’t get to in a timely fashion as is typical of me, you my fair reader will also get that list as well.

Because my reading tastes are greatly varied, these lists include short story collections, graphic novels, and plays, to name a few. Besides being broken down into the years when I read them, the lists are sub-categorized as children’s, young adult, and adult reading (although there may be some cross-over between groups). Rather than try to rank these books in any fashion, they are listed alphabetically. I’ve also provided links to my reviews of all these books, in case you are interested in finding out more about any of them. Without any further ado, here are my personal favorite reads over the past two years.


Children’s books

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel** by Dan Yaccarino

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Pop-Up Book) by Roald Dahl

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems

Fancy Nancy and the Late, Late, LATE Night by Jane O’Connor

Fancy Nancy and the Sensational Babysitter by Jane O’Connor

Green Start: Little Helpers** by Ikids

If America Were a Village** by David J. Smith

If the World Were a Village** by David J. Smith

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

Just Being Audrey** by Margaret Cardillo

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Pierre & Sophia** (2) by Mary Shaw

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems

The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania al Abdullah

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

This Child, Every Child** by David J. Smith

The Teen Who Invented Television** by Edwin Brit Wyckoff

Welcome to Samantha’s World, 1904** by Catherine Gourley

Young adult books

Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London** by Andrea Warren

Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt’s Remarkable Life** by Candace Fleming

The Tale of One Bad Rat^ by Bryan Talbot

Adult books

The Adventures of Unemployed Man^ by Erich Origen and Gan Golan

Batwoman: Elegy^ by Greg Rucka

Bossypants** by Tina Fey

A Christmas Carol (2) by Charles Dickens

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage** by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Bell Jar (2) by Sylvia Plath

Hard Times (2) by Charles Dickens

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Lady Vernon and Her Daughter by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin

Let’s Take the Long Way Home** by Gail Caldwell

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Machinal (2) by Sophie Treadwell

Mansfield Park (2) by Jane Austen

Passive Aggressive Notes: Painfully Polite and Hilariously Hostile Writings** by Kerry Miller

Persuasion (2) by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice (2) Jane Austen

Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics** by Joe Biden

The Question: Five Books of Blood^ by Greg Rucka

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Sense and Sensibility (2) by Jane Austen

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure** edited by Smith Magazine

This Is a Book by Demetri Martin


Children’s books

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Amelia Bedelia (2) by Peggy Parish

Amelia Bedelia and the Baby (2) by Peggy Parish

The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas

Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies (2) by Stan & Jan Berenstain

The Day the Toys Ran Away (2) by Leah Raechel Killeen

Different Like Coco** by Elizabeth Matthews

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

The Eleventh Hour (2) by Graeme Base

The Feelings Book** by Todd Parr

Ferris Wheel! George Ferris and His Amazing Invention** by Dani Sneed

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight** by Kathleen Krull

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff

Journey Through Islamic Art (2) by Na’ima Bint Robert

The Lorax (2) by Dr. Seuss

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

Maid of the North by Ethel Johnston Phelps

Marie Curie** by Kathleen Krull

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead

Teach Us Amelia Bedelia (2) by Peggy Parish

Told Tales by Josepha Sherman

The Twelve Dancing Princesses (2) by Ruth Sanderson

The Valentine Kittens (2) by Stephanie St. Pierre

A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull** by Kathleen Krull

Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth

Young adult books

Ash by Malinda Lo

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

The Boy Who Invented TV** by Kathleen Krull

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice** by Phillip M. Hoose

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hitler Youth** by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary** by Candace Fleming

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Outsiders (2) by S.E. Hinton

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Adult books

A Collection of Letters by Jane Austen

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Cake Wrecks** by Jen Yates

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America** by Jon Stewart

Emma (2) by Jane Austen

Half the Sky** by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

In Cold Blood** by Truman Capote

Gothic Classics^ by Tom Pomplun

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Lady Susan (2) by Jane Austen

Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishguiro

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishguiro

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin

PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives** by Frank Warren

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Stitches**,^ by David Small

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

‘Tis Herself** by Maureen O’Hara

That Yellow Bastard^ by Frank Miller

The Trial (Illustrated Classics)^ by Franz Kafka

Truer Than True Romance: Classic Love Comics Retold^ by Jeanne Martinet

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley

When We Were Orphans (2) by Kazuo Ishguiro

William Kentridge Nose** by William Kentridge

** = nonfiction
(2) = re-read
^ = graphic novel

I hope you might find some books of interest on these lists. Regardless, I wish you a new year full of happy reading!

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