Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Best of 2011, Update 6

I haven't looked at my Top 10 lists in just over seven weeks, so it's time to shake them up a bit based on the reading I did during those weeks and my evolving feelings about a few of the titles that have been on the list for a while already.

I read thirteen fiction titles since I last updated the list but only two of them managed to push their way on to it (see numbers 8 and 9).

Fiction: (Top 10 of 58 considered)

1. Nemesis - Philip Roth (novel)

2. Saturday - Ian McEwan (novel)

3. Rhino Ranch - Larry McMurtry (series novel)

4. The Glass Rainbow - James Lee Burke (Dave Robicheaux series)

5. Beach Music - Pat Conroy (novel)

6. Love at Absolute Zero - Christopher Meeks (novel)

7. That Old Cape Magic - Richard Russo (novel)

8. Hustle - Jason Skipper (novel)

9. Among the Wonderful - Stacy Carlson (novel)

10.Dead Man's Walk - Larry McMurtry (series novel)
Similarly, only one of the four new nonfiction titles considered for the list actually appears there (see number 7).
Non-Fiction: (Top 10 of 24 considered)

1.Wolf: The Lives of Jack London - James L. Haley (biography)

2. Hitch 22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens (memoir)

3. Bittersweet Season - Jane Gross (on caring for aging parents)

4.Tiny Terror - William Todd Schultz (psychobiography of Truman Capote)

5. Chinaberry Sidewalks - Rodney Crowell (memoir)

6. We Were Not Orphans - Sherry Matthews (memoirs from a Texas home for neglected children)

7. Why China Will Never Rule the World - Troy Parfitt (travel and politics)

8. What It Is Like to Go to War - Karl Marlantes (memoir)

9. Lincoln's Men - William C. Davis (Civil War History)

10. The Siege of Washington - John and Charles Lockwood (Civil War History)
Those are the lists at just about 2/3 of the way through 2011. There is still time for multiple surprises to come along; I'm counting on it.


  1. Ahhh -- there are two books on these lists that I also absolutely loved!
    Saturday, by McEwan.
    Hitch-22 by Hitchens.

    You've been doing some excellent and wide-ranged reading there, Sam.
    All the best to you.
    -- Cip

  2. Both of those are definite winners, Cip. You know, reading is kind of funny...never knowing what the next book will be can lead to some interesting stuff. I'm not afraid to abandon books anymore, and that makes it more likely that I will take a chance.

  3. Your Civil War books listed have me curious. I am in the midst of Rebel by Bernard Cornwell... it is the first in the "Starbucks Chronicles". Interesting, and it has me digging for more such history.

    Have you read any of Erik Larson's historical nonfiction? I see "In the Garden of Beasts" is on the Bestseller. Most fascinating, and his research has tumbled me into his other books.

  4. Brenda, I have read a couple of Erik Larson's nonfiction books and can recommend him whole heartedly. I have not, though, read his current bestseller. I learned a whole lot of history from Larson; he's a great story teller and makes the history lesson a lot of fun.