best books of 2011 so far

Today, the Armchair BEA theme is giveaways – a number of participants will be hosting book giveaways on their blogs, so you should check those out. For those of us not giving away (ahem, me), we are writing about our favorite books of 2011. Here are mine.

Dethroning the King, Julie Macintosh. Nonfiction. Macintosh covered the hostile takeover of Anheuser Busch for the Financial Times, and later wrote this book about it. I found the story fascinating, and appreciated Macintosh’s style: she presented what could have been tedious financial and legal details in very readable and interesting narrative style, including touching on her personal experiences in researching the story.

Fire Season, Philip Connors. Nonfiction. Connors has now spent nine seasons as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, watching for signs of smoke from his tiny tower room over 10,000 feet above sea level. This book is a contemplation of solitude, a tribute to the natural world, and an examination of many aspects of our world and our Forest Service policies; it is reflective and beautifully written and artistic, and never stilted.

Heroine’s Bookshelf, Erin Blakemore. Nonfiction. Blakemore praises 12 classic works by and about women, and discusses their impact on our lives as women today. A celebration of the literature of Austen, Alice Walker, Louisa May Alcott, and more.

Iphigenia in Forest Hills, Janet Malcolm. Nonfiction. A journalist’s account of a murder trial that took place in Queens, in a community of Bukharan Jews, with no final decision as to whodunit; an interesting study of murder and of culture. Malcolm is an amazing writer of nonfiction.

Paris Wife, Paula McLain. Fiction. McLain fictionalizes the life of Hadley Hemingway, first wife of Ernest, during and after their marriage, focusing on their years together in Paris. This is a fascinating study of Hadley in which Ernest takes a backseat; I loved it both as an amateur Hemingway scholar and as a fan of literary fiction.

I cheated; some of these are 2010 releases. I read them all in 2011, though, and I hope the community will be forgiving, because the fact is that we don’t always get to read books when they’re first released (mainly because we all have such daunting TBR lists!). If you find a title here that you finally pick up in 2012, you should still enjoy it. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! What are your favorite books of 2011?

Edit: I think The Great Night (fiction by Chris Adrian) is making this list as well! Look for my review to be up next week.

5 Responses

  1. Yay for some non-fiction reads! Heroine’s Bookshelf sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yea, I went pretty heavy on the nonfiction, didn’t I? I didn’t do it on purpose…

  3. Ooh great list! I really want to read The Heroine’s Bookshelf and The Paris Wife, so it’s nice to see you enjoyed those two.

    (new follower, btw 🙂

  4. In 2009 I decided to step away reviewing for publishers and publicists. I felt like I was losing my focus and drifting from my mission statement of sharing the joys of reading. Call it taking a librarian’s approach to blogging. Come see what I mean.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed The Paris Wife…and afterwards, I just had to order A Moveable Feast, which I hadn’t yet read.


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