Best of 2011

Each year that I have been blogging, I take a look back at the year’s best and most memorable reads. Sometimes the list is just as I expected it to be, and other times, I am surprised by what still stands out (or doesn’t) after 12 months. Here is my list for 2011.


Supernatural Fiction

The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff (July 2011)
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (August 2011)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (December 2011)
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (September 2011)
The Taker by Alma Katsu (September 2011)
The Cypress House by Michael Koryta (May 2011)


Historical Fiction

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (November 2011)
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (August 2011)
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (July 2011)
The White Devil by Justin Evans (May 2011)
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio (April 2011)
The House on the Strand by Daphne DuMaurier (January 2000)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (April 1997)


Short Fiction

Go the F**K To Sleep by Adam Mansbach; Illustrated by, Richard Cortes (June 2011)
The Night Book Mobile by Audrey Niffenegger (September 2010)
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory (July 2011)



The Man In the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal (June 2011)
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (May 2011)
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard (September 2011)
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (September 2011)
Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick (October 2011)


Contemporary Fiction

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones (May 2011)
The Oregon Experiment by Keith Scribner (June 2011)
The End of Everything by Megan Abbot (June 2011)
Faith by Jennifer Haigh (May 2011)
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate (September 2011)
The Weird Sisters  by Eleanor Brown (January 2011)
When Tito Loved Clara by Jon Michaud (March 2011)
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (August 2008)
Sherry and Narcotics by Nina-Marie Gardner (May 2011)

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate – Book Review


  1. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I haven’t read a single one of these books!

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      It’s funny how everyone’s lists are so different. I always feel like I haven’t read anything by the end of the year.

  2. Marg

    Discovery of Witches will make my best of list for this year too! Interesting list with quite a few books that I would like to read…one day – whenever that might be.

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      Have you seen the cover to the sequel yet? I can’t wait til it’s out. Just six more months.

      1. Marg

        I have! It is going to be one of my most anticipated book in 2012!

        1. Nicole (Post author)

          I’m not crazy abou the cover I saw, but so excited about the book!

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I need to get to work – I’ve only read two of those books.

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      I feel that way when I look at all the other lists. There are just so many books!

  4. Michelle

    Such an eclectic list! Faith and The Weird Sisters will certainly be on mine.

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      I loved those books. It was my fisrt Jennifer Haigh, so I will be reading her backlist, and I am just waiting for Eleanor to come through with another wonderful story.

  5. Vasilly

    I think The Weird Sisters, Silver Sparrow, and a few more were all excellent reads. I hope 2012 will be such as good.

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      2011 was a stellar year for books- especially the first half. I went for long periods of time reading books that I loved or was really intrigued by. It was fabulous!

  6. Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick

    There are so many on here that I must read! I’ve got The Taker and A Discovery of Witches, so I need to start with that. And The White Devil looks intriguing, I’ll have to check that, too. Oh, and Faith! I listened to the audiobook a few weeks ago and I LOVED IT. Everyone should read/listen to that one!

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      Faith was incredible. I was so totally absorbed with that one. I loved the paranormal stuff this year too. Some great books I read! Looking forward to 2012.

  7. Amused

    Great list! I think Faith is going to be on my fave list of the year too!

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      That was a stunning book. I can’t wait to read more from her.

  8. Lori - What Remains Now

    I love “favorites” lists. You have many that I haven’t read, but that will be going on my wish list.

  9. Bob

    I like how you have this set up by genre. I have listened to three of the titles you have listed in the Supernatural Fiction” category, and loved them all. In fact, The Magician King also made my End of year favorites post. I have to check out the others, although sadly the Rebecca Wolf book isn’t in audio. (Which is what I blog about.)

    Hopefully your 2012 reading will be as fruitful.

  10. The Book Whisperer

    Great to see your faves of 2011 – I have a few of those already on my wishlist for next year.

    Also, I wanted to say a huge Merry Christmas – I’ve loved discovering your blog a few months ago so keep up the great work and wishing you a wonderful 2012 :)

  11. Bethany

    First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Kudos!

  12. Jen - Devourer of Books

    We have some overlap in our lists, and you listed a bunch of things that I really liked that didn’t QUITE make my list, so I think I might have to try to read the ones you listed that I missed this year.

  13. Sandy

    I have read a number of these and would agree! LOVED The Taker, and the Faith made my best of audio list. I have The White Devil sitting right *there* on my shelves. Need to pull it out and sit it out in front of my face so I will get it read.

  14. Erica

    Between your list and Jen’s now I know what books to move to the top of my pile! Weird Sisters, The Beginners, The Taker.

  15. Beth Hoffman

    This is such a diverse and interesting list! I’ve read several, but think I should invest in a few more.

    Have a lovely holiday, Nicole!

  16. Brooks

    The only thing I’ve read on your list is The Magician King and I’ve got Wolf Hall in my DNF pile. Your non-fiction list includes a few titles I’m interested in – especially Destiny of the Republic!

  17. Meghan

    I can’t believe I still haven’t read A Discovery of Witches! I need to match that book a priority. I loved Rules of Civility and Wolf Hall, though, so good choices there. Otherwise I clearly have a lot of books left to read! :)

  18. Sarah Jio

    A terrific list! I’m so honored to see that you included The Violets of March, too! Thank you! Thank you! xo

  19. Andi

    Good-lookin’ choices here, Nicole! I see lots I want on my wishlist in 2012. :)

  20. zibilee

    Oh, you picked some wonderful read for this year! Though I have read a few, some of them are on my list for the upcoming year, and I am so excited about that! Did you see the news that the sequel to A Discovery of Witches is coming out in the beginning of next year? The ARCs will start going out in March. So excited about this!!! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    Have a wonderful holiday season, Nicole!

  21. Kathleen

    Great list! I just checked The Psychopath Test out from my library and can’t wait to read it!

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      I hope you enjoy it Kathleen. It is fascinating and there is humor there to boot!

  22. Beth F

    Everyone I know tells me I’m crazy for not having read Discovery of Witches yet. I will. Soon.

    1. Nicole (Post author)

      And it’s out in paperback Tuesday, so much more wieldy. I read the hardcover and could only read it in bed at night or curled up on the couch!

  23. Chad Hull

    We’ve some titles in common. A nice list with diversity.

  24. Lex

    Nice list! Love the supernatural fiction selection. And I chuckled to see “Go the *** to sleep” in there – classic.

    My fav read of the year completely took me by surprise, it was Felix Dennis’ “How to Get Rich.” Completely and utterly unlike any other book I’ve read in that (generally dreadful) genre, I found it astonishing, dry, cynical (in a good way), enlightening and thoroughly entertaining.

  25. Cathrine W. Harden

    Hi Nicole,

    Great list of books. I’m not that book reader, But one of my new years resolution is to read books next year maybe I’ll start reading this books that you recommend :)

  26. Colleen

    Two book club books made the list! Faith is on mine as well and I also included You Know When The Men Are Gone.

    I have some of your others on my TBR and need to move them up – The Oregon Experiment and Violets of March.

  27. Emma @ Words And Peace

    great lists! Wolf Hall almost made it as my top historical fiction. check who won:

  28. Martha @ Hey, I want to read that

    What a great list. I have a lot of those on my lists. Hope you have a Happy New Year of reading ahead.

  29. Jennifer

    I am really excited to read this book…Looking forward to buy this..Hope is already available in the bookstore..Thanks for sharing..

  30. Laurie C

    Enjoyed reading your list and I admire your organization! It’s mid-January and I (once again) haven’t compiled a single Best of 2011 list of my own. Many of your choices were on my TBR radar already, but I need to add a few more. I like Anthony Horowitz’s YA novels on audio, and I hadn’t realized he had a Sherlock Holmes novel out. I agree with other commenters that Faith made a great audio. I liked The Taste of Salt also, and think that would be a great audio too.

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