What's the best novel, published in 2011, that you read this year? (A discussion otherwise known as: Help Me Pick My Christmas Vacation Reading.)

 

For myself, I'll restrict this list to non-Mulholland titles and say it was THE END OF EVERYTHING by Meagan Abbott. Or, if you want to count this as genre fiction, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. (One of the main characters IS an assassin, after all.)

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Wes,  No doubt about it for me.  "A Cold Shot to the Heart" by Wallace Stroby.  Best,  Jed

A Drop of the Hard Stuff.  Lawrence Block.  Scudder.  'Nuff said.

Well certainly--but I read that one already!

For me 2011 has been a year of non-fiction reading. In terms of fiction, I read quite a few "good" novels, but I'm not sure I could classify one as the best as while some of novels stood out for being mediocre, and a few were good, I can't think of one I read that was exceptional.

However, here are a couple I read that I enjoyed:

11/22/63 by Stephen King. I thought it did a great job of capturing the essence of the period, and it was nice to see him back with a good book (some of his recent books have been lacking in my view).

Game of Thrones - On the advice of a friend, I've begun reading the series. Not bad at all for fantasy.

The Last Child by John Hart. I know it was published a year or so ago, but I just read it this summer and loved it.

Dracula - I read (for the second time, the first being in high school) in protest of the Twilight stuff. I've always liked the novel.

Tolstoy - I don't remember the name, but I read a collection of Leo Tolstoy's short stories this year. Good stuff, and I was intrigued at how many of them seemed (to me) to be a retelling of biblical parables.

Maybe not the best but the one that made the biggest impact was Noah Boyd's The Bricklayer.  I'm reading the second book in the series now, Agent X.  Unfortunately there will not be a third, he died a few months ago.

Bummer, missed that. I've seen BRICKLAYER pop up for me a few times when looking for things to read; perhaps now I'll finally check him out.

I don't remember books.  There have been some good ones and lot of poor ones. I also don't pay attention to release dates. Reading Ken Bruen's HEADSTONE now.  It must be recent.  So far it's good, as all of his Jack Taylor novels are good.  I like the character and the voice.  I like the attitude.  Most people think of it as noir, but I've always felt the Jack Taylor novels reached beyond that narrow sub genre.  There is something very real about the poor slob with good intentions who keeps falling on his face and is promptly beaten into a pulp by the forces of evil.  They prey on the weak in the real world also.  So, very believable without being generic.

I take this back.  I like Ken Bruen, but this novel slipped on character. Jack is no longer sympathetic.  I have a suspicion that an author can become too closely identified with a certain subgenre so that the quality slips in the effort to outdo the competition.

The Affair - Lee Child

Good.  I have it.  Looking forward.

I've been reading THE ENEMY as a primer for THE AFFAIR--let me know what you think when you've read, I.J.

Will do.  It's still on the backburner after some library books with due dates.

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