I put this list together for a project at work, but I thought I'd share it here, too. The list of my favorite 2011 releases, by genre:
My Favorite Released-in-2011 Grown-Up Fiction
- The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (which, OK: I haven't finished yet, but only because I am savoring it slowly)
- Sister by Rosamund Lupton
- I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson
- To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal
- The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
(Side note: the 2011 new releases I want to read but haven't yet: State of Wonderby Ann Patchett; The Marriage Plotby Jeffrey Eugenides; The Stranger's Childby Alan Hollingshead; The Night Circusby Erin Morgenstern, The Cat's Tableby Michael Ondaatje, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, and 1q84by Haruki Murakami)
My Favorite Released-in-2011 Teen Fiction
(I am completely unsure as to why I didn't write about any teen fiction this year.)
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. A combination of Siobbhan Dowd and Patrick Ness? With illustrations that powerfully capture the emotion in the story? Oh, my. I can't tell you how much I loved this book. Enough that I haven't brought myself to write about it yet.
- Divergentby Veronica Roth. One of the better of the new crop of dystopian novels.
- How to Save a Lifeby Sara Zarr. Told in alternating chapters, this is the story of two teenagers: on who's pregnant and might want to give her baby up for adoption, one who's trying to deal with the grief from her dad's death.
- Chime by Frannie Billingsly. Another dystopian novel, this one is so well written it's like jewelry, somehow.
- Between Shades of Greyby Ruta Sepetyas. A historical novel about Stalin's rule in Russia. I don't think this topic in history is very well known, and this isn't a happy book. But beautiful, still.
(The 2011 new teen releases that I'm still waiting to get to the top of the waiting list: Ashfall by Mike Mullin; The Scorpio Racesby Maggie Stiefvater; Blood Red Road by Moira Young; Legend by Marie Lu; The Unbecoming of Mara Dyerby Michelle Hodkin)
My Favorite Released-in-2011 Nonfiction
- Just my Type by Simon Garfield. Have I ever blogged about my affection for fonts and typography? I don't believe I have. I should, one day. Suffice it to say: this book has an entire chapter about Comic Sans. No font nerd could resist it.
- In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imaginationby Margaret Atwood. Hello...my favorite writer. Her words about science fiction that began as a response to Ursula K. Le Guin's review of Year of the Flood. What isn't there to love for me?
- A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet by Eavan Boland. Just her name, with its Irish connotations, gives me shivers. Even better, this is exactly the sort of book I love to read, with its mishmash of writing and the writing life and poetics and poems and thinking and discussing.
- Blue Nightsby Joan Didion. I loved her The Year of Magical Thinking, which is about the year after her husband's death. Blue Nights, equally as powerful, details the time after her daughter died.
- A Widow's Storyby Joyce Carol Oates. I'm not sure why the details of someone else's grief are compelling to me. But this one---the story of Oates' dealing with the death of her husband---just works for me.
My Favorite Released-in-2011 CDs
(I only am listing three because I only discovered three. I'm trying to broaden my musical horizons but so far I'm not being very successful.)
- 21 by Adele. Although I ran with these songs as company many times during my marathon training, they evoke for me the first long autumn run I did. "Turning Tables" is perhaps my favorite song on the album—nearly a soundtrack for some autumn moments—perhaps because of the lyric "next time I'll be braver, I'll be my own savior." I don't often manage, like I used to, to find exactly the wisdom I need in a song. But I needed that line. I still need it.
- Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine. In real life, I think Florence might bug me a little bit—too dramatic. But in music, gah. I love her work. I am approaching this CD like I used to approach CDs: learning all the songs by heart.
- Ahk-toong BAY-bi by a whole bunch of musicians. This is a CD that was released in England to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the U2 CD Achtung Baby. It's a cover album---lots of different musicians covering each song from the original. It's got Depeche Mode on it, singing "So Cruel," which is just about all I need, but, hello: The Fray singing "Trying to Throw your Arms Around the World"? and Patti Smith doing "Until the End of the World"? oh, and Damien Rice's version of "One"! and Snow Patrol on "Mysterious Ways"! This has been on nearly-non-stop rotation on my playlist. I love it. So. Much.
Did you have any 2011-new-release favorites?