Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Books I Read in 2011

I won't focus on the negative books I read this year. Lord knows, they were aplenty. It was actually a pretty rough year for reading. More and more books just left me feeling "meh", than anything. I will provide the top 5 books I read this year (in no particular order). These are the ones that the plot stunned me. After I turned the last page, after my mouth refused to close from the sheer amazingness the exuded from the pages, after I cried, that's how I know a book is truly amazing.  These books inspire my 50 book reading challenge every year, and most importantly inspire my to tell a damn good and original story.

Let's being.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

This book. THIS book. I actually listened to it in audiobook format.  I would play it on my iPod while on my campus elliptical. I laughed audibly. People stared. Yeah....but anyway, it was hilarious. I loved the dialogue and the characters jumped right off the pages. Despite it's hilarity, there were very dark undertones. The whole story punched me in the gut. By the end, I cried. It was complete and joyous and sorrowful world that these characters lived in. I think about this book all the time. It's vision of the future still haunts me. It has been added to one of my all time most favorite books.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I'm always leery of best sellers, you know the books that everyone and their mother has read. When I found this little gem on my local Goodwill shelved for 50¢ (and I get a student discount!) I couldn't pass up the deal. Wow, am I glad I read it. I read it over the summer and the India heat and sun baring down while he was on the boat was amazing. I loved the writing, it was literary and beautiful. Pi's story is one of the most incredible things I have read. I savored this book for everything it would give me. I cannot recommend this book enough, I truly fell in love with book. I look and the cover and my heart dances.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I was one of the fortunate who never had to read this book in high school. "Fortunate?" you ask. "Yes", I say. "But this is on your mind blowing list" you say. I have strong opinions on what kids are forced to read in high school. I will dedicate a post to all the books high school has ruined for me, but that's for another time. I understand, and have an appreciation for the human condition and can reflect on my time as a child and teen now that I am well out of my teens...and that is precisely why I love this book. It is dark and disturbing and psychological. Oh sure, in high school I claimed to have loved that stuff (and to some extent I did). But now I truly know what those attributes mean. This book cut me to the quick. It was perfect in every way but I needed age and experience to appreciate it. 

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

One of those forgotten YA titles. While The Giver gets due recognition, this one lives in its shadow unfortunately. There is no action, but tension and mystery around every corner. I adore this book. It was another find at Goodwill and after reading The Giver, and that being added to one of the best books I have ever read, I decided to give this one a chance. I am so glad I did. I think I read it one sitting. I love these characters, I love Lowry's style. The atmosphere was tangible and I got completely lost within the book. Incredible.

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (anthology)
I really really love dystopian fiction. But you know what? I think this year I may have realized I like the apocalypse much better. Then just mash the two together, and I think you have the perfect genre! Anyway, this anthology is all apocalypse, all the time. Let me tell you though, some of these stories were bone shaking. The only two stories I really didn't care for was Stephen King's and Orson Scott Card's. Weird, huh? The absolute best were (and if you run out to the library or b&n find a big comfy chair and if else nothing read these three stories): Artie's Angels (I bawled), Speech Sounds (wooooow), and Waiting for the Zephyr. The first the third would make incredible young adult books and I wanted to read soooo many of the stories as books. This collection is excellent and inspiring. The absolutely sucked me with masterful story telling. The best of the best.

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