In 2005 I asked readers of defective yeti to pick a year’s worth of books for me. They did, and I wound up reading some of the best literature of my life. I still harken back to the comments that entry when I am in need of a novel to devour.
I haven’t been reading as much in recent years, but for some reason signed on to the 2011 Tournament of Books, becoming a judge for the first time ever. And to that end, I spent January reading my assigned tomes: Model Home by Eric Puchner and Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. (The details and brackets of the 2011 ToB were anounced today. check them out.)
From there I moved on to the Uglies quadrilogy, a teen sci-fi series that was recommended by a dear friend. Fun! But these novels each take like a day to complete, and I need to have something lined up if I want to maintain my momentum.
And anyway, reading a score of recommended books is a 2011 Project of mine. So I again turn my lonely eyes to you, Internet. Below are the books I have already selected; please aid me in rounding out the list to an even 20.
The Current List
Model Home by Eric Puchner— done! Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart— done!
- The Uglies Quadrilogy — In progress
- Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
- Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
- A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
- The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
- The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (due for publication on April 15th, of course)
- Two Additional Tournament of Books novels (TBD)
- Promoted! Columbine by Dave Cullen
- Promoted! Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (recommended by Neven)
- Promoted! Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (recommended by Virginia)
- Promoted! Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
- Promoted! Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M Diamond
- Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
- Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (yeah, I know …)
- Huge by James W. Fuerst
- Kraken by China Mieville (seconded)
- The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (seconded)
- The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (seconded and discouraged)
Recommendations From Comments & Email
- The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith (recommended by Drew and discouraged)
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Eagan (recommended by nzle and seconded)
- Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross (recommended by Sean)
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (recommended by mokin)
- Like a Hole in the Head by Jen Banbury (recommended by LJ)
- A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (recommended by Patti)
- The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson (recommended by Martin)
- Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (recommended by Chris and seconded)
- The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind (recommended by Stephen)
- The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (recommended by Pat)
- The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (recommended by Amy)
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (oh man, this was on my 2005 list and I never got around to it; recommended by Nichole and seconded)
- This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (recommended by Kirsten)
- Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (recommended by Eden, which pretty much makes it a shoe-in)
- Jesus’ Son: Stories by Denis Johnson (recommended by Dave)
- The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins (recommended by Jeremy)
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (recommended by Santiago)
- Room by Emma Donoghue (recommended by Stacee)
- Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. (recommended by Jasen)
Please make recommendations in the comments; I will keep the above list updated as more are suggested. Please second those Candidates that you feel ought to be promoted to the main list (or steer me away from those that you feel I best avoid).
If you want to triangulate your suggestions a bit, I’ll tell you that my favorite books from 2010 were: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families (so good!), Little Bee, Zeitoun, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo SHUT UP I LIKED IT.
I’ll review each and every Booklist 2011 novel here on my site. That’s a defective yeti promise. Which means a promise likely to be broken. But I’ll try.