The Lame 2011 “Best Of” List

December 25, 2011

Here are the books I enjoyed the most this year. This list is of books I read, not only published in 2011.

First and foremost – this is THE best book I’ve read this year. From some reason it didn’t get much attention in the US.

We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen

“We, The Drowned” (Web­site) byCarsten Jensenis aspell­bind­ing, award win­ning(Danske Banks Lit­ter­atur­pris)fic­tionalbook which spans 100 years in the lives of the inhab­i­tants of the small Dan­ish coastal townMarstal. Jensen’s debut novel is already hailed as aninstant clas­sicand right­fully so.

Non-Fiction:

Auschwitz by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli

Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eye­wit­ness Accountby Dr. Mik­lós Nyis­zli is anon-fiction mem­oirof a Jew­ish Hun­gar­ian med­ical doc­tor who per­formed “research” on other Jews with the evil Dr. Josef Men­gele aka “Angel of Death”. This is not an easy book to read, but an impor­tant one.

Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick

Eliz­a­beth and Hazel: Two Women of Lit­tle Rockby David Mar­golick is anon fic­tionbook about two ladies who were made famous by the press. The booklooks his­tory square in the eyeand doesn’t flinch.

Gated Grief by Leila Levinson

“Gated Grief: The Daugh­ter of a GI Con­cen­tra­tion Camp Lib­er­a­tor Dis­cov­ers a Legacy of Trauma” by Leila Levin­son who started the char­ity Veteran’s Chil­dren (web­site|Face­book|Twit­ter) is anon-fictionbook about the author’s five year research to under­stand herfather’s traumafromlib­er­at­inga con­cen­tra­tion camp in World War II. The book is filled with graphic pic­tures which will stay with you for a long time.

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda

“Hero: The Life and Leg­end of Lawrence of Ara­bia” by Michael Korda is abiog­ra­phyof Eng­lish­man Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence bet­ter known by his nick­name. The biog­ra­phy fol­lows Lawrence from his birth to his early death.

The Jersey Sting By Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin

“The Jer­sey Sting: A True Story of Cor­rupt Pols, Money-Laundering Rab­bis, Black Mar­ket Kid­neys, and the Infor­mant Who Brought It All Down” By Ted Sher­man and Josh Mar­golin (web­site|Twit­ter|Face­book) is thetrue storyof the events lead­ing up to the arrest of 44 peo­ple in New Jer­sey. These 44 werecor­rupt local politi­cians,Rab­bis,money laun­der­ersand, strangest of all, ablack mar­ket kid­ney dealer.

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

“Lost in Shangri-La” by Mitchell Zuck­off (web­site) is anon-fictionbook about aplane crashin Dutch New Guinea dur­ing World War II. This book isnar­ra­tive his­toryat its best.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

“The Lost City of Z” by David Grann (web­site) is anon-fictionaccount of the author’s trip to Brazilfol­low­ing the foot­stepsof pre­vi­ous explor­ers. The book is part char­ac­ter study, part his­tory, part archaeological and part adven­ture story.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

“Moon­walk­ing with Ein­stein: The Art and Sci­ence of Remem­ber­ing Every­thing” by Joshua Foer is amem­oirof the author’s attempted to win theU.S. mem­ory cham­pi­onship. Along the way Mr. Foer attempts toexplain some tricks, tech­niques and the sci­ence aroundmem­ory.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

“Turn Right at Machu Pic­chu: Redis­cov­er­ing the Lost City One Step at a Time” by Mark Adams is anon-fictionbook in which the author fol­lows the foot­steps of Hiram Bing­ham III.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

“Unbro­ken” by Laura Hil­len­brand (Web­site|Face­book) is the amaz­ingnon-fictionstory of Loius Zam­perini (Web­site|Wikipedia) an Amer­i­canath­lete,World War IIAir Corp bom­bardier whosur­viveda crash and inter­ment in aJapan­ese POWcamp.

Fiction:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84by Haruki Murakami is afic­tionalnovel which takes place betweentwo worlds. The book was orig­i­nally writ­ten inJapan­eseand became a best seller almost immediately.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

20,000 Leagues Under the Seaby Jules Verne is a clas­sicsci­ence fic­tionnovel pub­lished in 1870. The book’s orig­i­nal titleVingt mille lieues sous les mers, the lit­eral trans­la­tion would be “Seas” which might imply theseven seas.

The Attack by Yasmina Khadra

The Attackby Yas­mina Khadra is afic­tionalbook set inIsraeland theWest Bank. Yas­mina Khadra is the nom de plume of Mohammed Moulesse­houl, a for­mer Alger­ian mil­i­tary officer.

The Confessor by Daniel Silva

“The Con­fes­sor” by Daniel Silva (web­site) is thethird install­mentin thefic­tionaladven­tures of thereluc­tant Israeli agentGabriel Allon.

The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg

The Emperor of Liesby Steve Sem-Sandberg is anaward win­ning his­tor­i­calfic­tion book. The book was trans­lated fromSwedishand tells about real life, as well as fic­tional characters.

The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

“The Fifth Ser­vant” by Ken­neth Wish­nia (Web­site) is afic­tional mys­teryset in 1592 at Jew­ish Ghetto in the city ofPrague. The book is rich with Jew­ish cul­ture and the ten­sions between Jews and Christians.

Field Gray by Philip Kerr

“Field Gray” by Philip Kerr (web­site) is afic­tionalnovel tak­ing place alter­na­tively between the 1931 and mid 1954, mostly in Berlin. The book is 7th novel star­ring Bernie Gun­ther (fan web­site).

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

“A Fierce Radi­ance” by Lau­ren Belfer (web­site) is ahis­tor­i­cal fic­tionbook about the search forpeni­cillin. The push came dur­ing World War II when the need for this mir­a­cle drug became as impor­tant as any weapon.

The Final Storm: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

“The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific” by Jeff Shaara (web­site) is ahis­tor­i­cal fic­tionnovel which focuses on America’swar in the Pacificinstead of Europe. Mr. Shaara points out that he didn’t intend to write this book but got many let­ters for fans and WWII vet­er­ans who fought there.
Good for us!

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Yes, I’ve read a magic book.Jonathan Strange & Mr. Nor­rellby Susanna Clarke is a fic­tional book about magi­cians set in 1800s England.

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

“Lion­heart” by Sharon Kay Pen­man is ahis­tor­i­cal fic­tionbook about Richard I and the Third cru­sade. This is a well researched book which is fas­ci­nat­ing and exciting.

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

The Lotus Eaters” by Tat­jana Soli (Web­site) is afic­tionalbook about theViet­nam War. Helen Adams is acom­bat pho­tog­ra­pher, a woman “in a young man’s pro­fes­sion” is drawn to Viet­nam after the loss of her brother in combat.

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

“Ordi­nary Thun­der­storms” by William Boyd (web­site) is afic­tionalbook withmany themes. The book takes place inLon­donand fol­lows a man whose life turned upside down.

The Profession by Steven Pressfield

“The Pro­fes­sion” by Steven Press­field (web­site|Face­book) is a fic­tional book about the projectfutureof Amer­ica. The story is told from the per­spec­tive of a solider on the ground.

so much for that by Lionel Shriver

“so much for that” by Lionel Shriver is afic­tionalbook aboutseri­ous mat­ters. The book deals with thefrus­tra­tionand the unfair­ness of deal­ing with theUS health­care indus­try.

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

The Street SweeperbyAus­tralian his­to­rianElliot Perl­man is afic­tionalbook which deals with the Amer­i­can strug­gle forcivil rightsand theHolo­caust. The book beau­ti­fully ties together the idea that we are all human and touch each other’s lives.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Trea­sure Island” byRobert Louis Steven­sonis an 1883fic­tionaladven­tur­ous and clas­sicpirate story. The book fol­lows Jim Hawkins, a young man, who hasfound a trea­sure mapand with the help of friends hires a crew to find the trea­sure. But the crew has their own plans.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“A Tree Grows in Brook­lyn” by Betty Smith is ahis­tor­i­cal fic­tionbook set in … Brook­lyn. The book was pub­lished in 1943 and became aninstant best sellerdespite crit­i­cism on its content

Uncle Misha’s Partisans by Yuri Suhl

“Uncle Misha’s Par­ti­sans” by Yuri Suhl is afic­tionalbook fol­low­ing the adven­tures of aUkrain­ianboy dur­ingWorld War II. The book is meant for young adults (YA) and should be read as such.

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw

Win­ter in Wartimeby Jan Ter­louw is afic­tionalbook set inWorld War II. The book is aDutch clas­sicorig­i­nally calledOor­logswin­ter.

So tell me, what are your favorite books you’ve read in 2011? Also, why are you reading lame blog posts on Christmas instead of being with your family?

Zohar – Man of la Book

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5 Comments

  • RyanDecember 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I loved Lost In Shangri-La, one of my favorite books this year.

  • JudayeDecember 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I’m really surprised that people had a problem with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Maybe it was just too realistic.

  • kittyfondueDecember 27, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I just finished We, The Drowned. Absolutely epic book, wonderfully written, poignant, unsentimental. Brilliant.

  • BookQuoterDecember 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Wow, what a list!!

    Happy New Year to you and your family Zohar!

  • Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)December 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I have Elizabeth and Hazel on my list if books to read soon. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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