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” (Website) by Carsten Jensen is a spellbinding, award winning (Danske Banks Litteraturpris) fictional book which spans 100 years in the lives of the inhabitants of the small Danish coastal town Marstal. Jensen’s debut novel is already hailed as an instant classic and rightfully so.
Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli is a non-fiction memoir of 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: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick is a non fiction book about two ladies who were made famous by the press. The book looks history square in the eye and doesn’t flinch.
“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 a non-fiction book about the author’s five year research to understand her father’s trauma from liberating a 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 is a biography of 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: 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 the true story of the events leading up to the arrest of 44 people in New Jersey. These 44 were corrupt local politicians, Rabbis, money launderers and, strangest of all, ablack market kidney dealer.
“Lost in Shangri-La” by Mitchell Zuckoff (website) is a non-fiction book about a plane crash in Dutch New Guinea during World War II. This book is narrative history at its best.
“The Lost City of Z” by David Grann (website) is a non-fiction account of the author’s trip to Brazilfollowing the footsteps of previous explorers. The book is part character study, part history, part archaeological and part adventure story.
“Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by Joshua Foer is amemoir of the author’s attempted to win the U.S. memory championship. Along the way Mr. Foer attempts to explain some tricks, techniques and the science around memory.
“Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time” by Mark Adams is anon-fiction book in which the author follows the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III.
“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (Website | Facebook) is the amazing non-fiction story of Loius Zamperini (Website| Wikipedia) an American athlete, World War II Air Corp bombardier who survived a crash and interment in a Japanese POW camp.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a fictional novel which takes place between two worlds. The book was originally written in Japanese and became a best seller almost immediately.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is a classic science fiction novel published in 1870. The book’s original title Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, the literal translation would be “Seas” which might imply the seven seas.
The Attack by Yasmina Khadra is a fictional book set in Israel and the West Bank. Yasmina Khadra is the nom de plume of Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian military officer.
“The Confessor” by Daniel Silva (website) is the third installment in the fictional adventures of the reluctant Israeli agent Gabriel Allon.
The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is an award winning historical fiction book. The book was translated from Swedish and tells about real life, as well as fictional characters.
“The Fifth Servant” by Kenneth Wishnia (Website) is a fictional mystery set in 1592 at Jewish Ghetto in the city of Prague. The book is rich with Jewish culture and the tensions between Jews and Christians.
“Field Gray” by Philip Kerr (website) is a fictional novel 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 (website) is a historical fiction book 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 the War in the Pacific” by Jeff Shaara (website) is a historical fictionnovel which focuses on America’s war in the Pacific instead 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!
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 is a historical fiction book about Richard I and the Third crusade. This is a well researched book which is fascinating and exciting.
“The Lotus Eaters” by Tatjana Soli (Website) is a fictional book about the Vietnam War. Helen Adams is a combat photographer, a woman “in a young man’s profession” is drawn to Vietnam after the loss of her brother in combat.
“so much for that” by Lionel Shriver is a fictional book about serious matters. The book deals with the frustration and the unfairness of dealing with the US healthcare industry.
The Street Sweeper by Australian historian Elliot Perlman is a fictional book which deals with the American struggle for civil rights and the Holocaust. The book beautifully ties together the idea that we are all human and touch each other’s lives.
“Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson is an 1883 fictional adventurous and classic pirate story. The book follows Jim Hawkins, a young man, who has found a treasure map and with the help of friends hires a crew to find the treasure. But the crew has their own plans.
“Uncle Misha’s Partisans” by Yuri Suhl is a fictional book following the adventures of a Ukrainianboy during World War II. The book is meant for young adults (YA) and should be read as such.
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
BOOK BLOGGERS – Do you have a “Best Of 2011” List? If so link up below: