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) by Carsten Jensen is a spell­bind­ing, award win­ning (Danske Banks Lit­ter­atur­prisfic­tional 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 by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli

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 by David Margolick

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 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 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

“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 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 the true story of the events lead­ing up to the arrest of 44 peo­ple in New Jer­sey. These 44 were cor­rupt local politi­ciansRab­bismoney laun­der­ers and, strangest of all, ablack mar­ket kid­ney dealer.

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

“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

“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 by Joshua Foer

“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 by Mark Adams

“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

“Unbro­ken” by Laura Hil­len­brand (Web­site Face­book) is the amaz­ing non-fiction story of Loius Zam­perini (Web­siteWikipedia) an Amer­i­can ath­leteWorld War II Air Corp bom­bardier who sur­vived a crash and inter­ment in a Japan­ese POW camp.


1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

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

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

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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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 World War II by Jeff Shaara

“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!

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 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

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.

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

“Ordi­nary Thun­der­storms” by William Boyd (web­site) is a fic­tional book with many themes. The book takes place in Lon­don and 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 projectfuture of 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 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 Elliot Perlman

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

“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.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“A Tree Grows in Brook­lyn” by Betty Smith is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book set in … Brook­lyn. The book was pub­lished in 1943 and became an instant best seller despite crit­i­cism on its content

Uncle Misha’s Partisans by Yuri Suhl

“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.

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw

Win­ter in Wartime by Jan Ter­louw is a fic­tional book set in World War II. The book is a Dutch clas­sic orig­i­nally called Oor­logswin­ter.

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:

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  • Ryan December 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

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

  • Judaye December 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.

  • kittyfondue December 27, 2011 at 4:44 am

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

  • BookQuoter December 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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