My best books read in 2011.

A few days left…if I read anything else stellar this year, I’ll add it to the list…

Five stars, in reverse order of reading:

  • The Non-Designers Design Book, by Robin P. Williams.  In a discipline that values intuition over clear explanation (seems like), a refreshingly blunt books on what’s actually going on.
  • The Best of Joe R. Lansdale.  Short story collection (very dark), featuring “Bubba Ho-Tep.”  I could only read a few pages of this at a time, because it was so dark–and it’s me saying that.
  • “Young Guns,” by Ian T. Healy.  Short story.  A super father who hides his talents has to learn to cope with his daughter who won’t.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist series.  Manga.  I’m awaiting the last (!) volume.  This is great storytelling.  Just great.
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Cat Valente.  Middle-grade.  Started out a bit twee, then talked you into all kinds of ideas.  Deceptively subtle 🙂
  • Chew, by John Layman.  A cibomancer, or someone who can tell the history of a thing by eating it, in a world where chicken has been outlawed.  Dark and funny.
  • “How to Cook Husbands, A Creepy Story,” by Rebecca Senese.   Not what you were expecting…or is it?
  • Three-Lobed Burning Eye Annual V, Ed. by Andrew S. Fuller.  I’m in this, but I feel like I’m the least of the stories contained.  Surreal, horrific, and wonderful.  Limited run.  Sor-ry!
  • Heston Blumenthal:  In Search of Perfection. If by “perfection,” you mean starting things on fire, this is your book.  Foodie treasure.
  • Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes for the End. Got a review copy.  This is perfect, if sadly shorter than I wanted, and insults everybody.
  • Generation Loss, by Elizabeth Hand.  Art, music, isolation, and madness.  A hidden gem of a serial killer book.
  • A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin.  I was putting this off until the series was done, but then the TV series came out.  Still haven’t see the TV series.
  • The Fat Duck Cookbook, by Heston Blumenthal, illus. by Dave McKean.  Suh-weet.  Essays on food, then the recipes, then the science.  We loves the science.
  • In the Night Garden and Cities of Coin and Spice (the Orphan’s Tales), Cat Valente.  Arabian Nights for cross-mythic stories, so entertwined as to put the originals to shame.
  • The Soul Mirror (Collegia Magica Series), by Carol Berg.  High fantasy intrigue in a world where magic is dying.  A rogue sorcerer and the ordinary girl who pursues revenge against him.
  • The Escapement and Evil for Evil (The Engineer Series), by K.J. Parker.  (First book is Devices and Desires.)  Painfully good series about, oh, treating people like clockwork.  A tour de force of intrigue and horror.
  • Drood, by Dan Simmons.  One of the few perfect books…the story of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and the ultimate mind@#$%.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illus by Eric Shanower.  This graphic novel really captures the spirit of the midwest, making shades of brown into a rainbow.  And Dorothy is as cute as a button.
  • Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits & Other Curious Things, by Cate Gardner.   Short stories of surreal wonder, with laugh-out-loud absurd twists.
  • The Freelancer’s Survival Guide, by Kris Rusch.  I need to reread this about once a year.
  • Thoughtless Acts? Observations on Intuitive Design, by Jane Fulton Suri.  How do we use things, and how to design heterodyne with that?
  • Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor.  Magic in post-apocalyptic Africa, a chosen-one story that’s almost too painful and beautiful to bear.
  • Writing Down the Bones:  Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg.  Bringing meditation into your writing practice, or bringing writing practice to bear on a search for peace, or integrating your life and writing…
  • Yotsuba! series.  Manga about a little girl who enjoys everything.  Reminds me of Ray, ages 4-6 or so.
  • Being Wrong:  Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz.   How our brains trick us into thinking we’re right, even when we’re not…survival at its fittest.
  • Handling the Undead, by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  The dead come back, and this time we actually have to deal with them instead of just blowing them up.

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 139 books on 2011, or about one every 2.6 days.  Time to up that average…

3 thoughts on “My best books read in 2011.”

  1. I actually read two of those (Soul Mirror and Game of Thrones)! Since watching GoT on UBO, I am holding off on reading the rest of the series. The show is too good and I like not knowing what will happen (especially given Martin’s proclivity toward killing big characters). Are you planning on watching the show, Deanna?

  2. Christ – I think I’ll watch the show eventually, but…sheesh. I spend a LOT of time with books and not much with TV. We’ll see.

    Cate – It was-a very good.

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