What was the best book of 2011? I don’t know. I really am just asking. Over the past year, out of the handful of books I read, only one could be considered ‘new,’ and that was The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco. I thought that was a brilliant book, and would say it was the best of 2011, but I guess it wins by default since I read not much else from last year. Also, The Prague Cemetery was released much earlier in Italy, and only the English translation was dated 2011, so I don’t know if that should disqualfy it. I did however read Julian Barnes collection of stories Pulse, and enjoyed it for the most part, but even that was compiled from stories published over several years. I think the only other new book I purchased was 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami but I’ll admit I’m only about 4 chapters into it (plus that was published in Japan in 2009 I believe).
I’m not necessarily averse to reading new books, although most of the books I get come from the library or from used book stores, so my options are pretty limited. That being said, while visiting the last remains of modern book stores, not much stood out to me. Most of my favorite fiction writers seem to be taking time off, as there’s been no new fiction from Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Salman Rushdie or Cynthia Ozick. They might have each published essays, but that’s not quite the same.
I did however self publish two books of my own last year, A Rapturous Occasion and The Madness of Art Short Stories and I suppose I should say those are my favorites, at the risk of sounding pompous. If you’re curious, please check out my author page on Amazon where you’ll find both on sale.
I’d like to go ahead and ask you the reader, what was the best book of 2011? If you have a favorite, feel free to write about it in the comments box below.