My book list: What I read in 2011

2011 was a good year for reading and I’ve ploughed through more books than I’ve read in a few years – apart from over the summer when I spent nearly 6 weeks reading The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht. Part of my new fast reading is having a Kindle. I wasn’t convinced at first by the e-reader craze. I love the tactile sensation of reading a paperback book, but the Kindle is so brilliant in its own unique way. It’s comfy for reading in bed. I can read one-handed on the tube. I can quickly download new books and I can imagine travelling it’s amazing as you can pack a life-time of holiday reading in one slimline gadget. I do miss seeing how far along a book I am. It’s also impossible to loan a kindle book so all my book-sharing has waned. And not seeing the cover I miss too. But overall I think e-readers have their place alongside traditional books and you can just swap between them a bit like I do with my vinyl, CDs and iTunes.

Anyway here’s my reading list of 2011 (the ones I can remember and on my kindle). What was your favourite read last year? I’m always looking for recommendations so please share.

Behind the Scenes of the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Missed Jackson Brodie but still a good read

Room by Emma Donoghue
Claustrophobic and gripping. Loved Room.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Twilight world of Tokyo scene

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Suspense, tension and still as compelling and relevant today as when first published

The Old Cape by Richard Russo
Makes a trip to Cape Cod tempting

The Empty Family by Colm Toibin
Sad short stories. Not a very cheery bedtime read

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
My pick of the year – loved every chapter.

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
Juicy, colourful novel set in Sierra Leone

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’ Farrell
Motherhood explored

How to Leave Twitter by Grace Dent
Funny, zeitgeist book by the Queen of tweets

Seven Days One Summer by Kate Morris
A reminder of why I avoid group holidays

The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustedvt
Tedious, pretentious and dreary

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
Myths and fact collide. Still trying to figure out the deathless man

The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood
Loved the way the moody island was like an extra character

Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson
Fairly obvious best-selling thriller

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
Potent voice, pity about the pigeon

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Reminder of how we rewrite our personal histories

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Even better for reading now than as a teenager. Inspiring.

Everything and Nothing by Ariminta Hall
Middle class parenting and marriage hell

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Getting under the skin of the tensions of interconnected friends and family. My second pick of the year!

Books started by not finished yet:
The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (This is not my sort of book so doubt it’ll be finished)
Miracle on Regent Street by ALi Harris
The Fold by Tom Campbell
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Hood Rat by Gavin Knight
Truth Games by Bobbie Darbyshire
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I’m re-reading and it’s even better now that i’m older)

Currently reading:
Crimson China by Betsy Tobin

About to read:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Skippy by Paul Murray


About Tara

Writer, explorer, mother, sometimes desperate housewife
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9 Responses to My book list: What I read in 2011

  1. Cassie says:

    You have a lot of wonderful books on that list. You should track them on goodreads – it’s just fun. You can compete in challenges, join in discussions, and just keep track of your books. My favorite part is they recommend you books based on your favorite books. Was Pigeon English really wonderful? I keep seeing it at B&N and I want to get it, but I’m not sure based on the back blurb.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for reading my book list! I really like Good Reads and joined after reading A Visit from the Goon Squad (my top book of 2011) but I haven’t checked it out much recently – although I should as it’s so good! Pigeon English is great. Stephen Kelman has such a powerful voice. The pace, the insight into the world of the lead character Harri and the subculture of the estate is amazing. It’s a real insight into a young boy and also gritty estate life in London. It’s one of those books you just have to sit down and read in one or two gos. Let me know what you think if you read it.

  2. Tara says:

    my comments keep linking to a blog i opened and don’t update. just been fiddling around so will see if it works.

  3. Cassie says:

    I really hated Goon Squad, but I’m glad we can all have our own opinions! That’s the power of freedom, huh? But yes, I will read the review and thanks for linking me on twitter as you wrote short diddy’s about each book. Your diddy’s were totally interesting….especially, “Loved the way the moody island was like an extra character” —-> love it.

    • Tara says:

      Goon squad is a real divider. I was the only person in my book group that liked it! It’s fragmented and sometimes frustrating but I thought some of the ideas and the style of writing were stand-out.

  4. Unread books on my shelf are Lush Life – Richard Price, The Inconstant husband – Susan Barrett, The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter, The Topless Tower – Silvina Ocampo, Love Again – Doris Lessing. The Lost Estate – Alain- Fournier. Have you read any of them? Some look quite difficult. Would like to read the Araminta Hall book. I remember her she’s the girl who had quad brothers and sisters!!!

    • Tara says:

      I’ve only read Lush Life and The Magic Toyshop on your list. You have to read A Visit From the Goon Squad. You’d love it. It’s mostly set in the 90s. The Araminta Hall book is good in that you can’t stop reading it but the characters are all very unappealing – dreadful middleclass parents and an awful nanny. It’s a bit much!

  5. jo says:

    This is a great list – thank you – will suggest to my reading group!

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