December 26, 2011

Five Best Books of 2011

This year, I thought I'd challenge myself to slim down my "I loved this book so much" list to just five titles. These are the books that absolutely rocked me this year.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Because: This book is beautifully written, incredibly atmospheric, filled with visceral landscapes and expertly-developed mood. Stiefvater makes the island of Thisby into a character that wraps itself around you like a cloak that you never want to take off. If you're going to try out a YA in 2012, try this one.


I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Genre: YA (I suppose, though only because it has some teenaged characters)
Because: This is an amazing book. So amazing that I don't even want to tell you what it's about: this is a story that's better appreciated without any foreknowledge. I fell in hard and fast love with this lovely, affecting, magical piece of fiction. If there was one book I could make everyone I know read, this would be it.


Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Genre: Historical Mystery/Ghost Story
Because: This is one of the best ghost stories I've ever read: vivid, historically fascinating, well developed, and fantastically creepy. I had the pleasure of reading this book (with many lights on) first, then listening to the audiobook read by Jeremy Northam... and WOW is that the BEST audiobook I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I've listened to it three times: if that isn't a glowing endorsement, I don't know what is. Don't forget to keep your light on.


Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Genre: Dystopian/Urban Fantasy
Because: This book about a zombie with heart is at once funny, philosophical, moving and suspenseful.   This book managed to take two things I'm not wild about (zombies and futuristic, end-of-the-world stories) and make me a little bit wild about them. I just loaned this to one of my fantastic creative writing-class seniors, and now several of them are reading it. It's spreading (just like the zombie plague)!


Just My Type by Simon Garfield
Genre: Nonfiction
Because: This is the one book I loved this year that I haven't blogged about: it's a book all about FONTS! Now wait. Because you start shaking your head, hear me out a sec. This book is fantastically fascinating. It gives us what amounts to a character study of some of history's most important and game-changing fonts: where they came from, how they developed, and what quirky cast of artists and cultural heroes made them unique and significant. This book is a veritable treasure-trove of well-written tales to keep any word nerd entertained for days.

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