The Best Books of 2011

Eleven by Mark Watson

Foto credit: Ruben (Number2Son)


I’ve read 178 books in 2011, of which I didn’t finish 6. I had a great year with some wonderful books.

Here are the books I considered my best reads for 2011, in no particular order:

Caribou Island by David VannThe Radleys by Matt HaigThe White Devil by Justin EvansBefore I go to Sleep by S. J. WatsonAsylum by Patrick McGrathThe Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

Click on the titles to see my reviews

Caribou Island by David Vann (Literary Fiction)

The Radleys by Matt Haig (Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy)

The White Devil by Justin Evans (Mystery, Fantasy)

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson (Mystery, Contemporary fiction)

Asylum by Patrick McGrath (Literary fiction)

The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb (Contemporary fiction, Literary fiction)

The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark (Historical Fiction)

Taboo by Casey Hill (Thriller)

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar (Contemporary fiction)

One Day by David Nicholls (Contemporary fiction)

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (Contemporary fiction)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Historical Fiction, Fantasy)

The Sandalwood Tree by Elle NewmarkTaboo by Casey HillThe World We Found by Thrity UmrigarOne Day by David NichollsLeft Neglected by Lisa GenovaThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

That’s 12 books that come highly recommended.

My favorite, you ask?  It’s difficult… but I think Left Neglected stands out for being very realistic. Sometimes I forgot that this isn’t a memoir, but fiction. Very convincing!

Are any of these books your favorites too?


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

59 Responses to The Best Books of 2011

  1. Chinoiseries says:

    I haven’t read any of your list, but Caribou Island and the Night Circus are on my tbr list for this year. I hadn’t heard of Caribou Island before you and Tanabata reviewed it, it seems like a very interesting (but not fun, cos it’s rather depressing?) read to me.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Chinoiseries, yes, Caribou Island isn’t an uplifting book, but it is beautiful. I love the descriptions of Alaska and the way the couple (and other characters) relate to each other.

  2. Tes says:

    This is why I’m a huge fan of your blog 🙂 These books are really amazing 🙂

  3. Wow! 178 books! How do you do that? Some of these really look interesting. I mostly read books related to traveling and cooking and I travel a lot also. By the way, congrats on being a NaNoWriMo winner! I am one as well!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Sweetkitten, I do read fast. I can read a book a day and get really irritated when a (big) book takes more than 4 days – it seems endless then.

      You might enjoy The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb which plays in Vietnam. Quite a new place for me to read about, very good book.

      Yay for NaNoWriMo! I haven’t done anything with my writings yet, but I’m planning to do so soon.

  4. BookGoddess says:

    wow! 178 books. I hope for 2012 to read at least 70 😉

  5. 178 books??? I didn’t even make it to 78 last year and I think this year will be even less as I have some other projects going on.

    I must get myself a copy of Left Neglected now that you have said it was your favourite.

    Happy reading in 2012, Judith 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Boof, it appears you have a life and maybe I less of one. 🙂

      Left Neglected is worth a read – as are the thriller/mysteries on the list (I know it’s your preferred genre).

  6. Wendy says:

    178 books is incredible! You have kept me highly entertained over the last year telling us all about your reading adventures. And the Ugly book covers game was hilarious! I managed to read 70 books and I’m pretty thrilled with that. I’m taking a break from books at the moment to read through my collection of magazines, one last time, before I give them all to a thrift shop. Come and check out my 2011 list of books at Have a great 2012!

  7. Great list!

    I hated One Day, it still bugs me 18 months later! No worries though since I’m in the minority for this opinion. 🙂

    I’m saving Umrigar’s new novel for vacation later this month. I hope I love it!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mari, funny how you hated One Day so much. You are in the minority but definitely not the only one not liking it. Hope you’ll enjoy Umrigar’s novel as much as I did!

  8. harvee says:

    I read the Sandalwood Tree but didn’t count it among my best reads. That’s probably because I had such a long list to choose from . I enjoyed it though and like your other books, too, which I’d also love to read.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Harvee, you read a lot too (I checked your overview post). I’m jealous that you read 1Q84 – I’ve been trying to get hold of it through the library but it’s still not come through.

  9. Tiina says:

    The Night Circus is on my list, too. And Camilla Gibb is one of my favorite authors. I have read & loved all her earlier novels, just haven’t read The Beauty of Humanity Movement yet.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Tiina, The Beauty of Humanity Movement was the first book I’ve read by Camilla Gibb (so I guess we complement each other!) but I hope to read some of her other books soon.

  10. parrish says:

    Not read any from this list, although am interested in David Vann

  11. Uniflame says:

    As you know I am currently reading the night circus and I have left neglected on hold at the library. I love the night circus, though it is a slow read for me. But I really love it 🙂

  12. I haven’t read any books on your list, but most of them are on a wishlist some place or other.
    I think it would be better if I didn’t read any of your posts during the year and waited for your list of best books of 2012, Judith, then my TBR-list wouldn’t grow so long 🙂

  13. Alex says:

    That’s a great collection. I’ve read The Space Between Us, One Day and The Night Circus. All solid 4/5. I’ve heard great things about Left Neglected and remember your review well.

    Happy readings in 2012!

  14. Roxanne says:

    I must admit I haven’t read any of them… in the past year i haven’t even read many thrillers, but I have mostly read chicklit and urban fantasy series!

  15. dixie says:

    178 books is quite an achievement! I also loved both Before I Go To Sleep and The Night Circus. Here’s to 2012 and more reading.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I think those two books are generally the most popular, Dixie, and I also enjoyed them a lot (a bit of a hype, but if they are really good books, who cares).

  16. petekarnas says:

    I havent read any of these. But I’ve been looking at Caribou Island for a while and my girlfriend recently finished One Day. I’ll probably give both of those a go before this year is out!

  17. That’s a great year of reading! I haven’t read any of them, but I want to!

  18. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I am picking The Radleys up at the library this afternoon – I convinced them to buy it so I could read it LOL

  19. Leslie says:

    You had a lot to choose from. I read Night Circus and White Devil but neither made my top 10. I have The Radleys and Sandlewood Tree that I intend to read, and Before I Go To Sleep is on my wishlist.

  20. I haven’t read most of the books in your top 12 but I did read The Night Circus, Left Neglected, Before I go to Sleep, Taboo and One Day. The first three titles made it onto my list for the year too. Taboo missed the list be a whisker. One Day left me a bit disappointed when I read it.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Marleen, we seem to have at least some book-taste in common then!

      • Marleen Kennedy says:

        I think our book-taste is fairly similar overall anyway. I did give One Day 4 out of 5, I just didn’t love it as much as lots of other people seemed to do.

      • Leeswammes says:

        Marleen, there are also people who really didn’t enjoy *One Day*. Definitely an acquired taste.

      • Marleen Kennedy says:

        Judith, I think a lot of that has to do with all the hype that surrounded the book. A book can be quite good, but if it doesn’t live up to the hype, people are bound to be disappointed. If at all possible I’d like to read books before any hype has started.

      • Leeswammes says:

        Marleen, I’m usually a bit weary about picking up a book when there is a hype, but usually I actually don’t *expect* hype books to be very good, because I don’t expect them to live up to the hype. So, I’m fine! 🙂

      • Marleen Kennedy says:

        That is probably the right attitude towards hype books. I should try to do the same thing and save myself from disappointments.

  21. Ellie says:

    I haven’t read any of these yet (*sob*) but I have The Night Circus and The Radleys at the top of Mount TBR, and the new paperback edition of Before I Go to Sleep should arrive in the post today. I recognise a few of the titles from my wishlist too – and I have a feeling you put them there throughout the year! 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Ellie, it sounds like you’ve got some good books still to read. My wishlist also grows from reading blogs. It’s a hazard that comes with the job! 🙂

  22. Our tastes are so similar it’s almost as though you are my long-lost twin 🙂

    Before I Go to Sleep has to qualify on my “best of” list as well, and the others you’ve listed that I’ve read myself (The White Devil, Caribou Island, The Radleys, The Sandalwood Tree, Left Neglected, The Night Circus) – they were all well-loved by me as well. Great list!

  23. Trisha says:

    I’ve heard such great things about The White Devil, but I still haven’t picked it up. I clearly should.

  24. Novroz says:

    I have just finished writing my best books in 2011 and now searching for people’s best books as reference for 2012 🙂

    You have quite a list Judith…I take note of those mystery books you like

  25. I enjoyed The Radleys and am looking forward to reading Before I Go to Sleep next week. Camilla Gibb’s new book is another I’m looking forward to. I’m afraid I wasn’t such a fan of Sandlewood Tree or Caribou Island, but the number of these I’ve read shows how our taste in at least choosing which books to read is very similar! Have a wonderful 2012!

  26. Wow, 178 books?! You rock, Judith! I have a few of those on my shelf already but I haven’t read any of them yet. I wish I could read like you do. Then I might actually pare down my giant TBR pile(s)!

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