January 3, 2012

A Tough Decision: The Very Best Books of 2011

My official book count for 2011 was 130! (A total of 45,369 pages).
I totally smashed my original goal of 110, and even my secondary goal of 125. Yay!

(I took these screenshots on 12/28, which is why they're a bit out of date).

And now, without further ado, it's time to announce what I think were the best fiction and best nonfiction books I read in 2011. The contenders are the 'semi-finalists', which I talked about in parts one, two, and three. Ready to find out which books come out overall winners?

(drumroll please)

My pick for best fiction is...a three-way tie. Between two new books: Henning Mankell's The Man From Beijing, Lev Grossman's The Magician King, and a great re-read, L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. I really couldn't decide which was my overall pick, so they're just going to have to share. Besides, it makes me a true quirky bookworm if my three picks are (1) slightly saccharine young adult lit (2) a gritty fantasy novel and (3) a complicated international mystery, right?

My pick for best nonfiction is...Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I came thisclose to picking Joseph Ellis's First Family, but I have to give a slight edge to Team of Rivals for having so much new-to-me history between its pages. It really was superb.

And, in the spirit of tradition, I'm also announcing my goal for 2012. Last year I was employed full-time for the first 2/3 of the year, and I still got to 130. So this year my goal is 150! I think I may also set some smaller goals for myself -- like more nonfiction, less fiction, more classics, etc. I'm going to have to think a bit more about those before I set them in stone though.

How about you? Have you set a goal for 2012? It's fun to have a challenge in mind!