What I read in 2011

The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace

Here are the books I read in 2011, with links to reviews where I have them. As I’ve done in previous years, this is an exhaustive, “all of” list, not a best of list … although there are some “best of” books in there … can you guess which ones? It feels like it was a another year of lively reads indeed. While I reviewed fewer books, I do feel like this was a year of stretching in terms of genres and subject matter to which I wouldn’t normally gravitate – and I’m glad for what I learned by stretching. I’m not a big resolution maker, but I think I can safely resolve to do more stretching with my reading in 2012.

  1. Patient Frame
    by Steven Heighton

  2. The Water Rat of Wanchai
    by Ian Hamilton

  3. Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
    by Zsuzsi Gartner

  4. The Canterbury Trail
    by Angie Abdou

  5. Pigeon English
    by Stephen Kelman

  6. The Year of Broken Glass
    by Joe Denham

  7. Irma Voth
    by Miriam Toews

  8. The Bird Sisters
    by Rebecca Rasmussen

  9. A Visit From the Goon Squad
    by Jennifer Egan

  10. Lookout
    by John Steffler

  11. The Guilty Plea
    by Robert Rotenberg

  12. Up Up Up
    by Julie Booker

  13. The Empty Family
    by Colm Toibin

  14. Ossuaries
    by Dionne Brand

  15. Skippy Dies
    by Paul Murray

  16. The Cat’s Table
    by Michael Ondaatje

  17. Offshore
    by Penelope Fitzgerald (reread)

  18. The Ghost Brush
    by Katherine Govier

  19. Girlwood
    by Jennifer Still

  20. Practical Jean
    by Trevor Cole

  21. Hooked
    by Carolyn Smart

  22. Rin Tin Tin – The Life and the Legend
    by Susan Orlean

  23. Appointment in Samarra
    by John O’Hara

  24. The Pale King
    by David Foster Wallace

  25. The Sense of an Ending
    by Julian Barnes

  26. Cool Water
    by Dianne Warren

  27. The Antagonist
    by Lynn Coady
    (Reading guide questions)

  28. Indexical Elegies
    by Jon Paul Fiorentino

  29. Short Talks
    by Anne Carson

  30. Doctor Brinkley’s Tower
    by Robert Hough
    (Reading guide questions)

  31. Elimination Dance / La danse eliminatoire
    by Michael Ondaatje (trans. Lola Lemire Tostevin)

  32. A Good Man
    by Guy Vanderhaeghe

  33. Go the Fuck to Sleep
    by Adam Mansbach
    Hee hee …

  34. Making Light of Tragedy
    by Jessica Grant

  35. Easy to Like
    by Edward Riche
    (Reading guide questions)

  36. The Odious Child
    by Carolyn Black

  37. The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth
    by Stuart Clark

  38. Prisoner of Tehran
    by Marina Nemat

  39. The Tiger
    by John Vaillant

  40. Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
    by John Updike

I start 2012 with the following books started in 2011 and still in progress:

  • The Game
    by Ken Dryden
  • The Marriage Plot
    by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Antagonist
    by Lynn Coady (reread)
  • Drawing Back to Take a Running Jump, by Lorne Daniel


… and, ahem, I start 2012 with the following books started in 2010 and still in progress (I nibbled on both of them this past year – honest):

  • Voltaire’s Bastards
    by John Ralston Saul
  • The Mill on the Floss
    by George Eliot


In 2010, I read 43 books, inspired a lot by great discussions and suggestions I found amongst the book blogging and reader community on Twitter. I didn’t match my 2010 or even more ambitious 2009 totals – not even close, really… I have to ask again, though, are total numbers of books or pages really the point? What do you think?

In 2011, I was delighted to include some contributions to this blog by way of guest reviewers, as follows:

I’m keen to welcome more guest reviewers here in 2012.

So … onward into the TBR pile!

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