Best of 2011, Bookwise-speaking

These are, of course, not books published in 2011 but books
I read in 2011

Best Goofy Sci-Fi Scenario

Eifelheim, Michael Flynn (Space aliens land in a medieval German village and discuss cosmology and ethics with the local priest).
Blogged in Remember
the 1340s?


Funniest Novel

Weird Sisters, Terry Pratchett (along with others of the Discworld series…imagine Lord of the Rings written by PG Wodehouse).Blogged in This thane walks into a bar


Snappiest Literary Style, classic

Human Voices, Penelope FitzGerald (also pretty funny).
Blogged in The end of the world news

runner-up: Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill(also touching—who knew Winston liked the French so much?).Blogged in A child’s garden of shrapnel


Snappiest Literary Style, modern

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz. Blogged in How
do you say ‘bachata‘ in Elvish?


Most Obseessively and Infectiously Imagined Fantasy World

A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R.Martin.Blogged in
A Song of S and M


Worst Fiction

The Dogs of Riga, Henning Mankell.Mankell is not exactly Tony Hillerman on his best day, and this is very far from his best.One waits in vain for an actual mystery with actual clues…instead all one gets is atmosphere, to wit, Riga in winter in the aftermath of the Soviet occupation, which provldes a setting where a Swede can be even more depressed than he is at home.


Worst Non-fiction

Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World, Norman Cantor.Demoralizingly careless hackwork, it’s a shame that trees were killed for this. Blogged in There’s
a lot of ruins in Mesopotamia


Best Literary Criticism in a Poem

Noose and Hook, Lynn Emanuel. Blogged in Criticism will be love


Best Poem about a Gay British Biker who Drops Acid and Totally Grooves on a Giant Lit-Up Beer Ad

Selected Poems, Thom Gunn


I Learned a Lot From

From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll. Cool stuff about entropy, kinda lost me at the
end.Blogged in Delight in Disorder and Things fall apart.


A History of Britain, Simon Schama.Any man who calls Thomas Cromwell a Putney cleverdick is worth reading.You wouldn’t think a companion book (actually
3 volumes) to a TV series would be very exciting, but Simon is something of a cleverdick himself.

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