top six reads of 2011...and what I read in december

on Friday, January 6, 2012

December was a very light on month for reading I'm afraid, but I did manage a few, somewhere in between the manic last few weeks of work, Christmas nonsenses and NYE they are:
Great House by Nicole Krauss - fiction
Shoe Money by Maggie Alderson - a selection of newspaper columns
Angel Puss by Colleen McCullough - fiction
All That I Am by Anna Funder - fiction
Freedom by Jonathon Franzen - fiction

Apart from the short collection of columns, all of these books were very good reads. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Angel Puss, set in Kings Cross, just around the corner from where the first born used to live, it was incredibly evocative of the area and the people who inhabit it. I bought it from a remainders bin on a whim...good use of a spare $4.95! 

And now the hard favourite books of 2011. All in all I read 77 books last year (still finding it hard to say last year!). I was only going to nominate five, but a six book collage was easier to make J Bloody heck it was hard...even my very favourite author didn't make the cut this time! Because I read so much, the books I chose were the ones that have stayed with me...the ones I don't have to remind myself what they were about, the ones that made me cry, question, wonder, smile, cringe...the ones with 'staying power'. So, for what it's recommendations for incredibly good reads are, in no particular order because no way am I picking a no. 1 (oh, ok...Peter Carey!)...
In order of reading:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 
(a famous dying author summons an obscure unknown author to record her autobiography...ancient houses, bookshops, 'ghosts' and heartbreaks);
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
(A french nobleman and an english servant travel to the new world...full of beautiful historical detail...I especially loved the early days of Manhattan... wit, friendship and love)
The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
(a very well written account of a pointless death, life on Palm Island and the brutality of our treatment of indigenous australians, but with a balanced compassion for all sides in this story)
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
(a 50 year old Harvard professor suffers from early onset alzheimers. This book's every word was enthralling, highlighting both the inner and outer 'workings' of the disease with an incredible sympathy for the sufferer and her family as they come to grips with what it all means)
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
(a thriller...not everyone likes this I know, but I found it  fascinating and different. The heroine is unusual...a bit like Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium Trilogy...hard to like but you just have to know what happens to her)
All That I Am by Anna Funder
(the story of a group of Jewish Germans and their resistance to Hitler in the 1930s, set then and in the present through the reminiscences of Ruth, an old woman living in Sydney. Based on fact, it's a story of right and wrong, deceit, justice and injustice. Loved it.)
So there you have it! I hope to read more than 77 books in 2012, but I haven't started all that well...I've been painting my bedroom and putting up picture ledges. I'll show you all that when I get back from there on Monday for a holiday...and I'm having dinner with two bloggers on Wednesday...yippee!!