I’ll soon post something more geekish, full of statistics and analysis (the type of post only you, dear bookish friends, will understand and appreciate), so this one is just about the Best of 2011.

I gave five stars to 14 books out of 104, which is pretty good considering past years, but I’m especially happy with their variety. They include:

  • Historical novels, non-fiction, classics, young adult, humor, fantasy and sci-fi
  • Two were re-reads
  • Two non-fiction
  • Three audiobooks
  • Two under 200 pages, two over 900
  • Seven written by men, seven by women
  • Three written in the 19th century, five in the 20th and six in the 21th

The top 10 (in no order)

Master and Commander and Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian

I think this is the begining of a beautiful friendship. These books pushed all the right buttons.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

If you put a gun to my head and force me to chose just one 2011 favorite, I think this would be it.

The Brontës by Juliet Barker (part one and part two)

A great biography, one of the best I’ve read.

Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Amin

Thank you Claire for your review – it made me add it to the wishlist, and thank you Downton Abbey for mentioning it – it made it a priority.

Starter for Ten by David Nicholls

Such a funny book, and about quizzes, how could I not love it?

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Hard to describe this one. Mind-blowing and mind-boggling sounds about right.

Race of Scorpions (House of Niccolo 3) by Dorothy Dunnett

I’m only reading one book of this series a year because you only read DD for the first time once. I dread the day they will come to an end, even with re-reads to look forward to.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

IT was even better the second time around. I read it first in my 20s, now I’m in my 30s and see it in a completely different way. I wonder what I’ll make of it in a decade.

Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Another great re-read. Close to YA perfection, in my not so humble opinion. My ultimate comfort reading.

The four runner-ups

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by L. Lockhart

Thank you book blogosphere for this recommendation, it was true to all the raving.

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Wester

A beautiful little book, which surprised me by how modern it felt.

The Coma by Alex Garland

The best audiobook of the year, in great part due to Matthew Macfadyen’s wonderful voice.

The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

A wonderful way to end the year and one of the reasons I’m naming 2011 The Year When I Truly Discovered Non-Fiction.

Happy 2012 everyone!