Monday, December 26, 2011

Favorite Books from 2011’s Reading

Naming this year’s reading favorites didn’t require (m)any hard choices: my top two books of 2011 were both so enjoyable, so perfect for my reading taste—which seems paradoxical since they are stylistically so very different—that I barely had to look over the year’s posts to be sure I knew what I was choosing. Here you go:

Favorite book originally written in English: John Williams’s Stoner (previous post) is beautifully written and structured, a neat novel about messy emotional lives.

Favorite book translated into English: Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog(previous post), translated from the German original by Ross Benjamin, is a wonderful book about life, death, and memory. Benjamin’s translation made me eager to read his translation of Joseph Roth’s Job, patiently waiting on my shelf.

A few other books stood out for various reasons:

Favorite twisted humor: Patrick Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude (previous post), with a main character called Miss Roach, and Ludvík Vaculík’s The Guinea Pigs (translated by Káča Pláčková from the original Czech) (previous post), with a main character who throws rocks at his own kids, were both filled with strange scenes and twists.

Favorite memorable scene: I especially loved the vivid carnivalesque Thursday dance night scene toward the end of Dawn Powell’s Dance Night (previous post)…

I wish everyone a happy, healthy 2012 that brings many new favorite books!

Up next: I’m not sure…

Disclaimers. The usual. A repeated thank you to those who sent me books mentioned in this post: Regal Literary (Funeral for a Dog), my bookstore friend (Slaves of Solitude), and Open Letter (The Guinea Pigs). Further disclaimer information is on each referenced page cited here.

Image credit: Fireworks in Bratislava, New Year 2005, from Ondrejk, via Wikipedia.

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