Tuesday 27 December 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Books of 2011!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

There are so many brilliant books I've read during 2011 - many more than ten, but for the interests of winding it all up in my mind and also for the purposes of my Blogoversary Giveaway, (which will be taking place around about January 8th/9th so keep an eye out), here are the top ten!

1. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I don't have a review for this, as I never got around to writing one, but I adored this book, and it's made me a die hard fan of Sarah Addison Allen. Also, the cover is very pretty:

2.  How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran - this is probably the most hilarious book I've read since I first read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, aged eleven. Moran is brilliant and talks about all the parts of being a woman that nobody else ever does. 

3. Howards End is On the Landing by Susan Hill - I love books about books, and this was the most absorbing one I read this year. It's a brilliant concept - for one entire year Hill only read the books that she already had in her house. I thought that I had a lot of books, but compared to her I'm an amatuer. I came away from this book with an absolutely gigantic reading list, and it also has a gorgeous cover.
4. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - I discovered this accidentally in the library, and it was my first foray into non-fantasy based graphic novels. I cannot stress enough how hilarious this book is. It's Satrapi's autobiography of growing up in Iran, told in graphic form. I got the film, too, and it's brilliant. 
5. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - 2011 seems to have been my year of reading books about Iran, but Reading Lolita in Tehran was another book about books - about Nafisi's love of books, and her experience of living in a country where they weren't readily available. Her story inspired me, and her bravery in teaching women about literature when they were hardly allowed to do anything amazed me. 

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I don't read YA, but so many people were talking about this and it sounded like the kind of thing I might like, and my local library had it, so I caved. I'm so glad that I did. The Hunger Games was brilliant - it made me cry which is a big achievement for a book! I'm not sure about the movie, but I reckon I'll probably give in and see it. I just hope it doesn't kill it for me. 
7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - this really should have been at number one. It is without a doubt my absolute favourite book of 2011, if not of all time. I have never read anything quite like it before in my life. Not only was it brilliantly written and engaging, it was an absolute work of art, and as soon as I closed it I wanted to read it again. It's been out of our house doing the tour of duty at my mums' for a couple of months, and we are seriously contemplating buying another copy, so we have one to lend and still always have one in the house. If you haven't already read it, read it now and thank me later!

 8.  The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild - A childhood favourite, I re-read this book this year and loved it just as much as I did as a child. Sort of a sequel to Streatfeild's most well - known book, Ballet Shoes, this is the story of the Winter family and their exploits when they take a trip to L.A. 

9. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - Circuses are awesome things. This is less magical than The Night Circus, but I loved the storyline. I have still to see the film, but I'm excited about it. 
10. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley - a graphic novel about a girl whose soul has been stolen by a cat. If I'd read the Scott Pilgrim series this year, they would definitely be on this list, but as I didn't this one must suffice! 

All of these books will be part of my first blogoversary giveaway in early January so make sure you come back and see me then!


  1. i love your list! i loved garden spells too. and isnt that a lovely cover? night circus is next for me and it sounds like i'll be in for a treat!

  2. I had the same experience with The Hunger Games. I definitely do NOT read YA fiction, but I gave them a try and I was in awe. I think there are so many layers of interpretation that both youths and adults can read them and have fun.

    I'm notting down a few of your books, especially Howards End is On the Landing. By the way, if you love books about books (and books about people who love books) you should try The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I read it this summer and I can't wait to re-read it. Plus, Eleanor is on Twitter and she is very down to earth and sweet.

  3. I've been waiting and waiting to see if Night Circus is worth buying. Thank you for the recommendation!

    I'm off to visit every blog with a Top Ten of 2011 list and add all the intriguing titles to my (already very lengthy) wishlist at Amazon. Thanks for your list!

    Here's my Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011.

  4. I read Garden Spells last year and loved it! Great list! Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

  5. Ohhh, I forgot about Howard's End is on the Landing. I loved that! Then again, I don't know which of my books I'd replace with it, so maybe it'd just be an honourable mention.

    I wish I'd persevered with Reading Lolita in Tehran, but I remember not really getting along with it at all. Might give it another go if I see it in the library.

    I can't wait to read Water for Elephants in 2012. Ape House is wonderful and I've heard that that's even better.

  6. Love the list! I read The Night Circus too and agree - amazing. As is The Hunger Games series.

  7. Fantastic list, your choices sound amazing! I agree, the cover for Garden Spells is gorgeous and The Night Circus is just all sorts of wonderful =D

    Here's my Top Ten list!

  8. Wonderful list. I haven't read Night Circus yet, but your praise is definitely inspiring me to do so.

    ~Nikki @ Imaginative Adventure

    Check out my Top ten.

  9. I love your list. I found How to Be A Woman extremely funny too. I had my eye on the Susan Hill book but you are the first person I have come across who has read it. It's now on order. Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. I love all of Sarah Addison Allen's books and The Hunger Games is awesome. I'm getting desperate to read The Night Circus, it's on many lists today.

  11. I totally agree with you on The Night Circus! I loved it so much I ended up creating a fanpage for it and a board on Pinterest! I cannot wait for Erin Morgenstern's next book.

    You have such a fantastic list! I'm adding some of them on to my to-read list and following your blog now! :)

  12. I keep hearing such good things about Sarah Addison Allen that I just ordered one of her books from paperbackswap. Persepolis is also one of my favorite graphic novels.

  13. So many awesome titles! I'll be checking out How to be a Woman and Howards End is on the Landing in the next few months. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Sarah Allen Addison was my discovery of 2010 - how wonderful are her books?! Garden Spells is my favorite. When I returned from my Xmas holidays I had The Peach Keeper waiting for me in the post - hurrah :)