Best Books of 2011: The Washington Post Edition

The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2011 list is a slideshow, which almost disqualified it from being featured on this blog out of sheer snobbiness.  Their list is completely different from that of the New York Times, however, and shows greater world diversity.

FICTION
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – I’ve heard so many good things about this book!  I can’t wait to read it.  Murakami is a great author.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy – This sweeping historical epic about India sounds fascinating.  Any generation-sweeping, caste-breaking story set in India is bound to be good.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – I loved Bel Canto with a wild passion.  I can’t wait to read this book about pharmaceudical companies in the Amazon.  It sounds a bit like The Constant Gardener, another great book.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell – Another favorite author!  This book departs from Russell’s previous works and heads for the Wild West to follow the story of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.  I’m intrigued to see how it matches up to her previous works.

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell – The Post describes this book as “gritty but tender” with an “unforgettable heroine.”  I think I’ll add it to my to-read list.

NONFICTION
Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius  by Sylvia Nasar – The author of A Beautiful Mind is back with another book about economics, this one a history.  As an insatiable economist, how can I resist?

Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 by Paul Hendrickson – Another Heminway biography.  Not sure what to think – it kind of sounds like a catch-all book that may be lacking in focus and narrative.

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China by Ezra F. Vogel – This book sounds very interesting.  China is hardly transparent, so any book about it’s transition to capitalism has high ambition. I’ll probably put this one on the list.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I’ve heard good things about this biography, but I’m no Jobs worshiper.  I’ll probably pass this one up.

The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War by Peter Englund – The two World Wars are my favorite historical time period.  Englund’s book is a collection of first-hand accounts.  I’ll definitely be reading this!

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