John stole my thunder and pointed out the New York Times Best of 2011 list last week, but more are pouring in. The Globe and Mail has named theirs. Early Word has its children’s book lists up. Publisher’s Weekly is breaking it down category by category.
And already, a few things are clear: as more of these lists come in, we’ll be seeing lots and lots of mentions of the new Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, and Jeffrey Eugenides novels. Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor will dominate the young adult lists. And I’ll personally dedicate at least five hours to mourning the fact that there isn’t enough time in the world to read every book I want to. I could choose to be positive about this and be happy that there are enough good books that I know for sure I’ll never run out of new worlds to explore. But let’s be honest: that kind of radiant positivity just isn’t my style.
Meanwhile, I want to know what YOUR favorite book was this year. And don’t worry about when it was published. I just want to know what the most transcendent reading experience of your year was. I’m torn between a completely commercial young adult novel that I found compulsively readable and endlessly entertaining (Marie Lu’s Legend) and an adult novella that sneaks up on you with its depth and beauty before delivering a heartbreaking sucker punch of an ending (Justin Torres’s stunning We the Animals). One kept me at the edge of my seat. The other made me cry like a small child. But I’m asking you to choose a single book, so I’ll do the same and go with Torres.
Of course, the problem with making these calls is that as soon as you do, I start to feel bad for other books that I didn’t choose. The Art of Fielding stands out. Man, that book was great. But what about you? What’s the most exciting thing you read this year?