Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favorites of 2011: Books

For the last few days of the year, I'm going to give you an unsolicited rundown of some of my favorite things that were either new or new to me in 2011.  Today it's books, tomorrow it will be movies, and the day after that it will be art and music.  These are by no means the best books of the year, but of the ones I read, they are my favorite.

I was sadly unaware of China Mieville's work until I came across this little gem.  All I needed to read was this phrase from the description:  ...the congregation of god kraken.  When I began reading, I thought I'd discovered an author much like my favorite, Neil Gaiman.  There were paragraphs where I thought that this was Gaiman with Terry Pratchett again, but then it would go all Stephen King on my ass.  I soon stopped trying to compare it to anything and just let the strange wash over me.  Mieville has his own voice--articulate, highly educated, and weirder than your old uncle who's gone off his rocker.  Beware the Kraken!  It stirs!

I have mentioned Bossypants by Tina Fey approximately seven thousand times in this blog, which I began in February.  I have mentioned it in posts about photography.  I have mentioned it in posts about movies.  I've mentioned it in posts about politics, and humanism, and Severus Snape.  I've credited Bossypants when gas prices have gone down, when cities have cut down on light pollution, and I think it was the reason those lady sailors were allowed to kiss.  I like Bossypants in a box.  I like Bossypants with a fox.

Tina Fey is smart and funny.  You should read her book.  It is entitled Bossypants.

The new and last in the Inheritance Cycle by the genius (young, distractingly fit) Christopher Paolini.  It's clear that this guy devoured Lord of the Rings, Earthsea, and all manner of fantasy classics as a small child.  Not that he immitates, but in the same manner as these authors he has created an entire world with these books; a world with its own history, languages, customs, and its own brand of goodies and baddies.  These belong on the shelf with Tolkien and Rowling and Pullman (oh, my!).

A History of God by Karen Armstrong and Good Without God by Greg Epstein.
Throughout life, veils are lifted.  There may be a man behind the curtain, or there may just be a bunch of weird shit to sort out.  These are two of the books that helped me do that.  There will be many more.

That's all I have time for now, but I read some great books in 2011, and I hope you did, too.  If you want, tell me about them in the comments.  If not, no worries--just keep reading, and won't we all just be a bunch of informed and entertained smarties.


  1. I'm curious, Michelle. Would you, by chance, have read Bossypants by Tina Fey? My gut intuition tells me you might have.

    More seriously: The book sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Well spotted, Paul! It made me laugh, and that always makes me crazy-fond. I fear I may have oversold it. ;) What can I say--she's a funny lady. :)

  3. Bossypants has been on my list for awhile now!!!

    My friend Erich won't stop talking about A History of God either.

    I need to pick up both of those.

  4. Sulli--glad it's on your list. :)

    I need to read A History of God again, because there's so much to take in. Sigh. So many books, so little time--especially for re-reading stuff.

    I meant to swing by your place today and comment about Tomb Raider--a.) I need to watch them again, because it's been ages. b.) I'll never see them again without picturing Porter Rockwell in them...that's a mash-up waiting to happen, and c.) I love that when you go to church you'll be outwardly pierced and inwardly fantasizing about Angelina Jolie. :)


Always feel free to chime in.