Without further adieu, here they are, in reading order (more or less):
1. Great House by Nicole Krauss
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
4. The Boys of My Youth by Joann Beard
5. City of Thieves by David Benioff
6. Tinkers by Paul Harding
7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vergese
8. Flashlight Memories Ed. Ginny Greene
9. Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
11. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
12. Carry Me Across the Water by Ethan Canin
13. Quiet Americans by Erica Dreifus
14. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
15. The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
16. Composing Ourselves as Writer Teacher Writers: Starting With Wendy Bishop ed. Pat Bizarro, Alys Culhane, Devan Cook
17.Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel
18. Alligators, Old Mink and New Money: One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing Allison Houtte
19. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
20. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
21. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
22. Last Will and Testament by Jim Tinker
23. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
24. The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack
25. One Nation Under Goods by James J. Farrell
26. Dispatches from the Classroom: Graduate Students on Creative Writing Pedagogy ed. Chris Drew, David Yost, Joseph Rein
Lots of really great reads in there, despite the brevity of the list. Wordamour will forever remember 2011 as the year she discovered Nicole Krauss (where was Wordamour living? under a rock?); Great House was mesmerizing. The Architect of Flowers and Quiet Americans, two more riveting, and in the former case, luminously iconoclastic, reads also got the kudos they deserved in other end of year lists. Wonderstruck started slowly but ultimately transported the reader to late 1970’s New York City (one of Wordamour’s favorite times/places) as all the story strands came together as if stitched by an invisble hand. Composing Ourselves as Writer-Teacher-Writers, about Wendy Bishop, was the only “festschriften” of sorts Wordamour has ever read that frequently brought tears.
But as my friend and colleague Graeme Harper likes to say, Onward!
What’s on deck for 2012?
You’ll find out in the The First Book of 2012, coming soon!