18 December 2011

All-year favorite books

1. Don Quixote, tr. John Rutherford

2. Chronicle of My Mother by Inoue Yasushi, tr. Jean Oda Moy

3. The Ubu Plays by Alfred Jarry, tr. Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor

4. Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald, tr. Anthea Bell

5. Chess by Stefan Zweig, tr. Anthea Bell

6. Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories by Kōno Taeko, tr. Lucy North and Lucy Lower

7. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

8. On Translation by Paul Ricoeur, tr. Eileen Brennan

9. Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me by Javier Marías, tr. Margaret Jull Costa

10. Stasiland by Anna Funder

11. The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson

I've selected 11 books for my favorites list (6 fiction, 4 nonfiction, and a volume of plays) out of 57 books read, down from 80 last year. My total of fiction read outnumbered the nonfiction, 38 to 12. Male writers outnumbered female writers, 45 to 10. My most read authors were Murakami Haruki (6 books) and Javier Marías (4). Total of translations read was 40, mostly from the Japanese (13), Spanish (9), and German (7).

Books read in 2011


  1. A really fantastic & eclectic list here most I've read the posts on & have added to my wishlists, but don't recall On Translation by Paul Ricoeur, which I'm now off to check out, Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. A good year - it's quality, not quantity, that counts ;) I hope 2012 is as productive for you :)

  3. A very interesting list. I've read a few but not all of them, so will take some mental notes. Especially of the Japanese authors.
    I think I only have more titles because I read so many novellas.

  4. Ryan, I so adore your literary taste. :)

  5. Ubu ubu ubu. Me too, that one's going on my list.

  6. Tony, thanks. Yes, it's a good year over all.

    Caroline, I've got a couple of novellas too. Quick snack. They easily lighten up the TBR.

    Kristine, thanks! I do hope to be able to read some more poetry in the coming year too.

    Tom, Ma and Pa Ubu made their gory mark.

  7. Eclectic as ever, mixing ancient and modern from world-lit. A few of these may be considered obscure in time, but there's a few classics here too. Happy Xmas Rise !

  8. Happy Christmas, Kevin! I'll be reading a few more short length books, to get to a round 60 books read.

  9. Leonora Carrington -' The Hearing Trumpet' a short but rewarding work of surrealism.

  10. Interesting book, Kevin. I looked it up. I was only aware of Elena Poniatowska's biography of Carrington.

  11. Oh good heavens. Thanks to everyone's end-of-year favorites, my wish list has ballooned to over 600 items this week, including all of the works you've listed here that I haven't yet read (I'm still trying to hunt down that Ricoeur book...). Thanks for so many inspiring reviews this year Rise! Onward to 2012!

  12. Thanks, Scott. I read five more books since posting my favorites, and I'm tempted to add two more titles to the list. :p It's a struggle to keep my book purchases this month, justifying them as holiday expense. But getting a new book always feels like Christmas.
    A happy new year to you too! Looking forward to new blogposts from you as well.

  13. Of the eleven listed above, I've read only two: the Orwell and the Quixote. I'm no fan of Orwell and did not appreciate Quixote that time but would like to read it again sometime. I also hope I could get hold of any book by Sebald or Marias soon. :)

  14. Karlo, good luck on finding books by Sebald or Marias. I rarely see their books in used book stores but I got some from BookMooch.