Favorite Books of 2011
When I’m not writing…reports, white papers, and analyses (ha! you wish I was working on the WIP), I read these things called books. For me, 2011 was a great year for comic books, graphic novels, and children’s books. I did read the occasional romance, but none really stood out for me. Then again, my romance reading slump has been going on for a while.
Anyway, here are my favorite books (excluding comic books and graphic novels, otherwise the entire list would be comprised of Mike Mignola and Paul Dini titles) of 2011:
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain. Irreverent, laced with profanity, and painfully honest, just like the man himself, which means you might die laughing while reading the book. If you love watching Bourdain on No Reservations or Top Chef, you have to read the book.
- The Kane Chronicles series (Books 1 & 2) by Rick Riordan. When a magical accident unleashes the Egyptian gods into the modern world, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane discover they are descendants of powerful Egyptian magicians and have to set things right. I hated, hated, HATED Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians series because Percy Jackson rubbed me the wrong way and there were so many illogical and outright wrong details that made me want to tear my hair out. Unlike Percy Jackson and friends, Carter and Sadie are witty, resourceful, and more realistic (yes, I used realistic to describe characters in a fantasy series). And I always did prefer Egyptian mythology to Greek.
- The Heroes of Olympus series (Books 1 & 2) by Rick Riordan. A continuation of the Camp Half-Blood series with a new prophecy, but now there’s a rival camp with descendents of the Roman gods. Despite the inclusion of Percy Jackson and friends, the new and old characters are more mature and, unlike the first Camp Half-Blood series, Riordan’s distanced enough from the Harry Potter series that I didn’t spend the entire time comparing him to J.K. Rowling—unfavorably. I admire Riordan for including non-Caucasian protagonists because diversity’s a good thing. Fast-paced and action-packed like all his books and teeming with awesome mythological tidbits and details that were properly fact-checked, I breezed through the first two titles and cursed Riordan for not writing faster.
- The 39 Clues series (Books 1-10) by various authors. Siblings Amy and Dan Cahill try to thwart other Cahills to get thirty-nine clues, which will make the finder the most powerful and influential person on the planet. Yes, it’s a children’s series but it’s funny, fast-paced, and pretty darn engrossing. I chuckled, I teared up, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I actually learned a few interesting historical tidbits. The most surprising thing about this series is that despite being written by seven different authors, the flow from book to book is seamless and the voice is fairly consistent throughout.
- Shaken by J.A. Konrath. Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels may have finally met her match in “Mr. K,” the brutal serial killer who has eluded Jack not once, but twice, over the years. Jack is a kick-ass heroine who’s also a smart-ass. And the secondary characters are pretty funny and awesome too. Konrath is the only author who makes me laugh out loud.
- Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag. Back with FBI profiler Vince Leone and his wife, Anne, as they hunt down another killer in the tiny, upscale community of Oak Knoll. (Proportionately, Oak Knoll is more dangerous than NYC.) I love Hoag’s gritty characters and intricate plots so much I’m willing to overlook the eighties setting.
- Angelic by Kelley Armstrong. I love Eve Levine and am willing to pay hardcover prices for a novella for her. The mystery in this novella won’t stump a two-year-old, but Eve’s kick-ass and smart and willing to bend the rules when need be, so it’s totally worth reading. Honestly, I read Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series for glimpses of Eve, despite finding most of the other characters annoying.
Any recommendations for 2012?