The Best Book I Read in 2011

Stephen King is receiving a lot of praise for his new doorstop 11/22/63. For all I know, that praise may be justified, and one day soon I will see for myself. But it’s hard for me to imagine that King’s assassination epic will be as good as Don DeLillo’s often-overlooked assassination epic Libra. I wrote the following mini-essay about the book on my Goodreads profile earlier this year; I reprint it here because I have nothing further to add to it. It took a while to get into, but no other book had my mind swimming during and afterward as much as this one.

For the record, here are the other books I’ve chosen over the last few years as my favorite reads of the year:

2005: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss
2006: The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
2007: American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
2008: The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
2009:  Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner
2010: Remainder, by Tom McCarthy

And now, this year, Don DeLillo’s Libra:

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My Favorite Books Read in 2011

I seem to have hit a snag in my nascent Time 100 project; namely, I started to read the third book, Catch-22, then got side-tracked about a month ago and haven’t returned to it since. But I will finish it before the end of the year and post something on it: my pre-New Year resolution.

To keep this blog semi-relevant until then, I thought I’d offer some thoughts on the 12 books I liked best in 2011 — not, mind you, books necessarily published in 2011. I haven’t ranked most of them beyond including them on this list, so the first 11 are in alphabetical order by author, and the twelfth, which I’ll post separately, is my choice for Favorite Read of 2011.

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