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Much thought went into this list…

As promised, here is my list of the best books I read in 2011.  This is a very subjective and unscientific list, with my personal enjoyment being the primary criterion used to make the selections.  The second criterion was recommendability (oh yes, new word), meaning I tried to pick books that I thought my readers might also enjoy.  Please don’t consider this list an effort at serious literary criticism.  That said, on to the list.

Honorable Mentions
I will start with the honorable mentions of the past year before moving on to the top ten tomorrow.  These books didn’t quite make my top ten for 2011, but they were too good to leave out completely.
This story of perseverance and determination in the face of unspeakable hardship is a beautiful piece of writing.  It tells the story of four urban men on a canoe trip gone horribly wrong.  Intense, engaging, frightening and vivid.  One of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read.
This novel blew me away.  It’s depiction of familial dysfunction is both poignant and hilarious.  Franzen has a gift for creating characters that are at once outrageous and utterly believable.
 Described as Kazantzakis’ fictionalized autobiography, Greco is one of the most honest spiritual confessions I have ever read.  The author presents his intellectual and spiritual development for all to see.  His descriptions are beautiful and his philosophy is sincere.  This is not a book to casually read.  It is a book to savor.
Le Carre is the king of the spy story.  Tinker, Tailor centers on retired super-spy George Smiley, who is investigating a mole at the top of British Intelligence.  The plot keeps you guessing until the very end and the writing is wonderfully intelligent.  I can’t wait to see the new movie version!
The War of the Roses Tetralogy by William Shakespeare
Consisting of Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III, the War of the Roses tetralogy is an outstanding example of Shakespeare’s dramatic prowess.  All of the plays are very enjoyable, but Richard III is definitely the best.  Read all four of them to get the entire story.

Stay tuned for the top ten tomorrow!