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    Book Club in a Bag

    What Were YOUR Favourite Books from 2011?

    by Shannon S - 5 Comment(s)

    It’s that time of year when we look back at our favourites of 2011! We read a lot of great books this year – and we have an even bigger pile of ‘meant-to-reads’ from this year. We thought we’d reveal some of our picks for Best of 2011.

    And…we’re asking for YOUR picks for Best Reads of 2011.

    In fact if you comment on our Facebook page or on the blog posting with your picks we’ll do up a new post with a compilation of all of YOUR recommendations. Wouldn’t that be a great list to start 2012 off with?!

    So we’ll show you some of ours…and you can show us some of yours!

    The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

    After he crashes his plane into Lake Champlain, killing most of the passengers, Chip Linton moves into a new home with his wife and twin daughters and soon finds himself being haunted by the dead passengers, all while his wife wonders why the strange herbalist denizens of the town have taken such an interest in her daughters. This atmospheric and creepy story will keep you up far past your bedtime!

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

    Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure. This literary paranormal romantic mystery is sure to have something for everyone!

    Embassytown by China Miéville

    Retaining a tenuous peace on a distant planet in the far future, humans and aliens work together through a mutually beneficial economic arrangement that is threatened by the arrival of a new group of humans that destabilizes the world's balance. A challenging but oh-so-worth-it read! Miéville is a brilliant storyteller.

    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    The Bigtree children struggle to protect their Florida Everglades alligator-wrestling theme park from a sophisticated competitor after losing their parents. From the far-out and bizarre—alligator wrestlers and ghost-possession-romance—to the emotional landscapes we all face—sibling and family dynamics, dealing with loss, Swamplandia! has it all… what will draw you in and keep you riveted, though, is the way Russell perfectly captures all those intangible moments in the lives of her characters that you will recognize from your own life.

    A Red Herring Without Mustard by C. Alan Bradley

    When a Gypsy woman is wrongly accused of kidnapping a local child, precocious young Flavia de Luce draws on her encyclopedic knowledge of poisons and Gypsy lore to discern what really happened while investigating the mystery of her own mother's fate. We love precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce the central character of Bradley's award-winning mystery series and you should too!

    What are your picks for Best Book of 2011?

    *Annotations courtesy of CPL staff and NoveList, a database that recommends fiction and non-fiction books by author, plot, setting and topic and includes book reviews.

    If you want to use this resource for great reads, just click here and log on with your Calgary Public Library card.


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    by Tyler J.
    I was so sure that at the end of 2011 I would look back and declare Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers the best book I had read this year. Then I read Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson. Johnson is capable of such concentrated writing that he can say in 100 pages what most others can't in 1,000. He perfectly blends the real and the abstract in way that seems more authentic than any other author I can think of.I Can not recommend it highly enough.
    by Shannon S
    Ooh! Those are some great ones! Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and The Free World by David Berzmozgis are both in my to-be-read-soon pile. I've read all the previous books in George R.R. Martin's series but the wait was so long for A Dance of Dragons to come out that I've had to go back and re-read the early novels to remind myself of all the juicy and intricate plots in Martin's fantasy world - but I'll get to it soon. When God Was a Rabbit was a novel that I missed coming out but I just read reviews of it and everyone is raving about it so I guess it's going in the to-be-read-soon pile too! Thanks for all the great ideas! So many good books and too little time...
    by Mandy
    I'll start this endeavor off with a few of my personal favorites! In no particular order (summaries from NoveList): Bossypants by Tina Fey From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin New threats emerge to endanger the future of the Seven Kingdoms, as Daenerys Targaryen fights off a multitude of enemies, while Jon Snow faces his foes both in the Watch and beyond the great Wall of ice and stone. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami An ode to George Orwell's "1984" told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer. A story of a man and woman searching for each other.
    by Rebecca Knight
    When God Was a Rabbit Touching and suprising Mick Jagger: Rebel, Rockstar, Rover, and Rogue Entetrtaining and fun
    by Cookie Maker
    Room by Emma Donaghue may be the best book I read in 2011, surprising me by being filled with love instead of the monstrous evil I was expecting. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright has wit and intelligence hard coded into every sentence. Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman is a boy's love letter to the world, a celebration of the awesomeness of life, even when life means trying to survive in a crime-infested housing project. The Free World by David Bezmozgis is a book about losing everything and trying to start over in a new country, told with no cliches and blatant honesty. What a great year for books this has been!

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