As I've said before, I could not call myself a librarian if I did not have at least one post related to books and reading as part of my holiday posting series. Whether you read in an e-reader or you prefer print books, it's all good in the end. Let's have a look at some good books and lists. Maybe you will find a last minute gift idea, or maybe you will find something to add to your reading lists.
These are mostly items by mainstream media, or the usual stuff. It may be something I am noticing this year, but the gag of "asking a bunch of folks what they read and put it on the list" seems to be the theme.Whether it is a publication's own writers or asking a bunch of famous (by varying degrees) people, they basically let others make the lists for them.
- The New York Times presents their 100 Notable Books of 2011.
- So does The Telegraph over here.
- Via The Wall Street Journal, "Twelve Months of Reading," where the newspaper asked a bunch of famous folks what they have been reading.
- Via The New Yorker, their list of their reviewers' favorite books.
- Amazon also gets in the list bandwagon with their list of 100 Best-selling books.
- Here is the list from the folks at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. It is not so much a books of the year; it's really a favorites they read during the past year or that they recommend.
- Here are the picks of authors that Salon gathered.
- Via The Economist, their books of the year. Some serious and deep stuff here, but that is consistent with a serious publication known for its depth in reporting.
- Here is The New York Times Book Review's list of best 10 books in 2011 without the extra NYT baggage. Via the blog 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I tend to like when people take some famous list, remove all the extra verbiage the oh so famous publication puts in and just copies out the actual list so I can get to the point.
- The Financial Times has another serious and grave list of nonfiction for the year. The list is divided into categories such as business and history. There is even a book on testicles; that may be the one I am adding to my reading list.
- Here is The Guardian's Books of the Year list for 2011.
- Via Brain Pickings, here are their 11 Best History Books. The site is also doing a best of series for books, so you may want to go back to the site and browse as well.
- NPR offers their list of "The Best Comics of 2011." There are some interesting items in here. I've read the Locke & Key series, which did start pretty good, but the last installment I read was dragging a bit. So I wonder if the series may be about to jump the shark. Missing from this list is something I definitely regard as one of the best this year: American Vampire. If you are sick and tired of those shitty sparkly vampires or other poor substitutes, you owe it to yourself to pick this series up.
- The Daily Beast has a list of Best Coffee-Table Books.
These are not quite the usual stuff. These items are mostly quirky things I found that I wanted to share with readers. These include science fiction, graphic novels, and other things that I know a few people out there find of interest and enjoy, but the big mainstream folks pretty much fail to cover.
- Billie Bloebaum, writing for the Powell's blog, has a list of her favorite scifi and fantasy novels for the year. Personally, John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is the one that would interest me.
- Eileen Battersby, writing for The Irish Times, lists her books of the year.
- Joshua Kim, of Inside Higher Ed, gives his list of 15 best nonfiction books.
- Via the Shelf Talk blog, here are some book ideas for teens.These folks "know how it is: you want to give those teens on your list something to read this Holiday Season, but don’t want your gift to be tossed aside amongst the socks and sweaters." By the way, don't be that lazy, unoriginal asshat who gives their kids socks and sweaters for Christmas. You do that, and you will be remembered alright: as that lame relative who gives sweaters and socks. Give your teen a good book and encourage his reading habit.
- Shelf Talk blog also has a nice list of picture books ideas for children. You may want to check it out to start encouraging the reading habit early on.
- Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic, offers her 2011 Gift Guide. Hey, get your kids of all ages some good manga to read. We will all thank you for it.
- Strategy+Business presents a retrospective list of significant business books for the 2001-2010 decade. A hat tip to Bob Sutton, who comments on the list.
- IO9 offers a list of "Awesome Graphic Novels That Even Non-comics Readers Will Love." They even do a bit of reader's advisory by telling you who may like what. There are one or two here I would not mind getting myself.
- Adding a bit of LGBT reading to our post. Via Lambda Literary, here is a list of books for gay men, or just readers who enjoy gay romances. Here is "Book Lovers: The 12 Days of Christmas." (Warning: some content on the may be risque for some people, though the post itself is not too risque)
- Nice to read, if you can get your hands on some of these. Definitely worth a look. Via Holy Taco, a gallery of "25 Awkward Holiday-Themed Comic Books."
Anybody can do a "best of" list. When I see a "worst of," I pay attention. So maybe these will be a warning to you of what to avoid so you can focus on the good stuff. Folks may agree or disagree with some of the choices. After all, someone's overrated piece of tripe may well be someone else's treasure. As that wise man said, "every book its reader, and every reader its book." Anyhow, here is the worst stuff others picked out.
- Steve Donoghue, of Stevereads,offers his lists for the worst nonfiction and the worst fiction for 2011.
- The New York Daily News picks out "The Most Overrated Books of 2011." My favorite review in the bunch is the one about John Hodgman's writing. The faux pretension does get thin. It's the same reason Stephen Colbert can wear thin on me at times. I can only take so much faux pretension, but at least Colbert tends to do it better.
- Via Media Shift blog, "Getting a Table is Easy; Getting Digital Magazines is a Pain." If you are planning on buying any kind of e-reader or tablet, whether for yourself or for someone else, you need to read this.
- For the romance reader. By the way, did you know that romance novels are gaining more popularity as e-books? Turns out readers do not have to worry as much about being judged by the covers of their books. So, that lady on the commuter bus sitting next to you may well be reading a nice bodice ripper. Thought the NYT story I linked does not say, I bet that erotica may be gaining ground as well under the same idea for e-books.
- For the paranormal and/or urban fantasy readers.
- For the erotica reader. I will give the usual warning that some of the content may be a bit risque.
- For the mystery readers.
- For the science fiction and fantasy readers.
Update note (12/21/11): Another neat addition I just had to share. Via Flavorwire, "Stereotyping you by your favorite book of 2011." Yes, now you can be judgmental (in a lighthearted way) of people based on these books choices. Then again, don't we always do that anyhow with anyone who has pretty much any book on hand? It may well be another reason why e-readers are becoming popular; you can't judge someone's reading tests if you can't tell what they are reading. And sorry to disappoint some folks, but I have not read (and possibly do not intend to read) any books on the linked list. However, if you just feel a need to see and try to figure out what kind of whacked out reader I am , my GoodReads link is on the right hand column of this blog.
Picture credit: Page from the book "A Christmas Carol."By Flickr user Diamond Meadows, used by terms of Creative Commons License.