Best Books of 2011

2011 Book of the Year

A big sprawling book, Jonathan Evison’s West of Here tells the many intertwined tales of the citizens of the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington. Blending the stories of the town’s pioneering founders with those of their successors some 100 years later, this novel manages to be both hugely entertaining and insightful. Funny, intensely smart, and as well crafted a book as you are likely to pick up this year this one is not to be missed. -Matt

Excerpt:
“We are born haunted,” he said, his voice weak, but still clear. “Haunted by our fathers and mothers and daughters, and by people we don’t remember. We are haunted by otherness, by the path not taken, by the life unlived. We are haunted by the changing winds and the ebbing tides of history. And even as our own flame burns brightest, we are haunted by the embers of the first dying fire. But mostly,” said Lord Jim, “we are haunted by ourselves.”

Best Fiction

Ready Player OneErnest Cline
The Sisters BrothersPatrick deWitt
The Language of FlowersVanessa Diffenbaugh
 
West of HereJonathan Evison
 
Claire DeWitt and the City of the DeadSara Gran
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the DayBen Loory
 
 
 
The Tiger's WifeTea Obreht
The Tragedy of ArthurArthur Phillips
 
The Fates Will Find Their WayHannah Pittard
 

Best Non-Fiction

Townie: A MemoirAndre Dubus, III
BossypantsTina Fey
Granta 116: Ten Years LaterJohn Freeman
 
The Swerve: How the World Became ModernStephen J. Greenblatt
 
The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEALEric Greitens
Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensChristopher Hitchens
 
 
 
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's BerlinErik Larson
Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in HistoryBen Mezrich
 
What It Is Like To Go To WarKarl Marlantes
 

Best Business Interest

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire EntrepreneurRyan Blair
Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the WorldWilliam D. Cohan
Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of StoryPeter Guber

Best Young Readers

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony SnicketChris Van Allsburg
Okay for NowGary D. Schmidt
A Monster CallsPatrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Created by)