This is my coffee table. My coffee table has not been this clear since before the book tour. I am far too pleased about the clearing of the coffee table, even though it quite possibly involved cluttering other tables not pictured.

I am having one of those days where I have a lot to do so I am procrastinating by cleaning off my coffee table and eating chocolate very seriously as though by treating the chocolate eating as something important it becomes a more productive activity.

Anyway, on to something somewhat productive, I have been meaning to do a post of my favorite books of 2011. Note that they are favorites and not bests. I shall break them in to categories.


Favorite book published in 2011. (This one is a tie.)

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I lived in this book for a good month, because it is three books and a total of nearly 1,000 pages. I had a very battered galley copy by the end and now my gorgeous hardcover is sitting next to it on the shelf. I was worried that I wouldn’t be satisfied with the ending after so much time and so many pages but  I really was. It’s hard to explain, it’s like 1984 but different. It’s surreal but in a realistic way. It’s a book to live in for a while, sometimes stopping and looking up at the sky to count the number of moons.

Habibi by Craig Thompson. This book is gorgeous. Gorgeous. It is a book to pet and “oooh” over before you even get to the story within it that is equally beautiful. The lines of Craig Thompson’s artwork make me weak in the knees and the lines of the art in this book are so fluid they almost seem to move, as though the ink has yet to dry and wants to stay in motion. Calling it a graphic novel doesn’t properly express what it is, it’s a work of art. Also, Craig himself is lovely and huggable. I know because I’ve hugged him and the fact that I have hugged the person who created this lovely thing amazes me.

Favorite book published in 2011 that I have not technically read. (Though it is on the aforementioned coffee table.)

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton. Okay, so I haven’t read the book but I have read and loved it in internet form ( so I know what kind of brilliance is contained within these pages. I have two book tour regrets and they both involve not meeting people despite being in meetable proximity, one of those people is Ron Charles and the other is Kate Beaton, I know she was at IFOA in Toronto at some point but our paths did not cross which is probably good because I might have fangirled all over her.

Favorite book I read in 2011 that was published in a year other than 2011.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This book had been on my to-read radar (hadn’t even made it to the to-read shelf) and when I was in Mississippi I happened to have enough time to browse books at Turnrow Book Company and found this lovely little edition that happened to be signed and since it was small enough to fit in my bag I had to get it. It then became travel reading and I loved it to bits, for a book that is so much about music it feels like music, soaring and heartbreaking, grand and intimate all at the same time.

Other favorites published in 2011 that I will not elaborate upon to save space:

The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Other favorite books read this year but published in years other than 2011:

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Every novel ever written by Dashiell Hammett.

That’s the list, though I didn’t read much that I disliked this year. Fables should have some sort of honorable mention even though I’m still working my way through, and I’ll be surprised if Angelmaker doesn’t make the list next year since I’ll be finishing it as 2011 turns into 2012. And now you probably have a better understanding of what I mean when I say my taste in books is eclectic.


Steph · December 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

We have much the same taste in books; I was reading Habibi only the other day, standing on a stool at the bookstore where I work. I’ve been coveting it since it came out.

No wonder I have your book, which I’ll be starting very soon, since it’s our January book club choice!

Meredith · December 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

I loved 1Q84. It tied with The Night Circus as my favorite book this year. Actually your book may come out ahead.

Anna Good · December 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I’ve just finished The Night Circus, and were I to post a “favorites of 2011” list, yours would be in first place. You have an absolutely gorgeous, captivating writing style that hooked me from page one. Thank you for writing this novel and allowing me to escape into vos rêves.

Marcheline · December 22, 2011 at 7:31 am

I adore that coffee table. It’s always good to have a coffee table so beautiful that you want to see it, as it provides inspiration to clean it off now and then. I just got a new one myself – a narrow, dark wood one with a lower shelf (to hide the detritus) and a faux marble inset in the top. Looks lovely with my vintage pipe rack/tobacco cannister and my collection of pipes. I think it’s hysterical that you admitted you put the stuff from your coffee table on other tables to take the picture, so we wouldn’t give you credit for being a neatnik.

Am currently reading “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and enjoying it to an almost scary degree. Have you seen this one?

Suzze Tiernan · December 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

My friends always wait for my “best of” list each year as they know they will get the “cream of the crop”…..
Night Circus is definitely #1 on my list for 2011. Thanks for such a great book, with the most vivid images of anything I have read in ages.

Cheryl Wurtele · December 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

My favorites were
Night Circus
Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
I really thank you for my obsession that is your book.
I tell everyone I can make listen

Meredith · December 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

I love your coffee table too!

Suzy · December 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Erin hi. I was given your book for Christmas and have just begun reading it on almost the last day of 2011. I know already it may be my book of this year, and maybe magically also my book of next year too. Please write more. It’s so vivid and sparkling and dark, I’m drawn right in already like a trespasser to the circus of the night.

Kathy · December 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Wanted to offer congrats to your success w/ ‘The Night Circus’.
Looking forwarding to reading it!
Love the cat pics.
(my birthday’s in July, too)

Vicki · January 5, 2012 at 5:17 am

Might I suggest AMONG THE WONDERFUL (a book)



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