90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Best Books Of 2011

From time travel to the Amazon to Catherine the Great to new Murakami, we’ll look at the best books of 2011.

(Paulbence/Flickr)

(Paulbence/Flickr)

So, book means something new now.  Not necessarily paper and ink and binding at all.  Could be purely digital, a stream of characters on a Kindle, an i-Pad. It doesn’t matter.  The act of imagination and searching and presentation that goes on in a book – whatever its form – is catnip to the amazing human mind.

Nourishment.  Insight.  Challenge.  Escape.  This year’s crop came in many flavors.  From the Everglades to the grassy knoll to the chambers of Catherine the Great.

This hour,  On Point:  the best books of 2011.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Laura Miller, book critic for Salon.com and one of its co-founders. She is an occasional contributor to The New York Times Book Review and editor of “The Salon.com Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Authors.”

Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s bookshops, with locations in Naperville and Downer’s Grove Illinois.

David Ulin, book critic for the Los Angeles Times, author of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.

 

Best Book Reading Lists

You can find Tom’s pick of the year, in addition to listener and caller picks here.

LAURA MILLER’S LIST

FICTION
The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides
Pym – Matt Johnson
State of Wonder – Ann Patchett
The Tragedy of Arthur – Arthur Phillips
The Pale King – David Foster Wallace

NON – FICTION
Townie – Andre Dubus III
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution – Mary Gabriel
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood – James Gleick
Catherine the Great: The Portrait of a Woman – Robert K. Massie
Lost in Shangri-La – Mitchell Zuckoff

BECKY ANDERSON’S LIST

FICTION
Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
Turn of Mind – Alice LaPlante
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

NONFICTION
Death in the City of Light – David King
The Orchard – Theresa Weir
Rin Tin Tin – Susan Orleans

KIDS PICTURE BOOK
Prudence Wants a Pet – Cathleen Daly, illus. Stephen Michael King

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION
Blizzard of Glass – Sally M. Walker

 

DAVID ULIN’S LIST

“1Q84” by Haruki Murakami
“Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories” by Edith Pearlman
“The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.” by Jonathan Lethem
“The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood” by James Gleick
“Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews”
by Geoff  Dyer

“Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music,” edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz
“Stone Arabia” by Dana Spiotta
“Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson
“A Widow’s Story: A Memoir” by Joyce Carol Oates
“You Think That’s Bad: Stories” by Jim Shepard

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 22, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Russian economy will rebound and the ruble will stabilize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. (AP)

A weak ruble and a turbulent economy. We look at Putin’s Russia and what its economic free fall means.

Dec 22, 2014
A sample of some of the costumes on display at the fall 2014 "Dance & Fashion" exhibition at New York City's Museum at FIT. (AP)

Couture fashion exhibits are drawing record crowds at museums. We’ll look at the beauty and the art behind the glitz.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

 
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment