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
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments