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Listeners’ Picks for Best Books 2011

You’ve heard from our experts: now, it’s your turn. Here’s a list of top picks from callers and web site commenters:

On Facebook, Inez Steele suggested “The Cat’s Table,” by Michael Ondaatje, and Darryl Daniel said his favorite this year was Nile Rodgers’ autobiography, “Le Freak.” Dawn Opstad said “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach gave her “hope in an otherwise disillusioning baseball season.”

On our air, Robbie from Lexington, Kentucky told us about  Nikky Finney’s new poetry collection, “Head Off & Split.” Josh from Boston put in a  vote for “A Dance With Dragons,” George R.R. Martin’s latest in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series.

San Francisco’s Diamond Dave suggested “Moby Duck” by Donovan Hohn, and Carol in Lake Placid New York spoke up for “The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes.

Back on the website, Kathy from Sudbury called “The Leftovers” by Tom Perrotta “funny, witty, apt and very thought-provoking.” And Boston fan said he “loved the Steve Jobs biography,” (probably “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson).

Adam from Lindenville, Vermont called in to rave about “Damned,” by Chuck Palhniuk, which he called “a cross between Dante’s Inferno and Judy Blume.” And Harry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lamented that Terry Pratchett didn’t have a bigger following in the U.S. (His latest Discworld novel is “Snuff“) Our guest Laura Miller didn’t quite buy it, saying that America is full of Pratchett-lovers!

Alfred from Providence, Rhode Island put in a word for Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde.”

And Tom Ashbrook, when pressed by a listener for his own favorite of the year, nominated “Townie: A Memoir,” by Andre Dubus III.

Let us know more of your favorites!

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Gloria Doan

    How about American Nations and also Jussi Alder-Olsen’s Keeper of Lost Causes?  Gloria Doan

  • Theo S

    A sci-fi adventure called Odyssey Rising by Michael T. Best is great escapist fun and a first novel that is a reverse of Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain — sort of what if an alien microbe infected astronauts.  It’s available at Amazon, BN.com and Apple, among other sites.

  • Shewanti

    River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh

  • Cristian

    Blue Nights by Joan Didion

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001976642175 Susan McConnell

    Ditto on “Townie”.  I’ve loved everything by Andre Dubus III.  I read “The Leftovers” and was disappointed.  Just meh.

  • David Thomson

    Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. A big read (over 900 pp.), and not a new book (2003), which I started on my way back from India. I understood, and admired, the Indians even more as a result of the book than of the visit.

  • Teri

    I saw plenty of recommendations for this novel “Bumblef**k”…what’s the story on it? Where can we learn more about it? Seemed to be a pretty popular pick from what the comments said…thoughts?

  • Readsalot

    The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar

    Story of a family in southern Caliorna

  • Jenny Olin Shanahan

    Not at all highbrow, but Tina Fey’s Bossypants made me burst out laughing over and over again.

  • Maureen

    Loved “Destiny of the Republic” and the Steve Jobs bio. But perhaps my favorite of 2011 was McCullough’s “The Greater Journey”.

  • jane

    The Talk Funny Girl by Roland Merullo, please add to your list of best books for 2011! I could not put the book down and recommended it to many friends and family members….they agreed. You will not be disappointed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    Information philosophy [?], author- Florini; Oxford.
    Accounts the unheard but clearly seen and or perceived.
    Memory is why we read and what we see. 
    The math is a bit Einstein , but the narrative paragraphs blend the numerators into visions of complex logic or philosophy.

  • Cvesdkeoqlorr

    This means when you’re in action you get warm. So you should dress yourself appropriately in your ‘action suit’. An action suit is usually a thermal baselayer, a fleece type midlayer and a shell on top. Thin and not too bulky to climb in beads charms , but not all that warm either.

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