S.G. Browne

Fiction Friday: Favorite Reads of 2011

Okay, so I’m a month late. And I’m sure there’s a pregnancy joke in there somewhere but I just can’t find it. Which is probably a good thing.

In any case, below is my list of favorite reads of 2011, with a brief description about the book or why I enjoyed it. To be clear, this is a list of favorite books I read in 2011. Not books that were published in 2011. In no particular order, but all well worth my time:

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Okay, this one’s first for a reason. A beautifully written story about the power of words, told from the point of view of an empathetic Death. One of my favorite books of all time, not just of 2011. A must read for any fan of the written word.

Gator A-Go-Go, Tim Dorsey
They say you never forget your first time, and this was my introduction to Tim Dorsey. A wild, bizarre, slapstick ride through Florida’s spring break scene that includes federal agents, Girls Gone Haywire, and vigilante serial killing. Fun for the whole family!

The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
A literary novel filled with wonderful characters. It’s a story about love and relationships and what people mean to one another. It’s about finding what you need, even if it’s not what you set out to find. A poignant, touching, heart-breaking, funny work of art.

Bite Me: A Love Story, Christopher Moore
The continuing darkly comic love story about a pair of San Francisco vampires that includes an Emperor, turkey bowling, and a giant shaved vampire cat named Chet. The third in the Bloodsucking Fiends series, this is classic laugh-out-loud Christopher Moore.

Little Bee, Chris Cleave
Rich characters, a brutal history, death, humor, politics, and social commentary are all interwoven into an unforgettable story about what happens when people make mistakes and what happens when they try to fix them.


Fiction Friday: The Book Thief

It’s not often I read a book that gets five stars out of me, but such is the case with this fantastic novel about the importance of words by Markus Zusak.

Although technically a YA novel, written for children ages 12 and up, The Book Thief resonates on so many levels that it should be enjoyed by adults of all ages.

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living with her foster parents in a small town in 1939 Nazi Germany. More accurately, the story is told by Death, who has a rather empathetic view of the human race and who is understandably overworked during this period in history. Yet he finds himself inevitably drawn into the lives of those who inhabit Liesel’s world.

As are we.

I’m not going to tell you the synopsis of the novel. You can read the synopsis on Wikipedia or Amazon.  What I will tell you is that the novel is dark and touching, filled with both dread and hope. It’s filled with characters who remain long after the last page has been turned. And it’s filled with prose that is lyrical and eloquent, with fabulous imagery that you want to breath in and savor.

Breath collapses. Words lean. Sentences fumble.

It’s the type of book that reminds you of the beauty of words. The power of words. And that, in essence, is what The Book Thief is about. The power of words to transform the world, both for good and for bad.

Someone once asked me what book would I recommend to everyone. I used to have an answer. That answer has changed. That book is now The Book Thief.

Filed under: Fiction,Fiction Fridays,Movies and Books — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 1:20 pm