While everyone was putting together their 2011 favorites, mine kept getting shot down (Lelia) because most of them weren't released in 2011. My point was, that I READ them in 2011.
As I wrote down books that I loved reading, it occurred to me that I would never have found these books or even heard about them (except for Just Kids) without seeing them in the store or hearing about them from publisher reps, co-workers and/or customers.
That, my friends, is the power of a bookstore.
So here's my "I read it in 2011 and loved it" list (in no specific order):
Just Kids by Patti Smith - title captures it perfectly: Patti Smith and Robert Malpplethorpe becoming true soul mates, living in near poverty, before they had any idea what creative directions their lives would take...they were just kids.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver - "Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing." Love becomes illegal, something to be feared and avoided at all costs. All the love poems and songs we know become examples of the dangerousness of love.
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - this is a hard one to describe, but it's absolutely fantastic. A strange "treasure" hunt traces the last days of a girl who...well, you'll have to read it.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - Whenever I hear one of our staff (or me) describe it, I expect parents to run screaming from the store. Dystopia, kids having to kill other kids, war, death...yup, parents do not want to buy books like that. Too bad, this is fantastic and will keep you up reading all night long.
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - I resisted reading this because it won pretty much every award possible in 2010 and didn't need me to promote it. Then I saw that it was about punk rock and included a powerpoint presentation (how do you work that into a book??). Absolutely loved it, but not every one does. You must be zen while reading and not worry that you don't always know what's going on and who's talking.
International mysteries - I have always loved mysteries, but have learned about so many varied writers from all over the world from our customers or just seeing the books come in. Just dipping my toe in, but have really enjoyed: Camilla Lackberg (Sweden), James Thompson (Finland), Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland), Fred Vargas (France), Andrea Camilleri (Sicily), and more. What I really love is talking with our customers about int'l mystery writers because they enjoy them as passionately as I do.
So there's my list - can't wait to see what comes into the store next!