Friday, December 16, 2011

NPR's Top Ten Novels of 2011

Here's NPR's top ten novels of 2011:
  1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  2. Open City by Teju Cole
  3. The Submission by Amy Waldman
  4. The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach
  5. The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier
  6. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  7. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  8. State Of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  9. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
  10. The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel by David Foster Wallace
We're starting to see some themes emerge in that Train Dreams, Swamplandia!, The Art of Fielding, and The Marriage Plot have all appeared in different "best of" lists. Personally, i'm intrigued by The Leftovers; the premise and my experiences with previous Perrotta novels put it on my to-read list, and now i'm pondering moving it up to the top.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. NPR - a nice counterpoint to the Economist. So, here's the critic's scorecard so far:

    The Art of Fielding (3)
    The Tiger's Wife (3)
    The Marriage Plot (2)
    The Pale King (2)
    Open City (2)
    Swamplandia! (2)
    Train Dreams (2)

    Novels receiving only a single critics' nod: 1Q84, 11/22/63, Afrika Reich, The Angel Esmeralda, The Cat's Table, The Illumination, The Leftovers, Other People's Money, State of Wonder, The Submission, Ten Thousand Saints.

    Notably, there is not a single novel that has appeared on all four lists that we have reviewed.

  3. Jenny over at Reading Envy compiled a very complete critics scorecard. A bit surprised to see the Art of Fielding so high on so many lists given what Eric had to say about it.

  4. not that my opinion counts for much...

    but i sincerely believe that people have vaulted AOF on the idea of the book rather than the book itself.

  5. Haven't read it, so I don't know. But what are the better books you've read that were published this year?

    I really think it could be one of the best books of the year -- if only because there was not much very good this year.

  6. our reviews will soon expose our feelings about 1Q84... but even with it's flaws, it by far out-classes AOF. other than that, i'm not sure what books i read that were released in 2011 (seems i read a bunch that came out in 2010 this year: crooked letter, sunset park, de zoot, etc). i read 10,000 saints and would put it in the same class as AOF. pretty weak year for fiction from my small sampling.