The obvious thing to say about the New York Times list of the 100 noteable books of 2011 is that every book appears on the list is superbly crafted. That gets a resounding ‘duh.’ But mixed among this year’s best selling lit fit, poetry and nonfiction, there are some interesting genre titles that The Canary readers may delight in.
THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan. Jake Marlowe, a 200-year-old werewolf, is the last of his kind. But while on the run from both a hunting agency and a horde of vampires, he discovers that perhaps he is not as unique as he once believed. What makes this book particularly noteworthy is the eloquence of the prose. Most reviews go so far as to call the narrative downright poetic, even when describing a werewolf transformation and the kills that follow. I find the concept a nice break from so much of the supernatural lit we’ve gotten as late. This time, the story is not told from the mind of the monster hunter, but rather from the monster himself.
THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta. This is by far my favorite title of the year. “The Leftovers” focuses on just that: those unlucky souls who missed the Rapture. Specifically, it focuses on Kevin Garvey who, three years after the “Sudden Departure,” finds himself with a wife who has joined a cult, a son following a character known as the Holy Guru, and a daughter who fallen in with stoners. The ramifications of the event—which was decidedly nonconformist as it took not only Christians but those across all faiths—echo through the story that is chockfull of satire with a heaping plate of strong characters on the side. The New York Times summed it up the best: “The Leftovers” is, simply put, the best “Twilight Zone” episode you never saw.”
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. On a recent pop into Barnes and Noble, my mother picked up this dictionary-sized book and said, “That better be an awesome story for that many pages.” And from what I’ve heard, awesome doesn’t begin to cover it. Murakami has always been a master storyteller, but never more so than when tackling dystopian lit. Set in 1984 (of course), the story is a combination love-psychological-political-thriller tale, and, in general, defies condensed description of plot. Suffice it to say, it’s crazy—and crazy good.
You can check out the rest of the list here.
What about you, Canaries? What is your favorite book of 2011?