Gridley’s Sweet Sixteen of 2011


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Here's my fave eight fiction and eight nonfiction reads of the year. To my eyes, American fiction has made a comeback, and the best nonfiction continues to be well written.

My lists here are in no particular order, and most have posts on the blog – a couple will soon appear. If you're curious, check out how I see 'em.


Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert – translation by Lydia Davis

The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

Age of Iron, by J.M. Coetzee

The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy – translation by Pevear & Volokhonsky

Stiltsville, by Susanna Daniel

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward

Zaat, by Sonallah Ibrahim


The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, by Toby Wilkinson

Play Their Hearts Out, by George Dohrmann

The Abacus and the Cross, by Nancy Marie Brown

Becoming Animal, by David Abrahm

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, by Judy Collins

A.D. 1000, byRichard Erdoes

Pulphead, by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Hemingway's Boat, by Paul Hendrickson


2 thoughts on “Gridley’s Sweet Sixteen of 2011

  1. Bob, you always have such an erudite, thoughtful list. Makes me want to read more.
    I have enjoyed The Submission by Amy Waldman and am currently reading Lit by Mary Karr. Fiction and a memoir. Then, YA has been mostly my fare this year, from Hunger Games to 13 Reasons Why and many, many others as I immerse myself in the genre…

  2. I’ve been interested in The Submission, too, but haven’t found my way to it yet. Keep going with the YA stuff – it seems fun for you, and I know you’re learning a lot about that genre and about structuring YA novels.

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