Best reads of 2011

What books have you loved this year? The following lists bring together the cream of the crop of 2011’s books - from the picks of our staff and customers, to the lists published by magazines, newspapers and booksellers.

Have your say

Tell us your favourite books of 2011.
We would love you to tell us your favourites, and we will add them to this page.

Best (and worst)

Explore our fiction selector Philip Tew’s picks of the best and worst of 2011.

Since 2000, we have been collecting information on what were the most popular reads for the year.

2011’s best reads of Christchurch City Libraries staff and customers

Explore our top 100 most popular items for adults at Christchurch City Libraries for 2011.

BiblioCommons lists

CoverTop Ten fiction titles of 2011
Philip Tew, Selection and Access Librarian, shares his top ten novels of 2011 — from Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan to The Submission by Amy Waldman.
Robertafsmith’s completed shelf
The Hare with the amber eyes, Ian McEwan, William Boyd and Jonathan Franzen are some of blogger Roberta’s picks for 2011. Read her blog posts for more.
Kebabette’s best books of 2011
Books by Michael King, Charlie Brooker, Dylan Horrocks, and books on interior design, fashion, and vocoders.
Rachaelistic’s 2011 best books
Books on physics, Pluto and great fantasy reads.
ChristchurchCat’s best reads of 2011
John Betjeman, Alan Hollinghurst and Christchurch history books.
Littlepixik’s best books of 2011
Cool craft and lifestyle books, tattoos and fantasy fiction.
The BookWitch’s fave books of 2011
Divergent, Forever and some more great reads.
ShadyLadynz’s favourite books for 2011
Adventurous reads.
Birdwatcher's favourite books for 2011
A strong house and garden theme plus graphic novels and novels.
Bunny28's favourite detective novels of 2011
British and European crime writers were Bunny28's favourites.

More favourite reads

Stella’s best books

Kate Morton The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours
Andy McDermott

Charles Brokaw
CoverBoyd Morrison The Ark, Rogue Wave, The Vault
The Kate Morton books were recommended by a friend, so I thought I would try them as they are not my usual genre. The stories are so engrossing that it was very hard to put the books down. I haven’t read The Distant Hours yet, but am looking forward to doing so. The other authors are my all-time favourites. Their stories are nonstop action and adventure with characters that one can readily picture in your mind and it’s easy to laugh and cry along with them.

Jane’s best books

CoverThe Family Fang Kevin Wilson
Crazy parents who use their two children as props and performers in their performance art. Made me look like the best parent in the world by comparison!
Then came you Jennifer Weiner
Very current as concerns surrogacy and sperm donors. Some would pass this off as chick lit, but I found it interesting and satisfying and it kept my attention which says a lot at the moment.
Sister Rosamund Lupton
I’m not a crime reader by choice, so this book was a Claytons crime read. Enough human interest to keep my attention, but a good mystery as well.
When the killing’s done T. C. Boyle
Like many of his books, this has an environmental theme and characters that are passionate and somewhat edgy. Read more about this on the blog.
Snowdrops Andrew Miller
My one Booker read. A short book that is full of intrigue. Set in the Russia of today showing a particular underside that is seedy but compelling.
Maine J. Courtney Sullivan
My love affair with this part of America continues. Family saga, rather nasty but intriguing characters whom you want to find out more about, set in the beautiful and alluring New England area.
Ape house Sara Gruen

Julian’s top two

CoverReady Player One Ernest Cline
A great read for 80s pop culture, action and adventure in the near future. Geektastic!
The Wise Man’s Fear Patrick Rothfuss
Intelligent fantasy, told from a mostly 1st-person perspective. Not overblown or self-important like many fantasy novels can be, but written so you really get inside the character’s head.

Sue’s best books

Jamrach’s menagerie Carol Birch
Shortlisted (or possibly only long-listed?) for the Booker, quirky, beautifully written.
CoverThe conductor Sarah Quigley
I loved this – all the characters are so fully realised, no matter how minor and the descriptions of their experiences in the siege of Leningrad are so compelling that you wonder how they managed to just survive let alone make music.
The hut builder Laurence Fearnley.
I think I still slightly prefer Edwin + Matilda, but this is a great read that gradually draws you in with its descriptions of the love of climbing and of the diverse climbing fraternity, real and imagined.

More picks

Monster calls Patrick Ness (YA); Rrralph Lois Ehlert (Picture book)
CoverBig girl small Rachel DeWoskin
Very funny, sharply observed, with great insights into what it is like to be a teenage girl - no matter how tall you are.
The Help Kathryn Stockett; Room Emma Donoghue
I loved the way the voices of these women were so clearly defined. I really wanted to meet them! Great writing. Much better than the movie. I loved Room because of its unique perspective. It brought an innocence to a topic that could have been very gruelling to read. It inspired me to read up about similar cases that have occurred in the world in recent years.
Blood Men, The Cleaner, Cemetery Lake all by Paul Cleave
I discovered Paul Cleave quite by accident, but now I am a huge fan. His books are real page turners that keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat till the last page. They are all set in and around Christchurch, so it is easy to picture the lay of the land in your mind, because a number of the land marks he mentions are well known to Cantabrians. Paul is Christchurch born and bred, hardly known in New Zealand but he is a best seller in Europe where he spends 6 months of the year. If you haven’t discovered Paul Cleave, do so. You are in for a treat!!
Ready Player One Ernest Cline
Set in a bleak futuristic world this fast paced gaming adventure with unlikely heroes and a huge dose of 80s pop culture is hard to put down.
CoverSister Missing Sophie Mckenzie; Cleo Helen Brown
Both books were inspiring, amazing and great reads. Highly recommended!
Janet Evanovich’s entire Stephanie Plum series
I loved the humour (and the hot men didn’t hurt the stories, either!)
The Cry of the Go-Away Bird Andrea Eames; Gillespie & I Jane Harris; Before I Go to Sleep SJ Watson
Snuff Terry Pratchett
As an avid reader of Sir Terry, I was very pleased to see this book on the shelf, and immediately grabbed it. Once again, Mr Pratchett has failed to disappoint — Snuff was a fantastically witty and thought-provoking read, all the more so due to his early-onset Alzheimers syndrome, which hasn’t seemed to slow him down thus far. I highly recommend this!
The Help Kathryn Stockett
Remarkably drawn characters, authentic voices, fascinating insights into cultural history of the time, great plot! Truly entertaining and delightful!
CoverThere is No Dog Meg Rosoff
It’s simply hilarious. It artfully blends lyrical prose with quirky teen humour. While raising a whole lot of very serious moral and religious questions it still manages to be consistently entertaining.
The sky is everywhere Jandy Nelson
Lennie feels adrift after the death of her sister Bailey. Beautiful writing, real and honest, characters you can’t help but love.

2011 best book lists

We will add the 2011 best book lists as they are published.

New Zealand


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