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What's your book of the year?

(67 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 14-Nov-11 11:23:48

Just for fun, we thought we'd nominate our books of 2011. What's the best book you've read this year? (And what was good about it?)

gma Mon 14-Nov-11 12:15:34

No question about it...The Help by Kathryn Stockett is certainly my book of the year. A beautifully written first novel, it carries on from where 'To Kill a Mockingbird' finishes, and shows the other side of life of 'Gone with the Wind' The main characters- Miss Skeeter, Minnie and Aibileen grab you by the heart-strings and will not let you go, even when you finish the book. I just did not want it too end, and need to know what happened next! Surely the sign of a memorable book. What for me made it even more poignant, was the fact that it all happened when I was leaving school, and I knew nothing about it then. Wonderful wonderful book, Thank you Kathryn Stockett for writing this masterpiece. thanks

Jacey Mon 14-Nov-11 12:52:16

Geraldine does it have to be a book published this year? or just a book we've read this year?

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 14-Nov-11 14:11:06

I think it should be just a book we've read this year, or it will be narrowing the field too much. We could think of it as the book we'd most highly recommend other gransnetters to read over Christmas.

We tweeted about this and someone suggested How To be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, which might well be mine as well. Very funny and clever.

susiecb Mon 14-Nov-11 15:26:26

I loved Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson really lifted me up.

lucid Mon 14-Nov-11 16:17:53

Geraldine 'How to be a Woman' is definitely my book of the year...a 'laugh out loud' book but also quite thought provoking. As someone who considers herself to be a feminist (my Gran was a suffragette) it was interesting to hear a younger woman's perspective of what constitutes 'feminism' today. Caitlin Moran gets my vote.

Libradi Mon 14-Nov-11 17:38:32

Difficult one, would be between 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett and 'Into the Darkest Corner' a first novel by Elizabeth Haynes a page turning psychological thriller.
Both brilliant books and very different, but as gma has chosen 'The Help' I'll say 'Into the Darkest Corner' is my book of the year.

Grossi Mon 14-Nov-11 19:05:09

Mine would be "Started early, took my dog" by Kate Atkinson.

I especially liked the dog! smile

jingle Mon 14-Nov-11 21:31:25

Geraldine mentioning Twitter made me have a look. There's a parallel Gransnet going on. I think!

Does everybody else go on that one? Is that why this one gets a bit slow?

jingle Mon 14-Nov-11 21:36:31

You're all on Twitter, aren't you?! shock

eGJ Tue 15-Nov-11 07:31:01

Not on Twitter yet jingle!
I nominate The Thread by Victoria Hislop. Put it down finished in the early hours of yesterday morning! An insight into a woman's life in Greece in 20th century revealing the forced movements of faith groups and the difficulties both men and women faced. A good read as a novel and certainly up to The Island standard.

GoldenGran Tue 15-Nov-11 10:21:19

No jingle, I wouldn't know how to begin on Twitter! I hope Gransnet doesn't disintigrate because of it! Book of the year for me would also be Got up early Took my Dog, or the Help. Followed by Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. but I may have read that last year.

Annobel Tue 15-Nov-11 12:12:39

The book that moved me most this year was 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak - written for older children/teenagers, but my book group loved it too. Highly recommended.

ollibee Tue 15-Nov-11 16:20:41

I loved "The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Edmund de Waal - the history of a collection of Japanese netsuke - which may not sound very interesting, but the family circumstances and the description of how the collection survived the war - I was totally fascinated and hated getting to the end!

mumsie Tue 15-Nov-11 19:02:45

Hi My book is The Help by Kathryn Stockett a truly compelling book and such a shock to realise i have lived through times when this was going on.
There are still places where we have to be careful but i hope we will learn in time that skin is only a coloured covering and inside we are all made of bones muscles, blood nerves and stuff. Thank you for taking me through this voyage and making me more aware of how little i know of what happens around me.

jingle Tue 15-Nov-11 19:17:23

Yes, it would be Wolf Hall for me too. But I can't remember if I read it this year or last! grin

carboncareful Thu 17-Nov-11 17:07:45

The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Nothing to do with hedgehogs. Brilliant book, beautifully written and very unusual. Now made into a film that is also brilliant. Only criticism of the film, The Hedgehog, is leaving the words "The Elegance of" out of the title!
Funny, sad, philosophical; literary references (best if you've read Anna Karenina - but DH loved it too and he has never read Anna). Set in Paris.
I loved it so much I have not dared suggest it in my book group in case there is someone who does not like it. I feel protective towards it somehow - never had that feeling before. Anyone else had that experience? (Usually when I like a book I go round recommending it to people)

Notsogrand Thu 17-Nov-11 17:17:07

On the basis of your enthusiasm carbon, I checked out a precis and have reserved The Elegance of the Hedgehog from the library. smile

yearofthetiger Thu 17-Nov-11 19:30:33

"Water for Elephants", such a satisfying ending, which rarely happens, I feel. Also, a million times better than the film, which I thought left out the parts that made the book so good!
Also loved "major Pettigrew's Last stand" and "one moment, one Morning".
And I re-read "1984", which is just brilliant!!

magwis Fri 18-Nov-11 09:59:42

The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
An interesting view of life of a first lady of America. Supposedly based on Laura Bush.

onneker Fri 18-Nov-11 10:06:39

I've read so many wonderful books this year that it is hard to choose one favourite. Among the goodies have been Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi (set in Portugal under fascism), Julian Barnes - A Sense of Ending (Booker prize winner), Jane Shilling's The Stranger in the Mirror, a beautifully written memoir about trying to come to terms with being middle aged (wait until she gets to old age!), Tony Judt's Ill Fares the land. He died last year and writes very movingly about the way our societies have betrayed all the social democratic achievements the post-war era gained. Anger is the only appropriate emotion. I've just finished rereading Elizabeth Taylor's (not the film star) A view from the Harbour and want to recommend that as it is beautifully written, subtle and very moving. It is not a long book but manages to cover very gently repressed passion, loneliness, friendship between women, everything!

NanaM Fri 18-Nov-11 16:35:31

My book of the year is Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh. It spoke to me because it was just that, a conversation not a commandment. Neal's message was God is part of our lives not just living in a church waiting to judge us.

NewGranLin Fri 18-Nov-11 16:44:52

I loved The Help too but my favourite read was' We Need to Talk About Kevin', which was absolutely chilling. Now a film but can't think how they've adapted it.

Stansgran Tue 22-Nov-11 19:03:00

Jezebel by Irene Nemirovsky. Won't spoil the story but it's about a woman on trial for murder who keeps silent about her motives but as we learn about her life her reasons unfold- to all the gransnetters it might be staggering. Nemirovsky was probably writing about her mother as her starting point. There is a very heavy tome about her life-she died in the concentration camps and her books are being translated and published in the UK-some are a bit dated but I find them interesting as social history

jgb Thu 24-Nov-11 18:01:26

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell