The Best books of 2011? Part 1: Authors We Know and Love

The lists for the best books of 2010 books are everywhere at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to have a look at some of the books which we might be talking about this time next year.

Here are the 2011 books that I am getting excited about!

Note: UK release month shown in brackets.

Untitled Novel by Rohinton Mistry (July)

The book which I’m most excited about reading in 2011 hasn’t even got a title yet. I know nothing about it. All I know is that A Fine Balance is my favourite book of all time.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (October)

We’ve waited a long time for this one, but publication is finally in sight. A new Murakami is a good reason to celebrate, but a return to his unique bizarreness is very special. Read this summary and try to not be excited.

Cain by Jose Saramago (July)

This is the last book Saramago wrote before his death last year. Its religious content meant that it caused some controversy on its release in Portugal. The English translation will be available this summer and I am intrigued by it.

After the End of the World by Chris Cleave (July)

The Other Hand was an emotional roller coaster and it doesn’t sound as though this one is going to be any happier. His new book is about a relationship between a young couple, one of whom has terminal cancer. I’m looking forward to getting the tissues out!

The Islanders by Christopher Preist (October)

I loved The Prestige when I read it earlier this year. I think Christopher Preist’s unique mixture of great writing and complex plotting may mean that he will be added to my list of favourite authors by the end of the year.

The Land of Painted Caves – Earth’s Children Book 6 by Jean Auel (March)

Exactly 30 years after the publication of The Clan of the Cave Bear, the final book in the series is finally here. I just need to read books 4 and 5 first! 

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (June)

This is the second in the Ibis trilogy. I wasn’t a big fan of Sea of Poppies, but I know I’m in the minority. The question is whether or not this one will be good enough to be short listed for the Booker Prize too.

Great House by Nicole Krauss (February)

The History of Love seems to be loved by a lot of people. Her follow up, Great House, was released in the US in 2010 and has received rave reviews. It finally reaches UK shores in February. I’m going to try to read The History of Love soon and if I enjoy it as much as I think I will then I’ll try to squeeze Great House in before the end of 2011. I can’t believe I’m already planning that far ahead!!

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga (June)

His debut novel, White Tiger, won the Booker Prize. I’ll be interested to find out what this one is like.

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards (January)

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter was a huge hit. I’m sure that this one will be too.

When the Killing’s Done by TC Boyle (March)

I’m a big fan of TC Boyle and this book which examines a rat’s right to life sounds thought provoking and original. I can’t wait!

Other 2011 releases to look out for:

Pulse by Julian Barnes (January)

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo (January)

A Man of Parts by David Lodge (April)

The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey (April)

Bullfighting by Roddy Doyle (April)

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (April)

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (May)

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (May)

There but for the by Ali Smith(June)

Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (June)

Which 2011 books are you most looking forward to?

Come back next week to see which books by debut/lesser known authors I’m looking forward to!

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  1. Sandy says:

    I have Lake of Dreams that I got at SIBA (signed!). I’m just impressed you are looking forward…I’m still working on my favorites from 2010 and doing a final sprint to finish a challenge or two.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I look forward to your thoughts on Lake of Dreams. I hope it is as good as it looks :-)

  2. Rob says:

    Pah…call your self a Murakami fan, Jackie? Putting Rohinton Mistry before the Japanese literary maestro? Shame on you!

    Only joking of course, the piece you’ve written about Mistry is practically glowing fandom. I can see why it’s your most anticipated read.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rob, LOL! Sorry! Mistry is my favourite author in the world. Murakami is lucky to have made it above Saramago ;-) It is exciting that my 3 favourite authors are all releasing books in the same year. Let’s hope they live up to expecations!

  3. Teresa says:

    I had no idea the next Ibis trilogy book was coming so soon. Very good news!

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I knew some people would be very excited about that!

  4. Bibliophile By the Sea says:

    I love finding these wonderful lists like yours Jackie. I’ve already added a few to my US wishlist. thanks so much

    1. Jackie says:

      Bibliophile By the Sea, I’m really pleased that you found it useful :-)

  5. Alex says:

    I’m hoping that the new book in The Song of Ice and Fire (A Dance with Dragons) series comes out this year. That’s probably the one I’m more looking forward to.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alex, I haven’t heard of that series before, but I hope you enjoy the new book when it is released.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I will definitely be reading the second Amitav Ghosh book, as I have been waiting to continue on in the trilogy since finishing Sea of Poppies. The TC Boyle book sounds very interesting–I may wait and read some reviews before deciding whether or not to give it a try!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, The plot of the TC Boyle does sound as though it could be fantastic or terrrible, but I think in her hands it will be great. I’m going to dive straight in :-)

  7. Iris says:

    since I have read no books by any authos on your list (I know, shame on me, I really need to catch up), except for Nicole Krauss and the fact that I love The History of Love, I would say that is one of the books I look forward to most.

    1. Jackie says:

      Iris, Please read A Fine Balance – I’m sure you’ll love it :-)

  8. Many of these are on my “must read” list as well (I have the Nicole Krauss but haven’t read it yet; History of Love was lovely).

    But tops for me has got to be the new Murakami.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lynne, The only problem is that it is the first in a series of 4 so I worry I’ll reach the end and be disappointed that the next book isn’t going to be available for a while.

      1. In that case, I’m already planning rereads before each subsequent volume is released.

  9. Anbolyn says:

    I’m looking forward to Destiny & Desire by Carlos Fuentes.

    1. Jackie says:

      Anbolyn, I haven’t read anything written by Fuentes yet, but I think he is an author I’ll enjoy. Perhaps I’ll try one of his books in 2011. Is The Death of Artemio Cruz the best one to start with?

  10. Rebecca says:

    I’m eager to read the new Sarmago and new Nicole Krauss. If Great House is anywhere near as good as History of Love (which I’ll be reviewing next, incidentally), I’ll be very pleased!

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, I have no idea why I didn’t read The History of Love when it was first released – I’ve had it on my shelves for years. I hope that I enjoy it as much as I expect to.

  11. Steph says:

    What a great post, Jackie! I consider myself fairly well-connected when it comes to book releases, and yet I never really have an idea of what big books to expect well in advance of their release. So many great authors are planning on launching books that 2011 looks to be a great year in reading. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Nicole Krauss!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, Twitter has made me a lot more aware of future releases, but I didn’t really know which books to expect until I researched all the publishers catalogues online. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun :-)

  12. stujallen says:

    Iq 84 is one I m definitely looking forward too ,it sounds like a true epic and the orwell connection really intrigues me ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Even without knowing it is written by Murakami the premise intrigues me. I can’t wait!

  13. Charlie says:

    I’m ashamed to say I haven’t heard of any of those books, and also a little ashamed that all books I’m looking forward to are young adult. I’m intrigued by your favourite book though!

    1. Jackie says:

      Charlie, I haven’t looked into YA books released in 2011. I’m sure there will be a few that catch my eye.

  14. Amy says:

    Wow what a great list Jackie! A few of those I’m interested in for various reasons. I don’t know what I’m most excited for next year though… I will have to think on that :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, There are so many big name releases in 2011 it is hard to choose. It looks like we’re in for a great year in literature :-)

  15. 1Q84 is already translated into Dutch but only the first 2 volumes (out of 3) and it’s too expensive, I think. Or: if I buy it at a great price, then I want to buy the boxed set of 3, not two. I think the 3rd is coming out next year here, so I probably will read all it in Dutch.

    But the big news: a new book by T. C. Boyle? I didn’t know that. That’s fantastic news.

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, Murakami is very expensive here in the UK. I was shocked when I saw the first volume costs £25. I try to think of it as an investment, but it will be one of the most expensive books I’ll have bought. I guess you have to be a real fan to justify it so I can see why people would want to wait for paperback.

      1. In the Netherlands it’s €50 for volumes 1 and 2, that is about £43 I’d say. A bit cheaper but not much.

        I prefer to wait and get the set of three all in one. I might buy it if it’s expensive, but then only as one set. Not 2 books and one separate book (although hopefully they will look the same).

  16. Out of that list I;m most looking forward to The Islanders. It’s been far too long since The Separation came out and, well, I want another book that messes with my mind.

    I thought IQ84 was already out…Murakami really doesn’t interest me at all, the other Murakami is better although he’s not even that good hmm

    1. Jackie says:

      DamnedConjuror, I haven’t tried Ryu Murakami yet, but I hope to in 2011. I’m guessing both Murakamis create a love/hate divide. Not to everyones tastes at all ;-)

  17. Mystica says:

    Thanks for the list! So easy for readers like me who do not have access to all the books around so that at least we can now pick up those that are exceptional.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mystica, I’m really pleased that you found this post useful :-)

  18. TERESA says:

    I already have the Krauss at top of wishlist – I adored The History of Love, despite most other folk on our online book forum detesting it…

    Thank you for alerting me about the Chris Cleave one, that’s another one for the wishlist.

    However my most wanted book for 2011 is most definitely Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, I loved The Observations and have been bereft awating the release of another book by this amazing author – please let me not suffer from SNS!!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I haven’t seen any negative reviews for History of Love so thanks for letting me know it isn’t universally loved.

      I haven’t read anything by Jane Harris, but her name has been on my radar for a while. I wonder if you’ll be able to persuade me to read Gillespie next year?!

  19. Dan Holloway says:

    No guessing needed here! I’ve been waiting a year for 1Q84 already -another year will have me chewing the walls to get at it.
    But actually, my heart did a backflip when I saw the Yoshimoto – that’s the absolute number one can’t wait to get hold of it event of next year.

    Oh, and I’ll be intrigued to see what you make of Fuentes. I read Inez earlier this year and must admit I’m not really sure about it – it’s unique, but…

    1. Jackie says:

      Dan, I knew you’d love to find out about the Yoshimoto :-) I hope it is as good as her previous ones.

      You’ve intrigued me even more with your thoughts on Fuentes – I do love uniquness (most of the time ;-) )

  20. Annabel says:

    Christopher Priest and David Lodge for me out of that lot plus the next books in the Mabinogion series, but they’re probably not out until the autumn.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I haven’t heard of the Mabinogion series *heads off to look it up*

  21. Beth says:

    I really hope you like The History of Love (really, I should be paid for this promotion with the way I talk about it so often). I haven’t finished Great House yet, but the Krauss’s eloquence is alluring. If you like the first, I think you’ll like the second.

    Thanks for mentioning Chris Cleave’s newest novel. I recently finished Little Bee (US title?!) and enjoyed hashing through the complex social questions/reflections throughout the text. I wasn’t completely thrilled with the storyline, as I felt some parts were completely unbelievable), but liked the work overall.

    I’ll have to research some of the other titles you’ve listed! Thanks.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, Yes. Little Bee is the US title for The Other Hand – I hate the way they change titles and confuse us all :-( I loved The Other Hand and couldn’t put it down. I’m hoping his new one is just as gripping.

  22. Beth F says:

    I didn’t have any of these on my list, but my look to 2011 has been fairly narrow so far.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, There is still loads of time left to look into 2011 books – I think it will be a great year :-)

  23. I certainly hope some of the British authors on the list are big enough to have simultaneous U.S. releases. I was disappointed with Great House by Nicole Krauss. I loved her writing, but the book didn’t do it for me.

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, I’m afraid I don’t know how many are likely to have simultaneous releases, but I’m hoping that most will. It is quite annoying (expensive!!) if I discover a fantastic book I want to read that isn’t available in my country.

  24. Nononononono……..I was having quite enough trouble keeping my 2011 goals somewhere-near-reasonable without considering new books from favourite authors. ::reaches for paper bag to control bookish hyperventilating::

    1. Jackie says:

      BuriedInPrint, LOL! Sorry! It is fun really ;-)

  25. Sakura says:

    I am SO excited about 1Q84! I’ve been waiting to read that for ages. I’m also looking forward to reading The Great House, although I don’t remember feeling much about The History of Love (but I think I’m in the minority here) and also to finally read Sea of Poppies:) Exciting times!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sakura, Is it wrong to think that 1q84 might be Murakami’s best? Perhaps I’m just raising my expectations far too high. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

  26. Suejustbooks says:

    This is a great preview, and I’m excited about so many of these books. I’m probably most excited about the new Chris Cleave-Little Bee (US title of The Other Hand) was one of my all time favorites! But I loved History of Love by Nicole Krauss so much, and as you know Great House is already out in the US, so I just have to tell you how much I loved that one is well. You MUST read History of Love! Thanks again for this list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sue, Thanks! I’m pleased you found it useful. I’m looking forward to my first Krauss experience and hoping I love it as much as everyone else seems to.

  27. Alyce says:

    What a great list! I had no idea that Jose Saramago had another book coming out in English.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alyce, It is great news! Let’s hope it is one of his better ones ;-)

  28. you have such a diverse group of titles here–many of which i’ve never heard about! i enjoy taking a peek at what’s on the horizon and this list seems pretty comprehensive and globally representational. i’m looking forward to the second part of this post, too. ps. am i the only person who couldn’t navigate nicole krauss’s HOL?

    1. Jackie says:

      nat, I have now come across a few people who didn’t enjoy Krauss, but my hopes are remaining high. Hopefully I’ll be able to introduce you to many more wonderful books in my post later this week.

  29. Amanda says:

    I’m so out of touch. I only know of three books coming out next year…

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, Not out of touch at all. I only know because I researched this post. :-)

  30. Ann says:

    Hello, I stopped by today. Thanks for the list. When my TBR pile goes down a little, I’ll come back and review the list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Ann, Trying to get the TBR pile down is an impossible task – mine is growing faster than I can ever read!! Enjoy!

  31. Erin says:

    Saramago, Ghosh, and Mistry?? Whoa! I love Saramago, have been waiting to read Ghosh until more of the trilogy is out, and just bought A Fine Balance, which I cannot wait to read!

  32. Kathleen says:

    A Fine Balance is one of my favorite books of all time. I had no idea that he had another one coming out so soon. I’ll have to Google this and see when the new one might be landing here in the U.S. I’m hoping it is before July!

  33. Wendy says:

    I am SO excited to see the second in the trilogy by Ghosh…although it looks like we readers in the US will have to wait until at least September to read it. I LOVED Sea of Poppies…can’t wait for the next book. I’m also intrigued by the Adiga, Edwards and Boyle books.

  34. I’m looking forward to the first three (Rohinton Mistry – like you, I loved A Fine Balance; Murakami – love his stuff; and Saramago – I need to read more by him!). I’ve not read Sea of Poppies yet, so not too fussed about the Ghosh, and I’m slightly concerned by the speed at with Adiga is churning out novels. He won the Booker in 2008, and since then he’s released Between The Assassins (which didn’t really get very good reviews, as far as I remember). Commercial much, or am I over-thinking it?

    Oooh, just noticed Kim Edwards. I thought Memory Keeper’s Daughter was fantastic, so yeah, looking forward to that too.

  35. Jenners says:

    These posts of yours are dangerous!!1


  1. Links: 15 December « Follow the Thread
  2. The Best Books of 2011? Part 2: Debut/Lesser Known Authors – Farm Lane Books Blog
  3. Why I Love Debut Authors – Farm Lane Books Blog

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