Joe T. rules BookPeople’s second floor. He is a kind master and brilliant Inventory Manager who knows where every book is on every shelf at all times, because he is also omnipotent. And a righteous karaoke dancer.
So, whilst I only had four non-fiction books from 2011 that I just loved, there where far too many fiction books that I adored for the year. After lots of trials and tribulations, these are the five that may or may not be THE BEST but all deserve attention. Excelsior!
Snuff by Sir Terry Pratchett
As Sir Terry Pratchett grows more acquainted with his own mortality, he seems to set his targets on more hideous and less banal evils than he has done in the past. A thematic sister to Unseen Academicals which focused like a laser on racism and the whole nature vs. nurture debate, Snuff attacks the end result: genocide. Whilst not as laugh out out loud funny as previous Discworld novels, it still has a sterling wit, grand characterizations, and the ability to look our faults in the eye and still call us human. And Tears of the Morning is my favorite new character!
Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht
Former BookPeople employee makes good! An urban fantasy novel that is, at times, more urban than fantasy, Of Blood and Honey is a fantastic read that marries the stark, harsh reality of Ireland’s “troubles” with the stark, harsh reality that hides behind gaelic fairy creatures such as the Púca. Terrorism, punk rock, and magic mix together in an Irish stew of a novel that left me wanting the next book to come out RIGHT NOW!
One True Sentence by Craig McDonald
Someone is murdering the publishers of literary magazines on the streets of Paris and it’s up to a young Hector Lassiter (not yet “writing what he lives and living what he writes”) to find out who’s to blame. It’s the early 1920s so, of course, Hemingway has to barge his way in, Aleister Crowley has to have his nose punched, and Alice Toklas provides the special brownies for the occasion. The fourth book in McDonald’s Hector Lassiter books may be his best one yet! Also check out Toros & Torsos, Head Games, and Print The Legend for good, dark yet fun noir entertainments.
Heartstone by C. J. Sansom
Trying to stay one step ahead of Henry VIII’s displeasure and, therefore, the Tower of London, Heartstone finds Sansom’s hunchbacked lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, tasked by the queen to investigate a ward living a supposed life of Dickensian woe while at the same time investigating what put a woman in Bedlam twenty years ago. War with France, a corrupt Privy Council, and attempted murder all strive to get in his way. A good book that doesn’t really require you to read the previous books in the series (though you should) and would be enjoyed by any fan of the shows The Tudors or Cadfael or the books of David Liss and Iain Pears.
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The follow up to the amazing and nearly poetic The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear continues the story of Kvothe and how he went from a boy to a man to a legend to a burnt out husk of a man. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, jonseing for a fix after discovering George R.R. Martin needs to pick up these books that read like Song of Ice and Fire’s younger more literate brother.