Fastpageturner’s Top 10 of 2011

Its been an awesome year for literature,  some books were amazing and some were very disappointing. I know you are wondering which were my favorite books this year.  So I’ve prepared a list of fastpageturner’s top 10 books of 2011.  How did they make the list? Books that were particularly memorable or unique were included, as were books that I wanted to read again the moment I finished them.

1.The Help – It hardly ever happens that I reach the end of a book, and want to read it again, right then. Stockett put together an amazing tale of racial tension in the South soothed by humor, and sympathetic and devoted characters.  The words leapt from the page, depicting what seemed, at times, to almost be a true scenario.  The movie was amazing, but the book was much better. I would recommend it to all.

2. Sarah’s Key – I found the tale of the French police’s round-up of Jews in July of 1942 to be sad and shocking.  The author creatively juxtaposed two tales together, one of young Sara in 1942 who loses her home and is sent to a camp, and that of writer Julia in present time searching for answers about Sarah.  The plot has stayed with me since I read it several months ago.  I would read it again and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys history.

3. Divergent – Searching for an end of the world exciting story like “The Hunger Games,” I was thrilled to have found exactly that in “Divergent.”  Following Tris’ choice to change factions and abandon her family, while hiding her true fate was only the beginning of an epic adventure.  I can’t wait for the second installment!

4. The Lincoln Lawyer After searching for years for a great lawyer thriller, I was more than satisfied with “The Lincoln Lawyer.”  The plot grabbed me from the first pages and took me on a thrilling ride throughout L.A.’s courthouses and judicial system.  One of the better legal thrillers I’ve read, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, like myself, who misses the old Grisham thrillers like “The Firm” and “The Pelican Brief.”

5. Water for Elephants – Not normally drawn to circus themes, I was surprised to find myself dazzled by the sights and smells of a circus that were evoked in the book.  Capturing true events, the book was wonderfully romantic, exciting, and unique.  If you liked the movie, you would love the book, which I recommend to all.

6. For Laci – Written by Laci Peterson’s mother, “For Laci” details how authorities learned Scott Peterson was a murderous monster who killed his pregnant wife.  The courage and perseverance of Laci’s mother, and the kindness shown by strangers to assist Laci’s parents throughout the search and trial were moving.  I would recommend the book to anyone who thinks they know what happened to Laci.

7. A Stolen Life Jaycee Duggard’s honesty and courage in writing about the horrific life her captors imposed on her demonstrated her amazing strength and character.  Help captive for eighteen years, abandoned by the justice system, and tortured and raped repeatedly, Jaycee Duggard’s book depicted her struggle to survive unimaginable circumstances.  I found her truthful recount mesmerizing and would recommend it to those interested in human interest stories of courage.

8.The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I still cannot believe how fascinating this story was.  I could never have imagined the connection between an African American woman in the South with cancer and the history of medical science, or the impact that connection would have on me, and you, and everything we know about medicine.  A shocking tale about how doctors took Henrietta Lack’s cells and used them for their own financial gain was well worth the read, and I would recommend it to anyone.

9. Unbroken-  Mr. Zamperini’s heroic and true tale of surviving a plane crash, being adrift on a life boat for more than two months, and living as a POW was astonishing.  I am still dumbfounded that so much could happen to one man, and that he had the strength and courage to survive it all.  Unbroken was a well written biography filled with details that brought this veteran’s story to life, and I would highly recommend it.

10. Underboss – The true story of life in the mob in New York and under John Gotti was fascinating.  The intricate details of how Sammy the Bull Gravano lived  his life in pursuit of an Italian creed was jaw dropping. I haven’t stopped thinking about this book, or recommending it, since I read it earlier this year. Anyone who loves the Godfather movies would be absolutely amazed by life in the mob.


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