Books Read in 2011

1.    Ray by Barry Hannah
2.    Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
3.    B is for Beer by Tom Robbins
4.    The Mulching of America by Harry Crews
5.    The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy
6.    Lightning Bug by Donald Harington
7.    The Widow and the Tree by Sonny Brewer
8.    The Heart Never Fits Its Wanting by Lee K. Abbott
9.    Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin
10.  All We Need of Hell by Harry Crews
11.  Edisto by Padgett Powell
12.  Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
13.  Spooner by Pete Dexter
14.  The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver
15.  Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
16.  Twilight by William Gay
17.  Dreams of Distant Lives by Lee K. Abbott
18.  Gringos by Charles Portis
19.  Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
20.  A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
21.  The Knockout Artist by Harry Crews
22.  Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
23.  The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
24.  How to Write Science Fiction by Paul Di Filippo
25.  The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
26.  When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger
27.  Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
28.  A Fire in the Sun by George Alec Effinger
29.  All Star Superman Vol.1 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly
30.  All Star Superman Vol.2 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly
31.  The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
32.  The Exile Kiss by George Alec Effinger
33.  Feet on the Street (abridged) by Roy Blount Jr.
34.  Fuddles by Frans Vischer
35.  When Dinosaurs Came With Everything by Elise Broach
36.  The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
37.  The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
38.  Red by Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner
39.  Budayeen Nights by George Alec Effinger
40.  God, No! by Penn Jillette
41.  The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
42.  Ubik by Philip K. Dick
43.  The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
44.  Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
45.  Dirty Work by Larry Brown
46.  Under the Wheat by Rick DeMarinis

These are the books I read in 2011. Just like Buckaroo Banzai, I went in many directions at once: a little non-fiction (essays and memoir), a little fiction (novels and short story collections), some graphic novels (which include trade paperback collections of issues) and a couple of children's books. I listened to some of these on audio which counts as reading in my book.

Of these books I'd have to say my favorites of the year were The Family Fang, Catch-22, Ubik, When Gravity Fails, Lightning Bug, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Ray, Gringos and Dirty Work. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all of the books I read, if I didn't I wouldn't have finished them--that's not strictly true, now that I think of it, I wasn't too fond of Twilight, but I liked Gay's short story collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down. I wanted to like this novel, and perhaps it bears a re-reading, but the ending was wrapped up too neatly for my taste.

I have to confess to knowing the author of The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson. I first met Kevin back in '09 when his short story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, came out. He was giving a reading at the late, lamented Carpe Librum and the collection sounded like my kind of book, quirky, funny and especially weird. Weird is good, let no one kid you about that.

I read that book in a week, which isn’t something I do very often anymore, and went to meet the author. Suffice it to say, we hit it off. Kevin is a really nice guy and one talented writer. I urge everyone to pick up Tunneling and The Family Fang. They’re very good books and worthy of all the praise they’ve been given. And look for him online, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, on the right side of his blog is a list of his recent publications many of which are online. Kevin’s one to watch. I think he just gets better and better.

All right, enough sucking up.

I don't re-read very much anymore, either, for the simple fact that I have waaay too many books. More than I might possibly ever read...nah, I'm gonna live forever, so no worries. But I did manage to re-read one of my favorites a couple of times. That book, Breakfast of Champions, is the Vonnegut book for me. It took my (literary) virginity, it is my longest lasting love and it still does not disappoint after all this time. I had the added pleasure of hearing it read by Stanley Tucci, who gave a stellar performance. 

Well, enough of this blathering, I've got books to read!

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