ABC’s Favorite Reads of 2011, Part B

That’s right, another installment of our Favorite Reads of the Year! Part A is right here.

These favorites come from Nyjolene, Karin, and Pleun.  Nyjolene is ABC The Hague’s New Age and Fashion buyer, as well as a fabulous singer (you heard it here first!).  Karin is one of ABC Amsterdam’s marketing guru’s, and erstwhile Fantasy & Science Fiction buyer.  Pleun is, as you might have discovered if you read this blog regularly, a great cook, as well as ABC Amsterdam’s Mystery/Thriller and Crafts buyer.

We would love to hear about what YOUR favorite reads of 2011 were, too! They don’t have to be books published in 2011, just read in 2011. Please send your top 5 to blog@abc.nl, and be sure to include your mailing address so we can send you an ABC gift voucher as a thank you. We’ll be publishing your Top 5s at the beginning of 2012, so you have a month to hand them in.  Thank you to those who have already mailed them in!

And now, without further ado… the lists!

Nyjolene

First and foremost…… THE HUNGER GAMES – Suzanne Collins!!!!!
Absolutely the best series I read this year. I loved it!
The story is so refreshing in the midst of the magic/vampire hype, and it’s an intelligent and heavy story. The main character is very down to earth, real, and… not so nice (that’s refreshing too :))
If any book is a must buy it’s part one from this trilogy (cause for sure part 2 and part 3 will follow :)).

Sisterhood Everlasting – Ann Brashares
BEAUTIFUL!!!
I started reading the Traveling Pants series last year, and there was a small gap between book 4 and this last book, but that was perfect! See, now the girls are approaching 30, and they’ve grown up. It’s beautiful to see, as if they’re real people and you get to catch up after a few years of being out of touch. It was very moving… a delicious read indeed!

The Ring of Solomon – Jonathan Stroud
Stroud made my year!! My favorite book series (before being introduced to the Hunger Games that is…) is the Bartimeus Trilogy. And this year Stroud brought out a book 4!! A prelude of sorts. It features Bartimeus, but few of the other characters of the trilogy. It’s was a fun read, but not as good as the original 3.

The Host – Stephenie Meyer
Honestly, I really don’t like the Twilight Saga. So when a friend of mine recomended that I read The Host by the same author, I kindly declined. This friend however knows me very well, and insisted that I’d love this book. She was absolutely right! I loved it, soo much! The story is about an alien invasion on Earth (I know, but hear me out…) The main character is shared by a girl that has an alien inside her, but doesn’t lose her own consciousness. So they share a mind & body, and their relationship evolves interestingly… I strongly recommend it!

Geisha of Gion – Mineko Iwasaki
It’s a true story, and an interesting one at that. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but the subject has always intrigued me. This story gave a clear picture that was entertaining at the same time.

Pleun

Before I Go to Sleep – S. J. Watson
One of the best crime novels I’ve read in a long long time. A slow start but gains momentum later on. A real page turner if I ever read one!

London Under – Peter Ackroyd
My fascination with London continues and this book needs a special mention. Almost an appendix to the wonderful London: the Biography, this is a must have! If you like subterranean rivers and deserted underground stations this is your book.

The Wanderer Plays on Muted String – Knut Hamsun
I read this one almost 10 years ago and loved every page of it. I must say I am not the romantic fool like I used to be but it still touched me. If you can forget Hamsun’s background and you like a good romantic tragedy this one is for you.

Made in Sicily – Giorgio Locatelli
Mouthwatering recipes from the brilliant Locatelli. Lots of vegetable dishes to keep you cooking the whole year round. How I long to go to Sicily so if anyone wants to sponsor a poor bookseller please contact me!

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady: A Facsimile Reproduction of a Naturalist’s Diary for the Year 1906 – Edith Holden (only available secondhand)
A wonderful account of the seasons changing in rural England. With beautiful drawings to accompany the written text. As a nature lover this is a true treasure.

Karin

The Reapers Are The Angels –  Alden Bell
I don’t like the whole vampire hype that’s been around for years now and zombie fiction REALLY doesn’t ring my bell. So I have no clue why I decided to read this “zombie” novel. The scary thing being is that I just loved it!!!

World Made By Hand – James Howard Kunstler
I am a sucker for near-future dystopian fiction and this one made my all-time top 10 in this specific genre.

Sister – Rosamund Lupton
Thriller/Literature. There are six women in my book club and we NEVER like the same books… But we all loved this one! We actually went to London together after reading this book and went all over Hyde Park to find THE toilets. We still have to email the author as we didn’t reach agreement! LOL

Winter’s Bone – David Woodrell
Loved this little gem. Still have to see the film. Gripping, chilling and courageous.

Lost on Planet China – J. Maarten Troost
My brother lives in China and I will visit him again in February. A fascinating country and people. Maarten Troost makes you wonder and laugh while he tours this massive nation.