ABC’s Favorite Reads of 2011, Part C

And yet another installment of our Favorite Reads of the Year! Part A is right here, and Part B is here.

These favorites come from Renate, Joe, and Martijn.  Renate is ABC Amsterdam’s Fiction and Poetry buyer, and likes to read while she works.  Joe is another pillar of ABC The Hague, having started the store way back when vinyl was the way to listen to music; he is now one of ABC The Hague’s EBM Operators.  Martijn is ABC The Hague’s newly minted Senior Member, as well as the buyer for the Sports, Humor, and Art/Photography section.

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, 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!


1. Legend of a Suicide – David Vann
Imaginative. Emotional. Funny. And a Suicide? Yes. It worked;)

2. Open City – Teju Cole
Stream of consciousness-like novel about a wanderer in New York/Brussels/Nigeria. Simply beautiful novel.

3. Nox – Ann Carson
Ann Carson deals with her brother’s death through this wonderful “book” of poetry/pictures. Wow.

4. Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
Never read it before and after reading Ginsberg’s Howl I wanted to read this one. An American Classic and it still resonates. Poetry:)

5. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
One of the reasons why I decided to study English Lit and I just wanted to re-read it. Still beautiful.

Number 6: A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
Creative and often very funny. Didn’t make the top 5, but still wanted to mention this one 😉


1. One Day – David Nicholls

2. Two Caravans – Marina Lewycka

3. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

4. Evolution – Stephen Baxter (read it for the 3rd time)

5. Field Gray – Philip Kerr


Kill the Dead – Richard Kadrey
After the first installment, which took off a bit hesitantly I think, the series about Sandman Slim – a boozin’ and swearin’ young man back on earth after 10 years of fighting in Hell’s arenas- comes into its own. Funny and fast. Think Harry Dresden with bigger balls.

The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
Won a lot of prizes so I gave it a go. The book is slow at first but gathers momentum until the very end. Set in Thailand about 200 years from now it has great characters, rising oceans, genetically manipulated foods, animals and people and gives food for thought. This is a plausible future for us.
Great book if you like biopunk sci-fi…..

Map of Bones – James Rollins
Somehow I got hooked on the Sigma Force novels. Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown. Sigma Force is a Special Ops team that specializes in religious artifacts that could be world-threatening. A lot of (pseudo) science, history, art history and plenty of action. Nice page turners, great fun.

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins
Maybe the best children’s series to have been published in recent years. A believable heroine to root for in this post-apocalyptic fantasy book.
Katniss Everdeen has to perform in the Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death game with kids that’s being broadcast on national TV.
Very tense, sometimes very dark, but with a big heart and loads of thrills. A+

Beyond the Shadows – Brent Weeks
A classic fantasy trilogy (part 1: The Way of Shadows, part 2: Shadow’s Edge) about a boy that trains to become an assassin. Of course has has gifts he didn’t know about and goes on to become the last hope of a kingdom in chaos.
Loads of action, some humor, Evil with a capital E, memorable characters, nice system of magic. One of the most fun fantasy series I’ve read for some time.