Top 16 Books Of 2011
Original List by zankrank

the social animal
Brooks's exploration of pop psychology wrapped in a humorous and entertaining narrative is a one of a kind masterpiece.
the marriage plot
Jeffrey Eugenides - Like many of the heroines of the Victorian novels she favors, Madeline Hanna, Brown University class of 1982 English major, must choose between men: the hungry wanderer Mitchell Grammaticus or the brilliant but troubled Leonard Bankhead. Madeline goes with the latter, sidelining her own intellectual pursuits in favor of riding a manic depressive's roller-coaster through the dawn of semiotics, post-structuralism, identity politics, and psychopharmacology. A coming-of-age novel that's as unapologetically erudite as it is funny, fun, and profound.
righteous indignation
I thought Righteous Indignation was going to be a typical good summary of the evils of socialism in today's society and a call for us to do something about it. Boy was I wrong. It was all that but it wasn't typical and it wasn't good- it was excellent. Andrew Breitbart has created a unique political history of the modern information age in an entertaining and informative way. What "The Social Network" did for its niche, "Righteous Indignation" has done for political media. Breitbart seems like an average Joe, and by most accounts, he is. But one thing separates him from the crowd: a passion for media and a desire to tell the truth. This passion is what thrust him into the world of Hollywood (of which he would later attack in and got him connected t
chaos and kingdom
JSB Morse - Imagine the charter city of Ur in which there are no taxes, no forced regulation, and no laws except one—harm no one. It would be a libertarian paradise—a productive, free-market utopia with no equal on Earth. But would it work? Would people behave or fall into a chaotic dog-eat-dog arena in which the strong would simply crush the weak? Jacob Tanner is about to find out. He will take his life-saving pharmaceutical company to Ur in order to escape an overbearing government bureaucracy. But just when Jacob’s drug company becomes profitable, he is confronted with financial dilemmas and a shocking truth about his industry and his business partners. He can prevent the deadly epidemic his drug treats, but in order to do so, he must overcome a corporate conspiracy that stands to prof
Troy Grice - This is by far the best independent fiction I have read. Not only was I interested enough from the sample to buy the book, I finished it within three days. "Indidvisible" is a fast-paced, entertaining, and at times, infuriating dystopian libertarian novel that I whole-heartedly recommend. There is a disclaimer, however. This book is in serious need of a thorough edit. It seems odd to have such a high-quality story out there with such poor editing, but that is the case. If you are one to let a few typos a chapter get in the way of your reading enjoyment, this is not the book for you. Also, though the book is written in third person narrative, it would be more fitting as a first person omniscient. However, I believe that the 1-star reviews for this book are disingenu
the devil all the time
Donald Ray Pollock - Take a man from Ohio who's worked blue collar, send him for an M.F.A., and set him loose. Pollock, whose debut collection, Knockemstiff, was a knockout, strikes again with a terrifying cast of rural characters: the haunted WWII veteran, the husband and wife serial killers who target young men along the Interstate, the predatory revival preacher and his wheelchair-bound guitar-playing cousin, all tied together with violence, sin, and gorgeous prose into a mesmerizing slice of Americana.
Ann Patchett - The best two female adversaries in recent memory cut a swath through the Amazon rain forest in Patchett's exotic, intelligent, ambitious, and engaging novel. A straitlaced, sincere research scientist from Minnesota is sent to find and assess the progress of the unorthodox septuagenarian doctor who's gone native while on a fact-finding mission to extend female fertility.
Ron Paul is by far the foremost liberty-minded member of the US Congress. He is consistently on the side of individual freedom and the only consistent political philosophy: do anything you want as long as it doesn't infringe that same right of others. "Liberty Defined" is the best of Paul's works to date and it clearly outlines the libertarian stance on 50 issues in American politics today from Abortion to Zionism. In those essays and in the 48 in between, Paul shows how good-intentioned (or otherwise) people have used government to promote certain things, produced unintended consequences, and ultimately driven us from America's founding principles based on unalienable rights. Paul then goes on to show the alternative take from a libertarian viewpoint and what society would lo
Daniel Kahneman
Maureen McHugh - Incisive, contemporary, and always surprising, McHugh's second collection confronts near-future life with an ironic and particular eye. Her characters live with zombies, struggle to make ends meet on the Arizona–Mexico border, and cope with China's descent into capitalism in stories that stretch the boundaries of imagination.
11. bossypants buy from 5
Tina Fey - We know Fey's wit from her writing (and acting) in SNL, 30 Rock, and whatever movie she stars in, but she adds to her wit a disarmingly frank and uncensored account of her life, stitching together the serious and the comic.
Andrew P. Napolitano- Bring this book into any public setting in which you're bound to talk to people and you will inevitably get into a regular firestorm of a conversation. That's because Napolitano represents a very controversial set of ideas that center around one: liberty is good. It's really a shame that these ideas are controversial but it's no wonder. The left see liberty as a threat to their ever-expansive debt-ridden nanny state, and the right see liberty as a threat to their ever-expansive debt-ridden military state. In other words, there are very few Americans remaining who can make up their own mind about the role of government because so many are dominated by the mainstream political spectrum.
Paul Hendrickson - There's never been a biography quite like this one. Hendrickson covers Papa's rise and fall by focusing on his most steadfast companion: his boat, Pilar. She was the stage on which Hemingway fished, brawled, wrote his novels, ranted about his poor reviews, raised his sons, and seduced other men's wives. The stories are rich with contradiction and humanity, and so raw and immediate you can smell the salt air.
Binyavanga Wainaina - A Kenyan Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, this sublime word-drunk memoir from the Caine Prize–winning author describes a coming-of-age rent by political troubles and suffused by a love affair with language.
Christopher Hitchens - As a political, cultural, and literary critic, Hitchens stands alone, as demonstrated by this major collection of mostly recent essays and reviews covering a range of topics, from America's founding fathers to the state of the English language. You don't always have to agree with this fearless polemicist to appreciate his erudite mind.
16. catherine the great buy from 1 A down vote will remove this item!
Robert K. Massie - Pulitzer-winning biographer Massie—of Nicholas and Alexandra and of Peter the Great—now relates the life of a German princess, Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, who became Empress Catherine II of Russia. Once again Massie delivers, with this masterful, intimate, and tantalizing portrait of a majestic monarch.
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