Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Eleven of 2011

Here's a QuickList of the eleven best books (not all of which were published in 2011) I have read in the past year:

*The End of Everything by Megan Abbott.    A tour de force missing-girl mystery.  (Read my review here.)

*Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne.  A treasure trove of info and insight concerning the modern celebration of the October holiday.  (Read my review here.)

*The Poet by Michael Connelly.  Thrilling narrative about the hunt for a Poe-referencing serial killer.

*Classics Mutilated by Jeff Conner (Editor).  Joe R. Lansdale's novella alone ("Dread Island," in which narrator Huck Finn rafts into Lovecraft country) makes this volume a must-read, but there are plenty of other delightfully inventive tales here as well.

*The Passage by Justin Cronin.  A beautifully written and fright-filled post-apocalyptic epic. (Read my Dark Passages post here).

*Halloween by Paula Guran (Editor).  A red-letter anthology for the black-and-orange crowd.  (Read my review here.)

*Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King.  This linked-novella collection rivals Different Seasons for sheer literary magic.

*Eddie and the Cruisers by P.F. Kluge.  A skillful (and at times surprisingly scary) variation on a hard-boiled detective novel.  (Read my Book vs. Film post here).

*Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan.  Harrowing subject matter; sublime prose.  (Read my Dark Passages post here).

*The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock.  American Gothic at its grittiest and most grotesque.  (Read my review here.)

*The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell.  Woodrell might be the most talented writer working in our macabre republic today.  (Read my review here.)

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