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books of 2011

by Rob Friesel

All the 2011 books:

Hadoop: The Definitive Guide
Professional JavaScript for Web Developers
The Joy of Clojure
Shadow and Claw
Holy Fire
All the Pretty Horses
The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron
The Castle of Llyr
Taran Wanderer
The High King
The Name of the Wind
The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
The Word for World is Forest
The Gunslinger
White Noise
The Stars Are Also Fire
How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Rob’s favorite books »

My Top 5 Favorite Reads from 2011

  1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss — The fantasy novel for readers that otherwise don’t like fantasy.
  2. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem — Lethem continues to blow me away; this was amazing.
  3. The City & The City by China MiĆ©ville — “It’s like John le Carre finishing a Raymond Chandler manuscript by getting Jorge Luis Borges to scribble suggestions in the margins.” (review)
  4. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood — The title gives it a way: a flood myth for the twenty-first century. (review)
  5. Chthon by Piers Anthony — A visceral, prurient, and Freudian science fiction psychodrama. (review)

Honorable mentions

  • Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams — As you could tell, the above list was limited to novels. But this anthology was so well done I could not not mention it here. (review)
  • The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin — Best non-fiction I read all year. Not just a great (and accessible!) discussion of physics as a science, but also of the curiously destructive system in place around all sciences. A fascinating read. (review)
  • Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate — …which I didn’t even actually like all that much; but this was a book that I thought was emblematic of how people should go about thinking about and learning new programming languages. As has been said a few times now: this book is more important than it is good.

All the Bookmarks

All the odds and ends that ended up between the pages to mark my place this year:

  • bookmarks (old, new, and found)
  • Post-It notes
  • shopping lists
  • envelope scraps
  • receipts
  • business cards
  • a Maker’s Mark “Ambassador” card
  • a postcard with a catamount on it
  • a child’s drawing

Bonus Round

A “timeline” style visualization of my 2011 shelf: here.

And for the nerds out there: here is the script (and some of the assets) that I used to generate the timeline visualization. (In the style of Bruce Tate, I’ll leave it up to the intrepid reader to acquire their own API key and fit the rest of the bits together.)

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day. Science fiction writer by night. Weekend homebrewer, beer educator at Black Flannel, and Certified Cicerone. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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