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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 23, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 51
SGN's top 10 books of 2011
Arts & Entertainment
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SGN's top 10 books of 2011

by Jeremy Behrens - SGN Contributing Writer

Throughout the year, I keep a running total of the books I have read. In 2011, I completed roughly 55 titles. (I say roughly because a few of them were required reading for school, and we all know how that goes!) Here are some of the best new reads of the year.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
A horrifying and thought-provoking look at a not-so-distant future where human dependence on machines turns deadly. As touching as it is scary, Robopocalypse is an eerie insight to where our own society may well be headed.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
An all-around stunning debut novel, The Night Circus weaves an enchanting tale of two love-struck illusionists pitted against one another in a mysterious competition set in the middle of an even stranger circus. This charming novel is sure to please fantasy and romance lovers.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
A master of history, Seattle resident Larson's novel was mentioned previously in my fall literary picks. Following an American ambassador's family's experience in Nazi-occupied Germany, In the Garden of Beasts creates a palpable, tension-filled world that bridges the gap between what can be seen as dull historical fact and clever, captivating narrative.

The Swerve: How The World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
While I first came to know Greenblatt as a scholar of Shakespeare, The Swerve is an interesting (although heavy at times) look at how one man's discovery of a lost manuscript changed the way humans think and perceive the world around them. A must read for any history buff, The Swerve is a 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction winner.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
America's favorite funny woman makes her debut as an author with the hilarious and inspiring Bossypants. A biography for anyone out there who has ever felt a little out of the loop, Fey's book shows a side of a Hollywood staple everyone has come to know and love (except Sarah Palin).

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Although this book is almost three years old, I would be remiss to leave it off the best-of-2011 book list because of the recent spike in sales thanks to the summer blockbuster. Following three women - one white and two black - in the South during the 1960s, The Help reveals the struggles, sacrifices, and solidarity in a community divided by social class and skin color.

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk
Always teetering on the line between beautiful and demented, Fight Club author Palahniuk does it again with Damned, the story of a 13-year-old celebrity child who winds up in Hell after a holiday marijuana overdose. Rife with allusions to one of the best Brat Pack movies, Palahniuk's latest novel is just the right amount of dark humor to round out the year.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Getting teenage boys to read can be tough, but Dashner's Maze Runner series will inevitably do just that. The Scorch Trials, the second book of the series, picks up where The Maze Runner left off - a group of teenage boys forced to survive in a seeming post-apocalyptic world. For all the bloodshed and action in this book, you'll have to buy the whole series because teens won't want to put them down.

Lady Gaga by Lady Gaga and Terry Richardson
This book is a little different because it isn't really one that you would go check out at the library or thumb through in the bookstore, but rather leave out on your coffee table to show that you are plugged into pop culture. Although I am not a Little Monster myself, the beauty of this book does not go unrecognized - the photographs of this pop-culture icon between the covers are simply breathtaking. And seeing as it just went on sale, think of what a great stocking stuffer or New Year's gift it would make!

We the Animals by Justin Torres
Torres's debut novel We the Animals redefines the coming-of-age story, as told through the eyes of the youngest of three brothers in a family as tight-knit as any could be. When the youngest son begins to realize he may not be like his brothers, the integrity of the family is tested, and the ties that bind are stretched to their limit. Of all the books on this list, I may have cried most during this one.

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A Jet all the way: An interview with West Side Story's Ross Lekites
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Burlesque Nutcracker sweetens Seattle's Christmas season
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Tony Bennett glistens in flawless Paramount show
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A Dyke About Town: The magnificent Taj Mahal Trio
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Prince at Tacoma Dome gives fleeting performance
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SGN's best of TV 2011
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SGN's top 10 books of 2011
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BEST OF TRAVEL 2011
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Hillary Clinton's most impressive speech on human/lgbt rights in Geneva ...most incredible


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SGN's best (and worst) films of 2011
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Northwest News
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Letters
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