Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn is a bit of a rebel when it comes to these annual book lists. Here’s how she introduces this one:
Before I share The Seattle Times list of 2011’s most worthy books, I’m going to divulge an opinion: I think the whole “best books of the year” concept is squishy. How can there be exactly 10 best books published in a given year? Number 11 was probably a pretty good book, too.
But readers love “best of” lists, so here’s our version. In the interest of disclosure, here’s how we do it: I ask reviewers to nominate the best book published in 2011 they reviewed for us, and the best book published in the past year that they read but didn’t review.
Here are the results — 32 books, 21 fiction (who says the novel is dead!?), 11 nonfiction. Top vote getters were three novels, “The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes, “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides and “Ed King” by David Guterson, and Erik Larson’s work of nonfiction, “In the Garden of Beasts.”