I’ve always been a regular reader, but in late February of this year I realized the pace of my reading was no match for the ever-growing pile of books on my nightstand. Frankly, reading one book a week isn’t making a significant dent in the aforementioned pile, but I’m consistently chipping away at it, and that feels good. I’ve read over 40 books since February 25th.

I can’t overstate it enough—IT FEELS GOOD TO READ A BOOK A WEEK. The book-a-week challenge is the one area in my life where I haven’t fallen short of my goals. (See my attempts at writing two pages a day and my hope of eliminating sugar from my diet. Good times.)

While I enjoy announcing my book-of-the-week choices on the blog, I do not review those books in any formal way other than putting an asterisk by my favorites. I have no talent whatsoever for writing reviews, nor do I particularly enjoy reading reviews of a novel before I’ve read it for fear that the reviewers will give too much away, which they almost always do.

I do, however, LOVE making lists. And yes, I realize 2011 is still going strong. But if the New York Times can publish their “100 Notable Books of 2011” list on November 21st and their “Top Ten of 2011” today, then I feel justified announcing my favorites. Please note, I enjoyed all of the books on my reading log, otherwise I would not have read each one to the end. The books listed below, (mostly fiction, one memoir, and one book of essays) made it my top ten because I’ve found myself thinking about them long after turning the last page.

I would have written a summary for each of my choices; instead I linked to the good people at Barnes and Noble since they already provide excellent information on their website. And I had a baby three weeks ago. I can only do so much.

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE READS OF 2011 (in alphabetical order by author)






THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins






BELONG TO ME by Marisa do los  Santos










THE BIRD SISTERS by Rebecca Rasmussen





SLOW MOTION by Dani Shapiro





THE LITTLE BRIDE by Anna Solomon





THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett





THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU by Jonathan Tropper





THEN CAME YOU by Jennifer Weiner

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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, a writing workshop leader at ModernWell in Minneapolis, ModernWell's book club host, and the friendship columnist at The HerStories Project. She reviews 50 books a year on her blog and writes essays, short stories, and articles for other sites and print magazines. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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