Our second installment of the best of 2011 features important works by authors from the great Pacific Northwest. After sampling them, you might want to try our recommended memoirs and literature titles. Enjoy!
Fiction West of Here, by Jonathan Evison Since the dawn of recorded history, the Klallam Indians have thrived upon the bounty of the Elwha River. In 1889, on the eve of Washington’s statehood, the Olympic Peninsula remains America’s last frontier. But not for long. As northwestern expansion reaches its feverish crescendo, the clock is ticking…
Fiction Night Road, by Kristin Hannah After a string of foster homes and the death of her heroin-addict mother, Lexi Baill is taken in by a great-aunt who lives near Seattle. Lexi meets Mia and her twin brother, Zach, and is drawn into their family circle. Then Lexi, Mia, and Zach make a decision that results in a tragedy with extreme repercussions.
Mystery Betrayal of Trust, by J. A. Jance Seattle P.I. J. P. Beaumont uncovers a crime that has a devastating effect on two troubled teens, and becomes even more of a firestorm when it reaches into the halls of state government.
Thriller/SF Reamde, by Neal Stephenson When his own high-tech start up turns into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family who has amassed an illegal fortune, finds the line between fantasy and reality becoming blurred by a virtual war.
Arguably: essays, by Christopher Hitchens Hitchens ruminates on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men, the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard, the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell, the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad, the enduring relevance of Karl Marx, and how politics justifies itself by culture.
The Best American Non-required Reading An eclectic volume introduced by Guillermo del Toro and compiled by Dave Eggers and students of his San Francisco writing center, who don’t leave a stone unturned in their search for nonrequired gems.
Why Read Moby-Dick?, by Nathanial Philbrick Philbrick, a Nantucket resident himself, skillfully navigates Melville’s world, illuminating the book’s humor and unforgettable characters by finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times.
Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller, by Tracy Daugherty From the Jewish immigrant community in frenetic Coney Island, where Joseph Heller took refuge in books as a boy, to the military base on Corsica from which he flew 60 missions as a WWII bombardier, from the high jinks of the Borscht Belt to high-stakes Madison Avenue, literary biographer extraordinaire Daugherty traces the slow brewing of Heller’s now-classic satirical war novel, Catch-22.
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love, by Matthew Logelin Logelin writes a courageous and searingly honest memoir about the first year of his life following the birth of his daughter and the death of his wife.