Here at Powell's, nothing gives us greater joy than sharing our favorite books with our customers and having our customers share theirs in return. So, annually we ask you to determine which titles should earn the coveted Puddly Awards, Powell's version of the Oscars. Thanks to all who voted for this year's titles!
We asked you to vote for the best book you read in 2011, and you responded in record numbers. Now, the results are in. And, kudos to you, we might add. So exuberant were we at this final 50, we wanted to mark the occasion with a poem (we are booksellers, after all). But as Jay Z, whose inability to complete his infamous album Fly to Be Dry, long ago noted, "It's really hard to rhyme with 'galoshes.'" So, we'll skip the fanfare, and take you straight to... your 2012 Puddly Award winners!
by Kathryn Stockett Customer Comment from pjona
The birth of yet another American classic. I fell in love with this book with the characters, the language, the story, the writer. Stockett's skill at telling a story so historically and socially complex is stunning. I loved every minute of this page-turner....This one's a keeper. I promise you won't be disappointed.
The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern Customer Comment from michael lueck
Even though my wife cautions me against using superlatives this was the most imaginative novel I have ever read. Ms. Morgenstern's characters are well drawn and the plot never lets you down, but it is the world that she creates and allows to grow that raises this book above all others I read in 2011.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
by Suzanne Collins Customer Comment from Emily Holland
This novel has quickly moved from "young adult" to the head of modern dystopian literature. Suzanne Collins gives readers an inside look into the horrors of post-apocalyptic life through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen, a refreshingly strong female character. With a blockbuster movie well on the way, this novel is perfect for people of all ages....
State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett Customer Comment from Krista Kabacy
This is another excellent novel by one of my favorite writers. The medical-pharmaceutical concepts, the jungle setting and the character relationships are fascinating. This book is such a page-turner. It would certainly make an excellent movie!
Cutting for Stone (Vintage)
by Abraham Verghese Customer Comment from Sandra Lippert
A profoundly deep and painfully depicted story of the touching, intermingling, and joining of human lives in a land where the very essence of life itself is at a premium. The intricate detail and trail of this story never ceases to amaze no, astound.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand Customer Comment from Rita R
This amazing book about the life of Louis Zamperini kept me up late at night and caused me to play hooky from work (don't tell my boss!). The writing is fabulous and the details just grab you. I don't usually like "war memoirs" but this was so much more than I ever imagined. It truly was the best book I read in 2011.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot Customer Comment from Meigan
Rebecca Skloot knocked my socks off with this book. The story itself encompasses human tragedy, injustice, and bravery, against a backdrop of science the politics swirling around it, the inner workings of the biotech machine, and an exploration (made fascinating and enjoyable to read) of the science behind the story itself.... I think everyone should read this book!
by Stephen King Customer Comment from sgerritson
...[A] sprawling tale that ranges across the country and back in time to the early 1960s, where/when the protagonist has gone to try to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. The book is well plotted and paced, the characters have their quirks, and the details...are authentic. A great read that I couldn't put down.
by Haruki Murakami Customer Comment from nduck1
Magical, suspenseful, philosophic, and dreamlike I couldn't put this book down (despite its heft). Besides the intriguing story, the broader questions about life, connections, love, and reality stayed with me long after I finished. A truly remarkable book!
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2)
by Patrick Rothfuss Customer Comment from chriskitgordon
I re-read The Name of the Wind before I began The Wise Man's Fear, and was thrilled that the second book in the planned trilogy was as good or perhaps even better than the first. Patrick Rothfuss is a brilliant world-builder and storyteller. I can't wait for volume three.
Results were calculated based on the number of votes submitted for a given title, not a specific ISBN (edition, binding, et al.). For example, all the votes for The Help be it for the paperback, the hardcover, the audio book, the first edition, and so on count toward its placement in the final list.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.