The very best books of the year 2011 (so far)

This year there are three stand-out winners, which is not usually the case.  These are all major books which virtually everyone should read, at least provided you read non-fiction (fiction) at all:

1. Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined.  My review is here.

2. Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, interesting on every page and lives up to the hype.  Here is a good review by Michael Rosenwald.

3. Haruki Murakami, IQ84.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I feel confident putting it on the list (I’m about one-third through).  I even agree with many of the reservations expressed in this review but the book is nonetheless a major achievement.  There are dozens of reviews here.

Here is the (lame) PW list of the ten best books of the year.  And if you are wondering, I have sour impressions of the new Eco and Joan Didion books.

Soon I’ll prepare a longer list of my favorite books of the last year, in part for your gift-giving purposes.


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