The 10 Best Books I Read in 2011

To the Field of Stars

My Favorite Book of 2011

2011 was a record year for me in terms of number of books read. I use Goodreads.com to keep track of my reading, and about this time last year Goodreads opened up the 2011 Reading Challenge. My goal for the year was 36 books, which was a slight increase over the past few years. I had read 31 books in both 2009 and 2010, and my previous high was 34 books in 2006. I felt fairly confident that I could read three books a month. Much to my joy, I surpassed my goal, completing 44 books this past year.

Ebooks on the Rise

As the year draws to a close, I have just finished The Lord of the Rings, which I haven’t read in some time. In fact, it’s been almost five years since I listened to the unabridged audio recording narrated by Rob Inglis. This time–for the first time–I read it on my Kindle ereader, and as I look back on the year, I see that 25 of the 44 books I read were Kindle editions (about 57%). In 2009, the year I got my first Kindle, I read 8 ebooks out of 31 (26%), and the following year 17 out of 31 were ebooks (55%). I wonder what the percentage will be at the end of 2012. I imagine it will be somewhere in the sixty percent range, since I prefer to read on the Kindle whenever I can.

My Favorite Books of 2011

The following list of the ten best books I read in 2011 does not include books that I re-read. If that were the case, I would have included The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the first four books of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. Here, then, are the books I read for the first time that were most meaningful and enjoyable to me in 2011, roughly in the order of how enriching and enjoyable they were:

  1. To the Field of the Stars by Kevin Codd (see my review here)
  2. With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz (see my review here)
  3. Poverty of Spirit by Johannes Baptist Metz
  4. No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton
  5. My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ
  6. Paradise on the Steppe by Joseph Height
  7. The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  8. Preaching Better by Ken Untener
  9. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue
  10. Deacons and the Church by Owen Cummings

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

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