Here are my absolute favorite books from 2011, as part of my series, “The Year of Books.” The reviews are what I wrote at the time I read them (edited slightly for the blog).
Although I’m calling these my favorite books from 2011, the truth is that I loved so many books that it was hard to narrow down my “favorite” to just these four. I also loved all the other books that I’ve been posting about over the last couple weeks! But, these books really stick out so here’s my favorites.
1. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher
This is a fascinating look at how we perceive the world differently because of the languages we speak. Anyone who is interested in the words that we speak will love this book. My linguistics world was a bit shaken by the book because he contends that several of the “unshakeable truths” of linguistics which I was taught in grad school are actually obviously false. Over half the book is about our perception of color – and how the color blue is actually more of a cultural construct than an actual color. Read the book. (Thanks to Julie for recommending it to me in the first place!) (Perhaps you won’t love it quite as much as I did if you aren’t fascinated by words but it’s still a good read regardless.
2. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
This was an amazing book – superbly written, worth every minute and every word of the 500+ pages. This book was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize award for general non-fiction, making it the first book that I’ve ever read before it was awarded a Pulitzer.
3. Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield
If you’re a font nerd like me, you’ll really, really, really like this book. If you don’t care about fonts and use the default font of whatever computer you’re on, you’ll be bored. But, if you think you’re a font nerd (like I did) and then you read this book, you may discover (as I did) that you know nothing about fonts. And then, you might discover that there is actually a wide world of sans-serif fonts out there (besides Arial, gross) and you might discover that you like some of them (like Gill Sans, for example). You might also discover that if your life font is Garamond (like me), that you’re really pretty traditional and French in origin. And you might also feel a bit sheepish (you baaaaaaad boy) if you’ve ever used any fonts like Mistral, Papyrus, or Lucida Handwriting (guilty, but it was in my early years, I promise!). In short, a very fun books, if you think about fonts.
4. Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God by David Platt
I admit to fairly cynical thoughts when I saw this slim book on the New Nonfiction shelf at the library. I’ve heard of this author’s book “Radical” and I just figured this was a way to make a quick buck off of that book’s popularity. And perhaps that was part of why it was published so quickly after “Radical”. But, I will say that for such a little book, it has the potential to drastically change the North American church – and potentially to change the way we (meaning Nik and I) live. There’s much to think about in this book. Now I just have to read “Radical” to get the full picture.