Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best of 2011

(The following Best of 2011 list was orginally published in the Marquette Mining Journal.)

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012! The New Year is already upon us, so this is an excellent time to look back at the best new books I have personally read in the last year. Working at the Peter White Public Library provides a great opportunity to see all the new and interesting books that come in, and I’m always on the lookout for something good to read. Here is my Top 5 from 2011, and just for fun let’s make it a countdown.
5. Mission of Honor by David Weber – This is the twelfth book in the acclaimed military science fiction series, and it may have been the best one yet. For those who don’t know, The Honor Harrington series is basically Horatio Hornblower in space. If you are looking for a new series to read for 2012, you may want to take a look at this series. It should appeal to all military and science fiction fans.
4. The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It by Scott Patterson – This book provides an incredible inside look at the enigmatic world of the top hedge fund managers on Wall Street.  This is certainly one of the more interesting books of 2011, and if you have ever seen a Wall Street executive on C-SPAN being grilled in front of Congress and wondered how he got where he is today, The Quants is the book for you.
3. Life Itself by Roger Ebert – Ebert is one of the greatest newspaper writers of all time, not just one of the greatest film critics. This memoir tells his entire story, from when he was a small boy growing up in Urbana, Illinois all the way to his much publicized fight with thyroid cancer and beyond.  Ebert also writes about his favorite actors and directors and his decades long battle with alcoholism.
2. Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN  by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales – If you are like me and have been watching ESPN for years then this is a must read. Did you know that ESPN stand for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network? Were you aware of the rampant allegations of sexual harassment in the early days of the company? There are a lot of things you would never have guessed about one of the most successful cable companies of all time, and if you want to know more then you need to definitely give this a try.
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – When I pulled this book out of the bin one Saturday morning did I know this would be the best book I would read all year? No, but after reading the inside cover I knew it would be one of the most interesting. The story takes place in the year 2044, and the real world is falling apart, so everyone is logged into a virtual reality network called OASIS which has supplanted reality in every aspect. People go to school, have jobs and spend the majority of their lives on OASIS. When the billionaire creator dies and leaves his fortune to one lucky individual who can solve an in-game quest, it sparks a worldwide hunt that has real world implications. This book will appeal to any science fiction fan, or anyone interested in the future. It is jammed full of sci-fi and 80’s references. If you read this you will not be disappointed.
B. S. – Circulation Department

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