If, like me, your shelves are looking rather bare of books you are yet to read, it’s high time you started doing some pre-emptive book shopping. If you’re stuck for ideas though, here are 10 of our top bestselling books from 2011 you can use for inspiration:
1. Snowdrops – A.D. Miller
Nominated for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, Snowdrops is a book that you’ll definitely have difficulty putting down. Snowdrops – that’s the name the Russian’s give to dead bodies hidden in the snow drifts. During his time inRussia, Nick, a British lawyer, began a whirlwind romance with the devilishly dangerous Masha, but she showed him the darker side to the country and his secrets, like those dead bodies, won’t stay hidden forever …
2. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
Set in the American Gold Rush of the 1850s, Eli and Charlie are on their way to kill a man inCalifornia. The two are already notorious in hometownOregon, but Californian Hermann Kermit Warm has to die. On the way though, they experience a multitude of violent and unsettling events, and the two brothers simply cannot get along. Once inCalifornia, things don’t go to plan when they realise Warm is an inventor, and his newly created magical formula has the potential to make them all incredibly rich.
3. The Impossible Dead – Ian Rankin
As the second in a two-part series, The Impossible Dead is even better than its predecessor, The Complaints. This time, we follow Malcolm Fox and his Internal Affairs team as they begin to investigate a fellow police officer. Things aren’t as easy as they seem though, as the team are soon wrapped up in conspiracy theories and cover-ups from 1985, and Fox finds himself trapped in a dangerous situation.
4. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Set in 1886, The Night Circus is a love story that will captivate even the most stone-hearted of readers. Following the fantastical lives of Celia and Marco, two magicians in a travelling circus, the plot slowly uncovers the secrets held within this dark and mysterious world, which is controlled by devious minds.
5. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away – Christie Watson
Blessing and her brother Ezikiel enjoy a charmed life inLagos,Nigeria, but when their father’s infidelity comes to light and their mother is sacked from the Royal Imperial Hotel, they suddenly find themselves living in poverty-stricken conditions. Documenting the re-birth of a broken family, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away is Watson’s first novel and has been nominated for the 2011 Costa First Novel Award.
6. The Sealed Letter – Emma Donoghue
This gripping novel follows the shocking divorce of Helen and Vice-Admiral Codrington in 1864, one of the bitterest of its time. The Sealed Letter is a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page, as the plot slowly unravels to reveal the many hidden secrets of its characters.
7. Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman
Eleven year old Harrison Opoku and his family have just arrived fromGhana, andHarrison’s mother is desperate to keep her children as safe as possible in an unfamiliar country.Harrisonis blissfully unaware of the various dangers around him though, and when a young boy is murdered and the police investigation goes cold, he decides to begin his own hunt for the killer. In doing so,Harrisonunwittingly endangers his entire family, with devastating consequences.
8. Half Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan
Set in wartimeParisin 1940, Hieronymus Falk is a rising star on the cabaret scene, and when the black German citizen is arrested in a café and is never heard from again, friends and family assume he is simply another casualty of war. But then, fifty years later, when Sid’s old bandmate meets with his old friend Chip, truths come to light. In sharing a mysterious letter with Sid, Chip and he begin to piece together the real story of Hieronymus Falk’s disappearance.
9. A Discovery of Witches – Deborah E Harkness
The first book in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches begins the moment historian Diana Bishop peels back the cover of an ancient alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library. Diana is a witch with impressive power, but she decided long ago to bury that part of her. The manuscript has other ideas though, and a world of witchcraft is released, with daemons, witches and vampires gathering in the streets ofOxford.
10. The Invisible Ones – Stef Penney
Private investigator Ray Lovell is investigating the disappearance of Rose Janko, a young girl married to Ivo Janko, the son of a gypsy family, when he is involved in a terrible accident that puts him in hospital, fluctuating between paralysis and complete delirium. Before the accident though, Lovell was battling with the Jankos to allow him into their world, but the family are desperate to keep their secrets under lock and key. As he suffers in hospital, Ray begins to question whether one of these secrets caused Rose’s disappearance, but it isn’t a question that is easily answered …