2010 is ancient history and book lovers (who undoubtedly read everything good in 2010… and previous years) are looking forward to the literary year to come. The Millions has posted a fantastic list of their most anticipated books of 2011, Flavorwire has a slideshow of their top 10 of 2011, The Daily Beast has also weighed in, as has The Guardian. The Complete Review has posted a list of the lists with editorial commentary–and has pointedly excluded linking to The Guardian‘s list for its inclusion of James Frey.
Easily the most mentioned title among the lot is David Foster Wallace‘s posthumous The Pale King. I hope to be pleasantly surprised on this front, but I feel we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment with that title. Decades of anticipation over Nabokov’s lost manuscript led to the whimper that was The Original of Laura, and I can’t help but feel that a similar fate awaits The Pale King. If it was truly a great, finished book, I think Wallace, despite his deep depression, would have realized it and had it published. On the other hand, we have the posthumous work of Franz Kafka… and so with that in mind, I suppose it is our duty to anticipate and hope.
Anyhow, let’s open up the conversation. Which titles on these lists strike your fancy? Which ones don’t deserve the advance praise? (A memoir by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz? No thanks!) And finally, most importantly, which books are being left out on these lists? We’d especially like independent publishers and readers to spotlight the 2011 indies that are absent from these lists. It’s only six days into the new year, and already it’s easy to feel that some great books are being pushed aside by the powerhouse titles.
Looking forward to your recommendations. And to the year of reading ahead.