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The Best Books of 2011: Chosen By Readers, For Readers

Congratulations to our winners in 22 categories, with more than 638,000 votes cast! View the full results to see all the runners-up—and discover tons of new books to add to your to-read list!

See results!

Favorite Book Fiction Nonfiction Young Adult Fiction Humor
Historical Fiction Fantasy Science Fiction Biography Memoir

See All Winners & Nominees in 22 Categories »


To celebrate the end of 2011, Goodreads chats with some the year's biggest authors! Also, browse our past interviews to pad your holiday wish list.

Veronica Roth

A gutsy heroine in a bleak, near-future Chicago threatens to upset the delicate balance of five ruling factions in Divergent, a dystopian novel by a 23-year-old prodigy.


Paula McLain

Get a glimpse of the Roaring Twenties in The Paris Wife, a historical novel about the love life of literary giant Ernest Hemingway narrated by his first wife, Hadley.


Jon Ronson

Do you know any psychopaths? Find out about their manipulative and narcissistic ways in The Psychopath Test, a nonfiction exposé of madness by a daring journalist.


Erin Morgenstern

Two magicians compete in a decades-long duel with unknown stakes in The Night Circus, a fantasy-laced tale full of twins, kittens, and phantasmagoric attractions.



Cassandra Clare

The fantasy writer will answer fan questions on December 16 in a live chat about Clockwork Prince, the second book in her Victorian London steampunk series.


Gabrielle Zevin

On December 13, join the young adult novelist for a live chat about All These Things I've Done, the story of a mafia boss's daughter living in 2083 New York City.



Katherine Govier's Favorite Gifts for History Buffs

Know an armchair historian? Try these recs from the author of The Printmaker's Daughter, about an unsung Japanese artist.


Eric Weiner's Favorite
Gifts for Travelers

The globetrotter behind the multicontinent spiritual quest Man Seeks God selects the ideal books to give to those with wanderlust.


Marilyn Brant's Favorite Gifts for Romantics

Escape the winter gloom with her new book, A Summer In Europe, and share her top five love stories with your tenderhearted friends.


John Feinstein's Favorite Gifts for Sports Fans

The sportswriter offers his all-star reads and relates the highlights of his career alongside athletic greats in a new memoir, One on One.



Benjamin Buchholz

After a year in Iraq, U.S. soldier Buchholz wrote One Hundred and One Nights, a novel about daily life in the war-torn country and its undercurrent of violence.



MWF Seeking BFF

by Rachel Bertsche (Goodreads Author)

Newlywed Bertsche is thrilled to set up house with her husband in Chicago but saddened to leave friends behind in other cities. In this memoir, she challenges herself to go on 52 friend dates and chronicles the mixed results.


420 Characters

Artist and illustrator Beach pushes minimalism to an extreme in this short fiction collection. Each evocative vignette or quirky character study is told in 420 characters or fewer—the maximum length of a Facebook status.


Thirteen Hallows

by Michael Scott & Colette Freedman (Goodreads Authors)

When Sarah Miller agrees to help a dying mugging victim, the favor quickly turns dangerous. Dark agents are murdering the guardians of an ancient magic one by one, and now they are chasing Sarah in this gory thriller.


The Sexual History of London

The Roman Londinium brothels of A.D. 43, Henry VIII's Buggery Act, Oscar Wilde's indecency trial—social historian Arnold leaves no debauched stone unturned in this lusty account of nearly 2,000 years of sex in London.



Luis Fiore goes duck hunting with a bottle of gin and ends up shooting his wife twice. Newly available in English, this modern Argentine classic dissects a crime from the perspectives of four characters connected to the murder.



by Marie Lu (Goodreads Author)

In a future Los Angeles beset by war, plagues, and natural disasters, 15-year-old June belongs to an elite military family. When her brother is murdered, June chases a criminal from the slums in this young adult novel.




Using volunteer teams made up of disadvantaged American teens, this nonprofit builds schools in developing nations such as Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mali.



Want your words to reach 5 million people? Goodreads and the ¡POETRY! group have partnered to host an ongoing poetry contest. Join the ¡POETRY! group to vote each month to pick a winner from among the finalists. You can also submit a poem for consideration. Here is our December winner!


by Tricia McCallum (Goodreads Author)
The sun was hotter.
You can tell.
Look at us squinting against it in photos then.
Everything washed out by the glare,
cheekbones, jawlines,
all detail surrendered.
we could be anybody.

The gardens, look, they're parched.
It hurt to walk on the grass.
We lay in scorched backyards
slathering butter on our chests,
chain-smoking, eating fluorescent cheesies,
swilling scarlet soda,
everyone burned red raw.

we felt nothing could go wrong.
Our lives lay ahead of us.
Men were above us,
landing on the moon.

Read more poetry

With love,

Jessica, Elizabeth, and the Goodreads Team

P.S. Goodreads is hiring! We have open positions on our engineering and advertising teams, and we're looking for wordsmiths who like to interview authors.


What is the tree's final gift to the boy in The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein?

  1. apples
  2. lumber
  3. a seat
  4. shade

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