Witch’s Eleven

Here’s the 2011 top ten. Because it’s my top ten, it has eleven books. Because it’s 2011. Eleven is such a nice number. You know.

Anyway, I can’t have the same number every year. I need to keep my readers on their toes. There could have been many more. Books. Not toes, unless we count them individually, since every extra reader ought to bring around ten when they join.


I was aiming for some sort of order of colour in this pile, but eleven isn’t enough. And rest assured, I didn’t choose my list according to colour of spine.

Whereas in the photo the books are rated by colour, I will list them here based on titles in alphabetical order. It’s an even year, and almost impossible to pick a ‘winner.’

Being Billy, Phil Earle

Bloodstone, Gillian Philip

Caddy’s World, Hilary McKay

Cat’s Paw, Nick Green

In the Sea there are Crocodiles, Fabio Geda

Life, an Exploded Diagram, Mal Peet

Outlaw, Stephen Davies

Return to Ribblestrop, Andy Mulligan

There is no Dog, Meg Rosoff

The Unforgotten Coat, Frank Cottrell Boyce

Wonder Struck, Brian Selznick

My rules are few. The books need to be from this year. I need to have loved them more than I loved many other excellent books. They need to have made me go ‘Yes!’ when reading them. Made me laugh or cry, or both, that little bit more than average. I’m also hoping to have at least partially avoided what someone was complaining about on facebook the other week, which is that recommended books often have very little to do with what children read. Or rather, since I don’t know what children actually read, that I’m not recommending books suitable for adults only.

If I’m to elevate one book above the others, it will have to be Fabio Geda’s Crocodiles. And it’s not even fiction. And it’s a translation.

13 responses to “Witch’s Eleven

  1. I love the pile approach. I hope to get around to at least a couple of these before too long. Wonderstruck is the one that’s getting the push over here.

    So you don’t think of Falling Glass as a children’s book? I mean, there is a child or two in it…

  2. I love this time of the year for the top lists that everybody shares. I feel sad that I haven’t read any of the books from your list though. I am going to add Crocodiles to my TBR list now.

  3. What’s wrong with me? I have not read a single one of these books (although I own quite a few of these). That’s what happens when you spend more time writing than reading. I’m looking forward to correcting this. So … next year, it’s going to be Top Twelve Witchy Reads?

  4. Falling Glass. Hmm. The sex and the swearing and the violence just might disqualify it. Anyway, Adrian seems to be winning over on Crime Always Pays, where, strangely, readers are allowed to vote. Whereas I just tell you about the best.
    I hope I’m not ruining people’s lives here, by giving too much good reading advice?
    Candy, nothing wrong with you. At first I thought you were wondering why I hadn’t picked you as a winner, and was about to retort that you need to publish a new book first, but…
    No, can’t possibly pick 12 next year. I need a lot of variation. Maybe someone will write the perfect book, which knocks every single other book out? Or three. You just never know.

  5. Ooh! Thank you, Ann!

    I am dying to get Wonder Struck. Was about to buy it in Blackwells Edinburgh, then thought about carrying it all the way home. With any luck Santa will bring it.

  6. Thank you, thank you!
    Dead chuffed.

  7. Yum, lovely books! I adored Ribblestop, so am looking forward to the sequel. Bloodstone is amazing. Catspaw is cataclysmic – excuse the pun! haven’t read the others yet, so treats in store…

  8. I’ve read the McKay and the Peet and they are top winners!

  9. Sure people like to vote, but at heart, they just want to be told what to do, so stick to your guns. Or, uh, broomsticks.

    Over on his blog, Adrian has just said he hasn’t even let his own kids read any of his books, so I guess that would be the role model to follow.

  10. I’ve read five and written one, which means that you read at least twice as much as I do (though you do write fewer). Maybe if I wrote fewer books I’d have time to read more. Maybe if I spent less time blog-reading and writing, I’d read more. In the Christmas season, maybe if I drank less alcohol and ate fewer pies, I’d read more. In any case, thank you for reading the ones we don’t get to, Witch. (And thank you for liking my books.)

  11. At least they weren’t chosen under the influence. Tried to guess which five, but only came up with two.
    Sometimes people ask how many books I read every year. Perhaps I should count. In fact, I think I did last year, just to work out something vaguely statistical. Don’t remember.

  12. I’m fast! Here are those statistics. 133 books in 2010. Possibly slightly more than that, since there are occasionally books that don’t get a mention here.

    “I had a little look (well, not that little) through last year’s Bookwitch. I reviewed 96 ‘British’ books. (Ten of those were written by people not born in Britain.) Seven Irish and 18 American books, and twelve ‘other’. That’s 133 altogether. The last thing I need is a British book challenge.”

  13. Yikes. I think I’m down to about six a year, but I read portions of about five thousand others. I am not proud of this.

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