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The Point Picks for 2011

Today on The Point with Mindy Todd we talked about the books we most loved in 2011, and the books we looked forward to reading in 2012.

Listener Picks

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
A Monster Calls: a novel by Patrick Ness; inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd; illustrations by Jim Kay
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje via e-mail. Mindy didn’t have time to get to this one.
“Arresting book. What a fluid relationship this writer has between the mind and the hand penning just the right word and phrase. This contained story take splace on sea voyage taken by an eleven year old child who observes and later recalls everything that goes on in that small world the ship represents. This is partly autobiographical, but the point is the writing; Ondaatje’s is brilliant no matter the topic.”

Jill’s Favorite Books Read in 2011

Before Lunch by Angela Thirkell. You can read the article that started me reading Angela Thirkell here.
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams
Higher Gossip: essays and criticism by John Updike, edited by Christopher Carduff
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, with art by Maira Kalman
Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust (an ongoing project for me)

Jill’s Picks for 2012

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays by Marilynne Robinson
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Prisoner and The Fugitive by Marcel Proust
More of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire Novels

Quotation on sleep by Proust:

“Every night perhaps, we accept the risk of experiencing, while we sleep, sufferings that we consider to be null and void because they will be endured only in the course of a sleep that we believe is without consciousness. In fact, on the evenings when I returned home late from La Raspelière, I was very sleepy. But as soon as the cold weather arrived, I was unable to get to sleep right away, because the fire was so bright it was as if a lamp had been lit. It had only flared up, however, and – as with a lamp, or daylight when dusk falls – its too bright light was not long in dying down; and I entered into sleep, which is like a second apartment that we have, into which, abandoning our own, we go in order to sleep. It has its own system of alarms, and we are sometimes brought violently awake there by the sound of a bell, heard with perfect clarity, even though no one has rung. It has its servants, its particular visitors who come to take us out, so that, just when we are ready to get up, we are obliged to recognize, by our almost immediate transmigration into the other apartment, that of our waking hours, that the room is empty, that no one has come. The race that inhabits it, like that of the earliest humans, is androgynous. A man there will appear a moment later in the aspect of a woman. Objects have the ability to turn into men, and men into friends or enemies. The time that elapses for the sleeper, in sleep of this kind, is utterly different from the time in which a waking man’s life transpires. Its passage may now be far more rapid, a quarter of an hour seeming like a whole day; or at other times much longer, we think we have just dozed off, and have slept right through the day. And then, on sleep’s chariot, we descend into depths where the memory can no longer keep pace with it, and where the mind stops short and is forced to turn back.”

Marcel Proust
Sodom and Gomorrah
Translated by John Sturrock

Melanie’s Picks


The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke

Zone One by Colson Whitehead


Under Cape Cod Water by Ethan Daniels

The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick

Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz

Arguably by Christopher Hitchens

Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow


Perspectives on the Provincetown Art Colony by Deborah Forman

Cape Cod and the Civil War: The Raised Right Arm by Stauffer Miller


A Crow in Grandma’s Kitchen by Julia Whorf Kelly

My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer

The Little Black Dog Has Puppies by J.B. Spooner

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan Shea

Riding on Duke’s Train by Mick Carlon

The Tinsel Tail Mouse by Ken Boyd

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