The Chicago Tribune's favorite books of 2011
As 2011 comes to a close, we take a minute to reflect on the year's best in the world of publishing. Here is the list of our favorites, all published this year:


"The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain

This gorgeous novel portrays the whirlwind romance between Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson during the Jazz Age of Paris. (Ballantine Books, $25)

"Dreams of Joy" by Lisa See

In this sequel to "Shanghai Girls," sisters May and Pearl return to late 1950s China where they must fight to maintain their family bonds. See's meticulous research succinctly captures this tumultuous revolutionary period and its affect upon human life. (Random House, $26)

"The Girl in the Blue Beret" by Bobbie Ann Mason

Decades after World War II ended, an American pilot returns to France to try to locate the members of the French Resistance who saved his life. This thrilling tale of wartime love and suffering is based on Mason's father-in-law's real experiences. (Random House, $26)

"Exiles" by Cary Groner

A divorced cardiologist retreats to Nepal with his teenage daughter to start a new life in a volunteer clinic. But the emotional and physical destitution are far graver than he ever imagined in this lush yet war-spooked country. (Spiegel & Grau, $25)

"The Tragedy of Arthur" by Arthur Phillips

A clever faux memoir in which Phillips describes helping his possible con of a father authenticate a long-lost Shakespeare play. (Random House, $26)

"The Curfew" by Jesse Ball

While a war rages on all around them, a father and his young daughter try to maintain a life filled with love and stability. (Vintage, $15)

"The Illumination" by Kevin Brockmeier

After a mysterious event on earth, no number of band aids can keep the light shining from your child's boo boos. Suffering is literally illuminated in this transcendent novel. (Pantheon $24.95)

"The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach

A baseball novel that achieves so, so much more. This impressive debut is set in a small Midwestern college and is rife with well-drawn characters, including instant classic baseball star Henry Skrimshander. (Little, Brown and Company, $25.99)

"Anatomy of a Disappearance" by Hisham Matar