Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Top 100 Books of 2011 According to USA TODAY

The top 100 titles of 2011, compiled from USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

1 The Help Kathryn Stockett - A young white woman tells the story of black maids in 1960s Mississippi (F)

2 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins - Youth: Girl takes sister's place in a real world survivor game in a post-apocalyptic U.S. (F)

3 Heaven is for Real Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent Subtitle: "A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" (NF)

4 Water for Elephants Sara Gruen - Love, drama in a circus in the 1930s (F)

5 Catching Fire Suzanne Collins -  Youth: Katniss and Peeta are targeted as rebels after winning the Hunger Games; second in series (F)

6 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever Jeff Kinney - Youth: Greg is trapped with his family during a blizzard after he is accused of damaging school property (F)

7 Mockingjay Suzanne Collins -  Youth: Katniss must give herself completely to the rebellion for it to succeed; final in series (F)

8 Steve Jobs: A Biography Walter Isaacson -  Biography recounts the life of the late founder of Apple (NF)

9 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson -  Journalist is hired to investigate the disappearance of an heir to a wealthy family (F)

10 Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand Subtitle: "A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" (NF)

11 The Girl Who Played With Fire Stieg Larsson - An Eastern European sex-trafficking ring propels this sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (F)

12 Inheritance Christopher Paolini - Youth: Eragon and his dragon must topple an evil king to restore justice to their land; fourth in series (F)

13 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Stieg Larsson - Lisbeth Salander is accused of murder and turns to journalist Mikael Blomkvist for help; last in series (F)

14 The Son of Neptune: The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two Rick Riordan - Youth: Demigods Jason, Piper and Leo continue quest; second in series (F)

15 Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard - The Fox News host writes an account of President Lincoln's death at the hand of John Wilkes Booth (NF)

16 The Litigators John Grisham - Partners in a two-bit law firm land a big case that could make them rich (F)

17 A Stolen Life Jaycee Dugard - Memoir: Kidnapping victim recounts 18 years of captivity and abuse (NF)

18 A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin - Trouble and coldness descend on a kingdom where the seasons are out of balance; book one in series (F)

19 The Confession John Grisham -  The wrong man awaits execution in the rape and murder of a high school cheerleader (F)

20 The Best of Me Nicholas Sparks-  Lovers torn apart by unforeseen events reunite 25 years later (F)

21 Smokin' Seventeen Janet Evanovich - Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum investigates a series of killings; 17th in series (F)

22 Bossypants Tina Fey - The comedy writer and star of 30 Rock riffs on her life and career (NF)

23 11/22/63 Stephen King - A teacher travels back in time to try to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (F)

24 Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese - A 50-year epic that begins with the birth of conjoined twins to an Indian nun in 1950s Ethiopia (F)

25 The Throne of Fire Rick Riordan - Youth: Carter Kane and his sister Sadie continue their quest to save the world; second in series (F)

26 A Dance With Dragons George R.R. Martin - The fate of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again; fifth book in series (F)

27 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth Jeff Kinney - Youth: Greg learns to deal with boy-girl parties; fifth in series (F)

28 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot - The story of a Virginia tobacco farmer whose tissue cells became essential in creating the polio vaccine (NF)

29 Room Emma Donoghue - Story of a 5-year-old boy held captive with his mother in a single room, the only world he knows (F)

30 The 17 Day Diet Mike Moreno - Subtitle: "A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results" (NF)

31 Something Borrowed Emily Giffin - Young attorney falls for her best friend's fiance (F)

32 The Lincoln Lawyer Michael Connelly - Defense attorney gets his first high-paying client, trouble starts (F)

33 Sarah's Key Tatiana de Rosnay - A French journalist finds herself related to a young girl who was part of the 1942 Vel' d'Hiv' roundup (F)

34 Kill Alex Cross James Patterson - Alex Cross must stop an attack on Washington, D.C., while investigating the abduction of the President's children (F)

35 In the Garden of Beasts Erik Larson Subtitle: "Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" (NF)

36 Now You See Her James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge - A lawyer who began a new life in New York must return to Florida to confront her secret past in order to help a man framed for murder (F)

37 A Clash of Kings George R.R. Martin - Factions struggle to gain control of a divided land; book two in A Song of Ice and Fire series (F)

38 Breaking Dawn Stephenie Meyer-  Youth: Fourth installment in Twilight vampire series; movie (F)

39 Explosive Eighteen Janet Evanovich - Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum inadvertently becomes involved in an international murder mystery (F)

40 Dead Reckoning Charlaine Harris - Sookie Stackhouse witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's but family drama keeps her from investigating; 11th in series (F)

41 StrengthsFinder 2.0 Tom Rath - Lifetime strategies for using your talents (NF)

42 The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition Carol V. Aebersold, Chanda B. Bell - Children: Santa relies on elves to find out who has been naughty and who has been nice (F)

43 The Lost Hero: The Heroes of Olympus, Book One Rick Riordan - Youth: After saving Olympus, Percy Jackson and friends have rebuilt Camp Half-Blood for the next generation of demigods (F)

44 Awakened Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast - Youth: As high priestess, Neferet swears vengeance on vampire-in-training Zoey; eighth in series (F)

45 Tick Tock James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge-  NYPD detective Michael Bennett and a former FBI colleague investigate a series of murders (F)

46 10th Anniversary James Patterson, Maxine Paetro - Members of the Women's Murder Club juggle criminal investigation, murder prosecution and family drama (F)

47 The Paris Wife: A Novel Paula McLain - Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, tells her story (F)

48 Cross Fire James Patterson - Detective Alex Cross' deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig, is back and plotting revenge on Cross and his fiance, Bree (F)

49 Sing You Home Jodi Picoult - Zoe, a music therapist, faces prejudice when she finds love with another woman (F)

50 The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein - A novel that reflects on what it is to be human, told from the family dog's point of view (F)

51 The Next Always Nora Roberts - An architect woos his childhood crush while he and his family renovate a historic hotel (F)

52 George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin - Boxed set of the first four volumes in the Game of Thrones series (F)

53 The Sixth Man David Baldacci - Private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell must prove whether an alleged serial killer is guilty (F)

54 One Day David Nicholls - A yearly snapshot of a single day in a couple's 20-year on-again, off-again relationship (F)

55 Safe Haven Nicholas Sparks - Newcomer to small town deals with new love and dark past (F)

56 The Mill River Recluse Darcie Chan - A town’s fascination with a reclusive widow and her secrets could spell trouble (F)

57 A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin - Tensions build as the Seven Kingdoms remain at war; third in series (F)

58 The Affair Lee Child - Military cop Jack Reacher exposes a cover-up involving a fellow soldier (F)

59 The Search Nora Roberts - The past comes back to haunt dog trainer Fiona Bristow, the lone survivor of a serial killer (F)

60 Guinness World Records 2012 Guinness World Records - Record-holding figures and feats from around the world (NF)

61 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Jeff Kinney - Youth: Greg Heffley’s older brother knows secret; sequel (F)

62 What the Night Knows Dean Koontz - A homicide detective is on the trail of either a copycat serial killer or the ghost of one past (F)

63 The 5 Love Languages Gary Chapman - Subtitle: "The Secret to Love That Lasts" (NF)

64 A Feast for Crows George R.R. Martin - Power struggle continues in the Seven Kingdoms; fourth in series (F)

65 The Land of Painted Caves Jean M. Auel - The Ice Age-era story of Ayla as she struggles to balance motherhood and her training to become a spiritual leader; final in series (F)

66 Zero Day David Baldacci - John Puller, an Army Special Agent, investigates the murder of a family in rural West Virginia (F)

67 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney - Youth: Diary from a middle-schooler, Greg Heffley (F)

68 The Shack William P. Young - Man reconnects with God after death of child (F)

69 The Kane Chronicles, Book 1: The Red Pyramid Rick Riordan - Youth: Modern-day siblings discover that the gods of ancient Egypt are back and not happy; first in series (F)

70 Go the ---- To Sleep Adam Mansbach, illustrations by Ricardo Cortes - An adult-only version of a traditional children's bedtime book (F)

71 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw Jeff Kinney - Youth: Greg tries to toughen up to avoid military school; third in series (F)

72 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Jeff Kinney - Youth: Greg's summer plans include video games and no responsibility; fourth in series (F)

73 Toys James Patterson, Neil McMahon - Agent Hays Baker, who possesses super-human strength and intelligence, uses his powers to benefit mankind (F)

74 The Fifth Witness Michael Connelly - Defense attorney Mickey Haller represents a woman in foreclosure accused of killing her banker (F)

75 City of Fallen Angels Cassandra Clare - Paranormal: Shadowhunter-in-training Clary Fray sets in motion a chain of events that could lead to war (F)

76 The 4-Hour Body Timothy Ferriss - Subtitle: "An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" (NF)

77 Destined P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast - Youth: Forces collide at the House of Night when Zoey and her friends return for classes (F)

78 Something Blue Emily Giffin - Darcy's perfect world turns upside down (F)

79 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford - Henry Lee searches for Keiko, his long-lost love during World War II (F)

80 Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1: The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan - Youth: Percy goes to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon; movie (F)

81 The Abbey Chris Culver - A homicide detective ready to retire has one last case, investigating his niece's murder (F)

82 Kill Me If You Can James Patterson, Marshall Karp - A poor art student lands in hot water after stumbling upon a duffel bag filled with diamonds (F)

83 The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition The College Board - Instruction manual featuring official SAT practice tests (NF)

84 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs - Jacob, 16, discovers the crumbling ruins of an old home that may still be inhabited (F)

85 What to Expect When You're Expecting Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel -  Cover-to-cover revision of the popular pregnancy book (NF)

86 V is for Vengeance Sue Grafton - Kinsey Millhone investigates a professional shoplifting ring that is connected with the Mob (F)

87 Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5: The Last Olympian Rick Riordan - Youth: Percy Jackson attempts to stop the Lord of Time (F)

88 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee - Coming-of-age classic about racism; Pulitzer winner (F)

89 1105 Yakima Street Debbie Macomber - Bruce Peyton has his hands full with winning back a pregnant wife and raising a difficult teen (F)

90 The Drop Michael Connelly - LAPD Harry Bosch investigates a murder and a political conspiracy (F)

91 State of Wonder Ann Patchett - An American scientist stumbles onto a search for a miracle fertility drug (F)

92 Decision Points George W. Bush - The former president describes key decisions, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy (NF)

93 The Dukan Diet Pierre Dukan - Subtitle: "2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever" (NF)

94 The Glass Castle: A Memoir Jeannette Walls - Memoir: Walls, a regular contributor to, tells about her feckless parents and fending for herself (NF)

95 I Am Number Four Pittacus Lore - Youth: After aliens kill the first three Loric children of nine, the fourth, John Smith, must save himself (F)

96 Port Mortuary Patricia Cornwell - In her 18th Kay Scarpetta novel, Cornwell takes us back to the beginning of the medical examiner's career (F)

97 Hell's Corner David Baldacci - Former assassin goes on a high-risk, covert mission at the personal request of the president (F)

98 Treachery in Death J.D. Robb  - Detective Eve Dallas investigates the murder of an elderly grocery owner (F)

99 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPré - Youth: An English boy named Harry goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; first in series (F)

100 Goodnight Moon Board Book Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd - The old lady is still whispering hush in 1947 children's book (F)

Showing 1 to 100 of 100 entriesSearch: Source: USA TODAY Best-Selling Books

Writing Tip - writers are often required to describe their book or novel in one sentence ... many beginners think it can't be done. Take another look at this list!
Note: Nearly 25% of the books on this list are for children and the YA group.

1 comment:

Christina J. Adams said...

I've read many of the 'youth' books and it's always interesting to see where they line up, especially with the adult books. The biggest surprise for me was that none of the Twilight books made the list. I guess its popularity is waning and making room for the next big thing. And it's nice to see a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird still hanging in there. Thanks for the post, Patricia!