Reading is perhaps one of the most important things in a writer’s life. I’ve had a very good year; my reading life has been rich and inspiring. Here are the books that simply enthralled me (in no particular order):

In fiction:

The Rehearsal, by Eleanor Catton

Tinkers, by Paul Harding

The Blind Contessa’s New Machine, by Carey Wallace

The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

Curiosity, by Joan Thomas

Father of the Rain, by Lily King

Room, by Emma Donoghue

Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates.

November 22, 1968, by Adam Braver

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

The Color of Lightning, by Paulette Jiles

Evening, by Susan Minot

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick

In non-fiction:

Lives like Loaded Guns, the story of Emily Dickinson and her family, by Lyndall Gordon

The Death of Donna Whalen, by Michael Winter ? I know, this is usually called “fiction”

A Week at the Airport, by Alain De Botton

The mood, the beauty of the prose, the compelling insights: every single one of these books still linger with me. If my reading life is even half as good in 2011, I will consider myself lucky.

Happy holidays, all!