R.C.M. finished 2011 having read over 100 novels; for me the number was more like 50. Despite our often divergent tastes, we agree on what was our favorite novel we read last year: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. This was probably the most hyped debut novel of the year, and there is some backlash against it as a result, but I urge you to keep the haters at bay–and, hey, it’s good for rousing enthusiasm about what special places small colleges can be.
Other shared favorites: The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai (wins you over with its charm), The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris (wins you over by being completely unsettling), The Zero by Jess Walter (wins you over by being, well, not like any other 9/11-inspired novel you will ever read, and in a good way).
Our major disagreements for the year: The Night Circus by Erica Morgenstern (she loved it; I didn’t finish) and Busy Monsters by William Giraldi (I thought it was hilarious; she sort-of-snickered once).
As always, your suggestions for further adventures in fiction are welcome.