(Credit: Random House and George R R Martin)

I just spent a few moments looking at the top 20 list from Booktopia for 2011. I have read five of them: not sure if that’s such a good score. Here’s  a very brief note about each of them.

1. George RR Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series (Counting this as one book)

The series is extremely enjoyable epic fantasy, but be warned: the  scope is enormous — so enormous that as you get onto the fifth book you start wondering whether, like in the Wheel of Time, this series has become too far flung and complicated for the different  threads ever to be drawn together and the series finished.

2. Jean M Auel’s The Land of Painted Caves

Avoid, Avoid! This book turns into a history lesson and there’s none of the tension and fun of the former novels.

3. Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep

A wonderful present to give to new parents, a book that cuts to the quick and shows that not all of parenting is joyous. I read this one at someone else’s house and have been chuckling ever since.

4. Charlaine Harris’ Dead Reckoning

My husband likes to call this my vampire sex series. It is a guilty pleasure, but it’s hard not to like it. So much killing and sex, and the author keeps adding elements that make you want to come back for more.

4a. Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance

OK, OK, I haven’t read this one. But I did read Eragon and decided I wasn’t hooked enough to continue the series. Anyone going to convince me to try and read the rest of the books?

5. Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap

I read this for my family’s book group. My husband, who comes from Germany, did too. He asked me if all Australians behave this way. I hope not was my answer. Certainly, the book seems to be a lesson in behaving badly, but there’s something compelling about the train wreck group of friends and relatives that Tsiolkas describes.

Then, an honourable mention goes to Cassandra Clare whose Mortal Instruments series has made its way onto my wishlist after seeing it in the Booktopia list.