The Most Criminally Overlooked Books of 2011

Unfortunately, hundreds of great books come out every year to little or no critical attention, a fate that is perhaps unavoidable given just how many books are published all over the world (hundreds of bad books come out to no acclaim either, but no one really minds about them). Perhaps at the crucial moment, a critic finds himself too busy with the most recent Franzen behemoth or the latest posthumous sensation to notice a little book that flits across his desk, or perhaps (and we know this to be the case) there’s simply not enough space or time for her to talk about every book she’d like to. Of course, for any one person, the amount of hype a book gets is, to a certain extent, subjective — that is, it depends on which media outlets you pay attention to. So in an effort to draw your attention to a few books that we felt didn’t get quite enough hype in the last twelve months, click through to check out our list of the ten most overlooked books of 2011, and let us know which diamonds in the rough you’ve uncovered this year in the comments.

Luminous Airplanes, Paul La Farge

La Farge’s newest novel, which he has dubbed a “hyperromance,” is accompanied by an entire universe of “immersive text” at the book’s website, which expands on the printed book in all directions, a seemingly infinite web that can be explored in any direction. Even if this weren’t the case, La Farge’s prose is a delight: deft, sharp and thoughtful — he is a writer’s writer in many ways, but he’s also a reader’s writer. And don’t worry, you don’t have to finish all of the Internet stuff. But you might want to.