All of the major booksellers have their lists of what they consider to be the best books of 2011. Indigo.ca has theirs grouped by type - kids, fiction, non-fiction etc. Amazon's top 100 books of the year are located here, also broken down into categories.
Looking at the lists, I can see that they're mostly the top sellers, a few of which only just came out. The retailers are probably basing their lists on how many of the books sell - not always the best indicatator of how good a book is, just how much of a media influence there is. Of course, I think they're also limiting themselves to books that came out this year too. A reasonable limitation for this category.
I've got two questions for you though, to make my own list of the top books for 2011.
First of all, what was your favourite book that came out this year, i.e. the best read, the book that made your year perfect, the book that you've been waiting for for a long time?
My second question is more or less the same, but it's not limited to just books from 2011. What's your favourite read of this year? - the book that you can't believe that you waited this long to read, even though people have been telling you to read it for years. Or, it could have been a complete surprise, impulse buy off the shelves.