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I’m not much into New Years resolutions, but I am into best-of end of the year lists. I mean, really into them. Not only do I keep detailed lists of what I read and listen to each year, but I also read everyone else’s top-ten lists and make my own. What’s the greater purpose of this, you ask? Well, I say, let’s not run around asking questions.
Since I don’t read brand-new published-in-2007 books all year long, I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite books and mention a few books you should stay away from at all costs. The complete list of what I read this year is down below – it’s shorter than most years because I spent a solid three months at the beginning of the year reading nothing but short essays. Not that I’m making excuses.
This might also be a good time to tell you about my favorite book website, GoodReads. If you’re on it, you should be my friend. And if you’re not on it and like reading (and making exhausting lists) you should join.
Also – if you read something awesome this year, leave me a comment about it so I can get my hands on it.
Without further delay…
The best book I read in 2007 that was published in 2007: Like You’d Understand Anyway by Jim Shepard.
Runner up: No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. So I thought the movie that she wrote and directed You, Me, and Everyone We Know to be completely unwatchable. And I found her author photo to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen. And when I was feeling cynical, I found her stories to be trying too hard and a little too focused on some sort of weird Daddy issues she might have. HOWEVER (and this is a big however) she has an unbelievable ability to describe small moments and tiny emotions. It is amazing and it is worth reading through all of the other stuff for these alone. Ignore the Aimee Bender weirdo quirky Hipster-Realism stuff and focus on the little bits of humanity.
The best book I read in 2007 regardless of when it was published: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I had read most of Hemingway’s popular stuff over the years but hadn’t ever picked up this one. I read it while Ben was gone on a business trip and it might have been the most intense, weirdly isolating three days of my life. His writing style makes me want to give up. I sobbed while reading the last page – and I don’t usually sob over anything. I’m more of a whimperer.
Runner up: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Ben and I have been nothing less than evangelical about making our friends, family, and strangers read this book. I’ve talked to weirdos about it on the train. Ben has mailed copies across the country. We should really make a pamphlet that outlines the major points about why this book will make you love the people you love just a little bit more than you thought you could. I don’t know anyone who has taken more than 48 hours to read it.
The other runner up: West With the Night by Beryl Markham. I love reading about totally badass women and I love adventure stories. And I love beautifully written prose. I just wish I had read this book when I was 12 – it might have formed me into a better person. Buy it for your daughters and nieces. Hell, buy it for your sons and nephews.
The worst book I read in 2007 that was published in 2007: Flower Children by Maxine Swann.
The worst book I read in 2007 regardless of when it was published: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This is also the runner up. That’s how bad it was.
The complete list (highlighted books link to my blog reviews of them)
- Money by Martin Amos
- Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
- Leviathan by Paul Auster
- March by Geraldine Brooks
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- O Pioneers! By Willa Cather
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
- The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
- But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz by Geoff Dyer
- The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer
- The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- Modern Love edited by Daniel Jones
- No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
- The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
- West With the Night by Beryl Markham
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
- Fooling With Words by Bill Moyers
- Despair by Vladimir Nabokov
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessel
- Three cups of Tea by George Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
- Like You’d Understand Anyway by Jim Shepard
- Great Dream of Heaven by Sam Shepard
- Caucasia by Danzy Senna
- The Best American Sports Writing edited by Glenn Stout
- Flower Children by Maxine Swann
- If the Creek Don’t Rise by Rita Williams