Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2007 edited
    we've got best album lists in the other section, I figure it is our retrospective duty to look back at the best books put out this year.

    I'm thinking mainly in terms of non-graphic novels, since that's most of what I read and comics require different kinds of value judgments and could clearly be their own thread by someone better read than I. After we consider the first obvious choice: Crooked Little Vein and move on from there to consider the second best novel of the year. (easily the most entertaining book I read this year but not the best, probably ranks 3rd or 4th though overall.)

    Anyway, my pick for this year is pretty far and away Cormac McCarthy's
    The Road. (I'd decided this before the Pulitzer committee or Oprah, I swear.) If you haven't read it, it follows a father and son tramping through a desolate America after an unspecified apocalypse, everything is dead and the air is full of ash, people tend to move in bands hunting other people or stripping old towns of food and supplies.
    I have never read a book that dwells so wholly on the precipice of complete despair and hopelessness. The man is kept alive by his son and the son by his father, they live only for each other and only barely. It's written in a very distinct quick style that turns some people off immediately. Dialog is done with line breaks and not the usual punctuation. I felt this kept me immersed in the book but alot of that was plot too. Generally, it's a polarizing novel, you tend to love it or it does nothing for you.

    What did other people really enjoy this year? It was a pretty good year for books from what I can tell.
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2007
    I didn't read too many new books this year, but What is the What by Dave Eggers is excellent.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    I'm currently listening to The Road. It's damn good, I must say, though I do hope I never have to hear the words "I'm really scared" ever again. I read No Country for Old Men after seeing the movie and enjoyed it, so I figured I'd try another of McCarthy's books. Being that The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic world made the choice of which book obvious.

    That's actually the only book I've gotten my hands on that was published this year. I did read Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, which was excellent, but I think that came out at the end of last year.

    (ot)I hate Oprah so much. I really wish she wouldn't go around putting her name on books. It pisses me off to know that Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Steinbeck, and Ellie Weisel all have her name on their books. They do not need her. She is useless. I explained this to people at my work, now they all make fun of me whenever I mention a book, saying stuff like "Is that in Oprah's book club yet?" It's kind of funny, really. (/ot)
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    If Oprah's getting people reading who wouldn't normally be doing so, I don't have a problem with that at all.
  1.  (379.5)
    For someone who was once an avid prose reader, trying to answer this is making me very aware how few books I read this year that were not light reading (Patriot Acts, Feast of Crows, Making Money ect...). I think I know what one of my goals for next year needs to be.

    I mean I have to say Crooked Little Vein simply because its the only substantial prose novel I read this year.

    Wow, I feel really displeased over this.
  2.  (379.6)
    I've been stuck in the past for most of this year and I'm struggling to think of anything that came out in 2007 that made much of an impression on me. There's a lot of stuff that I would have liked to have read but, being the welfare scrounger that I am, I haven't really been able to afford much in the way of new titles.

    Looking back I think the only new title I read all year was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That was a perfectly acceptable kids book but I'll be damned if I'm going to let it be my book of 2007 by default. I feel ashamed enough about my secret Harry Potter habit without adding to the misery.

    In terms of the best things I actually read in 2007 I'd have to say that Charles Jackson's 'The Lost Weekend' stood out from the rest of the pack. A disturbing and accurate study of an alcoholic on a three day bender it certainly ain't comfortable reading but it is bleakly compulsive.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    Spook Country was nice.
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    2012: Return of the Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck
    I don't really know if pseudo-shaman Pinchbeck knows what the hell he's talking about, or if the ancient Mayans truly had their astral finger on the galactic pulse, but if all this brew-ha-ha about the end of the world as we know it has any merit on the other side, then by all means lets flip a bitch and turn over a new leaf, its fun to read and imagine anyways-- be Ye as little Children, Hoka Hey!!

    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" by Wil Wheaton
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2007
    Some of my favorite reads this year (not all published this year...):

    Crooked Little Vein--Warren Ellis
    Darkly Dreaming Dexter--Jeff Lindsay
    Company--Max Barry
    The Crimson Labyrinth--Yusuke Kishi
    Twilight Watch--Sergei Lukyanenko
    Perfect Circle--Sean Stewart
  3.  (379.11)
    The newest book I read this year is Book of Dave by Will Self, which came out in paperback this year. So it nearly counts.

    It was remarkably good, but not his best work. It also took a bit of effort learning the dialect/slang he invented for it.

    On the subject of Oprah, her recommendation sounds like a good thing. It appeals to a certain sort of person, and if it causes more people to pick up Marquez instead of some shite like Dan Brown then she is doing good work.

    Maybe Marquez doesn't need Oprah, but plenty of people with no clue what to read that want something recommended to them do. I think that's a good trade off for the embarrassment of a few people who don't want to buy a book with her recommendation on it on principle.

    But then I am not in the USA so I don't know the full story. Her book club sounds like a good thing to me though. Anything that promotes great books is good.
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2007
    Well, of course Crooked Little Vein, The Road, and Spook Country, but I also enjoyed Lost Echoes by Joe R. Lansdale and Fast Company: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Motorcycles in Italy by David M. Gross. The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl was...okay, not great.