A Year in Review: The Book Stuff

Strangely, I had trouble coming up with the top ten books for last year. Don’t know why that is. I had like seven or eight sure nominees and then struggled to find the last few books that I thought most deserved to be in the list. Whatever. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t read any good books this year. It just means that there weren’t so many that really stood out.

10. Anne Tyler, Digging to America

I’ve always liked Anne Tyler’s books and this one is no exception. The story about two very different families who share one thing: Their daughters were both adopted and arrived on the same day. Very charming.

9. John Marks, Fangland
As far as I remember I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but overall this was an excellent and scary read. I also seemed to like books about vampires this year.

8. Walter Moers, Der Schrecksenmeister

There’s no way Walter Moers writes a new book and I won’t buy the hardcover edition and love it. It’s just not going to happen. I doubt there’s an English translation, though.

7. Leonie Swann, Three Bags Full

I don’t really read crime mysteries. It’s that genre I usually only read when I run out of books and turn to what I haven’t read out of our bookshelves (i.e. the husband’s books and/or books that I didn’t and will never finish). But this one was a crime mystery with sheep. The sheep solved the crime. The sheep were great. Loved it.

6. Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale
The Thirteenth Tale is just the right kind of book if you happen to have an open fireplace. But it’s also good when you don’t have one. Very mysterious and Victorian or whatever I think Victorian means. The story about an old writer who tells her life story.

5. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Yeah. I mean. Who’d have thought?

4. Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
The best of this year’s vampiry books. A voyage through time and all over Europe on the quest to find out the truth about Dracula. Awesome.

3. Irene Nemirovsky, Suite francaise
Oh my God, did I love this book? Even more surprisingly since I expected to dislike it so much (same happened with Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible). These are three different tales about France during WWII and each one will break your heart. Seriously.

2. Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion’s story about the aftermath of her husband’s death is just as sad and heart-breaking and wonderful as you could possibly imagine. Read this.

1. China Miéville, Looking for Jake
Look at that. There’s actually a short story collection making it to the top this year. I just loved, loved, loved Miéville’s imagination. Each story was a great read and is highly recommended. It might have helped that I really like weird fantasy. I guess.

Also notable:

Best Book With a Vampiry Theme: Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (As expected.)
Saddest Book: Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (Also as expected.)
Book That Seemed the Longest: Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver (Actually, Confusion seemed even longer, but I didn’t finish that in time to actually count for 2007. Go figure.)
Weirdest Book: Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby (Runner-up: Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions)
Best Short Stories: China Miéville, Looking for Jake (Anyone surprised?)
Most Charming Book: Leonie Swann, Three Bags Full (Hey! Sheep! Sheep that solve a crime! What’s not to charm?)
Best Children’s Book: Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams, Tunnels (Nearly made it into top ten, by the way.)
Best Comic Book: Jeff Smith, Bone Vol. 1: Out of Boneville (Representing Vol. 2 as well. I haven’t come any further yet. It’s just too cute.)
Best Book About a Talking Teddy Bear: Clifford Chase, Winkie (Also a nominee for both saddest and weirdest book.)