Monday, December 31, 2007

The Seventh Day of Christmas: Best Books of 2007

It was a very good year for reading for this Late B(l)oomer; I read more books this year than any other year since I began keeping records - eighty-two books, forty-seven of them fiction. That’s a much more balanced reading list than most of my previous years. Of the total number of books read, ten were rereads and I listened to twenty in audio format in the Saturn. I was surprised the list was as long as it was, since I did much more time-consuming painting. In considering my favorites for 2007 I eliminated any book read in a previous year, although some actually were among my favorites. The list was arbitrary; I chose ten fiction books, and ten non-fiction. These choices aren’t necessarily classics, but for whatever reason, I found them entertaining, informative, moving, or possibly all three. I tend to like books that are have strong narrative voices, interesting language, and complex characters. I want a book to take me somewhere new, to help me see the world through new eyes, to kick me up side of a head.

Ideas for my reading come from lots of places. My local book group of neighborhood friends is a source of titles, and often they nudge me to read books I wouldn’t have chosen on my own. Likewise, I belong to a couple discussion groups on AOL, and their wide and varying interests point me to lots of good books. Over the past year I have kept lists of books I read, as well as comments about them on a web site called Shelfari. That community of readers is generous with their comments and suggestions for titles to consider. Sometimes a book just jumps into my hand at our excellent local library.  The list I’d like to tackle in 2008 is probably longer than the time I have to read. But back to 2007.

Here goes. My favorite ten fiction titles were as follows (no particular order):

1. An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishaguro
2. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera
3. The Darling, Russell Banks
4. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
5. Falling Man, Don DilLillo
6. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
7. The Gravedigger, Peter Grandbois
8. The Shadow Catcher, Marianne Wiggins
9. Stoner, John Williams
10.The Summer Book, Tove Jonsson

Here are my favorite non-fiction titles:

1. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes, Awal Gawande
2. Isaac’s Storm, Erik Larsen
3. Log From the Sea of Cortez, John Steinbeck
4. Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah
5. Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich
6. Shadow Divers, Robert Kurson
7. Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson
8. The Amateur Emigrant, Robert Lewis Stevenson
9. The Golden Spruce, John Vallaint
10. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichel

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Oh, I love these kinds of lists. And some of these books I haven't read, so I will add them to my wish list. Perhaps I will make a list of favorite books, too. You always inspire me to good things, Sherry!