- What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007? (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
- What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007 (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
- And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?
I admit I am having difficulty choosing just one fiction book that I would consider the best of the lot published in 2007 of those I read. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, certainly was a great ending to a wonderful series. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold was not only disturbing, but well executed in style and story. Forgive Me by Amanda Ward surprised me by starting off as a more light read and yet tackling very serious and hard issues surrounding the history of Apartheid in South Africa and the painful reconciliation process. There were also Karen Olson's Dead of the Day and Clea Simon's Cries and Whiskers that are terrific additions to two must read mystery series. Kelley Armstrong steps away from her paranormal series with Exit Strategy, an entertaining and dark thriller. Alex Carr's An Accidental American, another dark thriller, was both intriguing and compelling. All seven of these fiction novels rated very good on my personal rating scale.
Only two of the books I read fall under the category of nonfiction books published this year. Lauren St. John's Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War, and an African Farm, a memoir set in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe earns the top honors in this instance. Lauren St. John took me into a culture and environment very different from my own and shared a part of herself with me.
As to whether "best of" lists influence my reading, much would depend on whose "best of" list it is. One of my favorite features this time of year is when bloggers post their "best of" lists, sharing their favorites with everyone. I do pay a attention to these lists, making note of titles that interest me. Of the more professional lists, I suppose I am influenced by them somewhat, although not always. I rarely seek out "best of" lists outside of the blogging and online reading group communities, preferring the more personal and "average joe" touch. At the same time, when I come across a link to the New York Times Notable list or some other "best of" list, I sometimes will read through it and may come across a book that sounds like it would be worth my time. I may not have noticed the book otherwise. Still, it is not the fact that the book made the list that is what draws me to it; rather, it is the subject matter of the book itself.