Thursday, December 20, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: And the Nominees Are . . .

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?
As you can well imagine, I am only able to speak to the books published in 2007 that I actually read. About a quarter of the books I have read so far this year were published in 2007, which is a decent standing. While none of this year's published books held that "wow" factor for me, I was rarely disappointed.

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.


  1. "...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."

    Same here. For instance, I'm making a note to look for the Amanda Eyre Ward book you mentioned. I read How to Be Lost, which I think was her second novel, last year, and was impressed enough with it to want to read her again. I also plan to check out Clea Simon's series.

    You've read quite a few more current-year books than I have - that's one of the hazards of my waiting for the paperback, I guess.

  2. You have a great list up there, Wendy! I haven't read the last HP's book, since I'm still reading the 4th book. And as for Karen E. Olson and Alice Sebold's books, I'm glad to say I have chosen their books for one of the reading challenges to be read next year. ;)

    I can't comment much on non-fiction books since I don't read too many of them, but I will make it a point to read more of them next year. :)

  3. Florinda - I have How to be Lost in my TBR room. :-) I am glad to hear you liked it.

    I read 22 2007 books and only 4 were books I bought on my own. One was borrowed and the rest were free copies I got to review. I am not sure I would have read so many published this year otherwise. :-)

    Melody - It's been a good reading year overall really. I hope you enjoy Karen Olson's and Alice Sebold's books!

  4. Thank you for the shout out (and for reading), Wendy! My new year's resolution will be to write another mystery, with even more suspense - and some fun cats, too.

    Best wishes for the remainder of the holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate! Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and all good things in the new year.

  5. I've only read Harry Potter from your list. I also tend to pay more attention to what other bloggers are reading rather than the "lists". The New York Times Notable list and other similar lists just end up making me feel dumb because I've only read 1 or even none of the books on their lists. I have more in common with "normal" everyday people.

  6. Clea - Thank you for the holiday wishes and the same to you! I will be anxiously awaiting your next novel. :-)

    Trisha - I used to feel that way about lists like the New York Times Notable, but after being a part of the New York Times Notable Reading Challenge, I feel less intimidated. Instead I use the lists as a source for possible future reading material. :-) Even then though, I tend to wait until I know someone whose has read the book to make sure it's really as notable as the professionals seem to think. I'm more trusting of the "normal" people like you and me when it gets right down to it.

  7. I enjoy reading all the best of lists by the bookstores, critics, etc. But nowadays I'm much more excited about the best of lists by book bloggers! I think we have a good way of finding out those gems that are missed by those other guys. I still need to come up with my list. Yikes! :)

  8. Iliana - Yes, I think you are exactly right!


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