Some favorite books of the year (and more below)
My husband and I started making “Best of the year” lists in the ’90s. We typed them up in an amateurish newsletter and mailed them to friends. Our friends laughed at our lists and made counter-lists. Did we really think the best book was X, the best movie Y, the best restaurant Z? What you do then is look them in the eye and say, “WOULD WE LIE TO YOU?” Then there is much good-humored bickering. The one thing we agreed on in 1997 was that Ulee’s Gold was the best movie of the year.
I miss pre-internet days. In the ’90s we had AOL and dial-up and the server was unable to reach the internet. We read fewer publications and probably read more deeply. Things were more personal. We knew the people we exchanged lists with. Now I have access to lists in book pages of newspapers around the world, online magazines, blogs, Goodreads, list-and-podcast oriented sites like Book Riot, public library websites, and more.
I must have read at least 20 lists so far. But the one I most look forward every year is complied by the daily New York Times critics, Michiko Kakutani, Dwight Garner, Janet Maslin (now freelance), and Jennifer Senior. I requested and received three books from this list for Christmas : Michael Chabon’s Moonglow (recommended by Kakutani) and Jennifer Haigh’s Heat and Light and Paulette Giles’ News of the World (recommended by Maslin). This is the only list that translates into sales at my house. Again, it’s because it doesn’t look like a shopping list. It is published a couple of weeks after Black Friday
Well, WE DON’T NEED ANOTHERNARCISSISTIC BLOGGER’S “BEST OF” LIST. But I’m not going to deny myself the fun of it! So here it is.