KJ (owlmoose) wrote,
KJ
owlmoose

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2007: Highlights of the year in reading

The problem with compiling a list like this, is that it's really hard to remember what I read when, exactly. I'm sure I'm missing some things, especially on the Honorable Mention list. That said, here's my picks for the best books I read in 2007.

Top Five Books

1. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. I have loved the whole series so far (and I could cheat and just fill out this list with the rest of them, but I won't), but this one gets the edge here because it sucked me in so quickly and so thoroughly. It's been a long time since a new book did that for me. Even if the rest of them go downhill, I expect this series to hold a place in my pantheon of all-time favorites.

2. Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. Probably the most pleasant surprise of the year. Full review, is here, including a minor spoiler for something that happens in the prologue.

3. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. A shepherd is murdered, and his flock of sheep decide to figure out whodunnit. Without question, one of the most original books I've ever read. Swann follows through on her premise, never cheating by making the sheep too human -- they understand spoken English, but they can't communicate with people, and they often misunderstand what they hear because they don't have the proper frame of reference for it. Fun, funny (but more serious than I expected it to be), engaging.

4. The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. Not a perfect book by any means, but a darn good time. Great characters. I hope there's a sequel.

5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I would never have picked this up if it weren't for Brotherhood 2.0, Green's videoblogging project with his brother Hank. I'm really glad I did; it's one of the most believable and touching romances I've read in awhile, and one of the best friendship stories.

Honorable mentions: Going Nucular by Geoffrey Nunberg, On Writing by Stephen King, Dry by Augusten Burroughs, A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Company by Max Barry, HP 7.

Best comics
Hands-down, the best comic I read this year is Fruits Basket. I liked the first arc of Death Note more, but I read those volumes last year, and I thought it went downhill after Book 7. So Fruits Basket takes the prize for 2007. If only they would release them faster... Honorable mentions: Scott Pilgrim, Tea Club, and One Piece.

Best re-reads
Definitely Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I didn't think it would be possible for me to love this book more, but I definitely did. (Although maybe it's just because i read it right after reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, a book I disliked enough that I needed a palate cleanser.) Honorable mention: The Golden Compass.

The lowlights
Unfortunately, I ended up picking up a handful of clunkers this year. The aforementioned Twilight is one. Special Topics in Calamity Physics took an interesting premise and some promising characters and then collapsed under the weight of its pretensions. But probably the most disappointing was The Wild Irish -- I was really hoping and expecting to enjoy a book about Grace O'Malley the Pirate Queen, but it all fell flat -- storytelling, characters, prose. It surprises me, how little fiction there is about the O'Malley. Her life story is perfect for a rollicking adventure novel. I guess I'll just have to keep looking on that one.
Tags: books
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