Here are some musings about the books I've read so far in 2007. See Read in 2007 on the sidebar for a complete list and links to Amazon.com.
Favorite book: Toss up between Special Topics in Calamity Physics (novel) and The Barnum Museum (short stories), although Atonement and Magic For Beginners are strong contenders.
Favorite short story: There were so many! I'd have to go with one of the following:
- "Lull" from Magic For Beginners - Kelly Link
- "The Game of Clue" from The Barnum Museum - Steven Millhauser
- "Meet Me In The Moon Room" from Meet Me In The Moon Room - Ray Vukcevich ( A collection that did not make it into my favorite book section only because I have not yet finished it.)
Least Favorite Book: White Noise - Don Delillo. Which, slim as it is, would have benefited from being shorter.
Least Favorite Short Story/Novella Collection: There weren't any. All seven collections that I have read were strong. The weakest of the bunch was Steven Millhauser's The King In the Trees which I did not like because I thought he had written about themes of two of the three novellas better in another collection.
Most overrated: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller and Amsterdam by Ian McEwan.
I pinpointed elsewhere on this blog why I did not like Notes on a Scandal. To sum it up, the book never explores or reflects upon the taboo themes that it dredges up to move the plot. It's ludicrous to me that it was nominated for anything, let alone shortlisted for a Booker.
I had similar problems with Amsterdam. While thematically and conceptually interesting, the characters were caricatures and the ending was preposterous. If you have never read Ian McEwan, steer clear of this one and pick up Atonement. Critics agree that Atonement is the superior book. I had no idea just exactly how superior it was until I finished Amsterdam feeling empty and annoyed.
Book that took the longest time to read: Wings of the Dove by Henry James, what else?
Honorable Mentions: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. I love a good ghost story, and John Harwood's The Ghost Writer delivers not one, but four of the best and creepiest ones I've had the pleasure to read. This one's also an excellent mystery.