2007 Year in Review - Books

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A followup to my Year in Music, here is my Year in Books, along with a top ten (more or less). I read a pretty good sampling of genres, from sci-fi, non-fiction, history, fantasy, mysteries and "literature". Some good, some bad, some I never finished.

According to my 2007 Books collection, I read about 30 books this year, an average of a little more than two per month. I probably started another ten or so books, either giving up due to lack of interest (Lord Foul's Bane), lack of time (Das Boot, The One From The Other), disgust (The Looming Tower) or ones I knew I'd be buying (The God Delusion). I did a pretty good job of reading in 2007, although my greatest disappointment was falling down on my quest to read War and Peace. I got sidetracked and haven't returned to it. My first vow for 2008 will be to finish it.

My ten favorite books of the year were:

  • World War Z: An Oral History ( review) is a brilliantly realized "history" of the upcoming war against zombies. Great job done of interviewing the main subjects after the war was won. Really clever and I enjoyed this a lot!
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  • Trials of the Monkey (review) is a funny and at the same time scary book about traveling through the Bible Belt, by an ancestor of Darwin himself
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  • Homage to Catalonia (review), a brutally realistic true eyewitness account of the ugly Spanish Civil War, written by one of the Internationals, George Orwell.
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  • The End of Faith (review) is where a philosopher jumped to the forefront of today's freethinkers with this scathing expose of apocalyptic religious dogma. Harris' follow up, Letter to a Christian Nation (review) was equally entertaining, enlightening and scary.
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  • The Blonde (review) and The Wheel Man (review) were two great little terse mysteries. Funny, entertaining and tautly written, I really enjoyed these.
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  • Fiasco : The American Military Adventure in Iraq (review) lays bare just how morally corrupt and visually bankrupt the entire disaster in Iraq is and was. From an unbelievably rosy plan to having absolutely no idea what to do once we got there, Fiasco really lays low the entire administration.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife (review) was a really interesting exercise in a time travel novel. Touching and well written, if a tad long, this novel had romance, laughs, tension and mystery.
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  • Freethinkers (review) is an excellent history of rational thinking since the founding of the United States. Really opened my eyes about some true pioneers of the movement, like Ingersoll and Lucretia Mott.
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  • The Man Who Would Be King (review) retold the story of Josiah Harland, explorer of Afghanistan. A colorful book of a forgotten niche of history.

I'm not quite done with it, but Kristine Smith's Code of Conduct will almost certainly make this list. An excellent sci-fi mystery featuring an interesting protagonist, I'm really enjoying it and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

I also enjoyed The Ghost Map, Middle World, Bangkok 8, A Place of Execution, Flood, "Negro President" and High Fidelity. And, of course, War and Peace, which is just a wonderful book.

10 Comments

[this is good]

[this is good]

I agree - Fiasco by Thomas Ricks is a must read on Iraq.  I didn't think I either wanted to or cared to read anything on Iraq but this book really makes things very clear and names the assholes (and there are many).

Good list!  I have also enjoyed Trials of the Monkey, Homage to Catalonia (amazing), and Fiasco.I've seen World War Z prominently displayed in every bookstore for a while.  I kind of dismissed it, but you've got me interested.

Oh dear, I must admit I've been fairly slack with reading this year but I would most definitely check ur list out. How did 2007 pass by so quickly? I haven't accomplished anything!

I too  have seen World War Z all over the shelves this holiday, which only served to remind me how much fun it was. I've been meaning to read his first book, The Zombie Survival Guide, or some such.

[this is good] I always love your reviews. And everything's so nicely summarised here. Would you believe I haven't yet read War and Peace? I know, I know. It'll happen in 2008!

[this is good]

World War Z was a great book.  I read it and Cormac McCarthy's The Road back-to-back.  They're very different books, but they somehow worked well together.


Good luck finishing War and Peace.  Let me assure you that the feeling of accomplishment you'll feel upon finishing it will be worth the struggles and the investment in time.  

While not having read W&P is nothing to be ashamed of, it is definitely a great book and that's the biggest reason I'm bummed about not having read it yet. Fascinating characters and amazing writing make it worth it, as M says.

Wasn't WWZ fun? I really liked how he didn't feel the need to explain everything and assumed you just knew in spots what these interviewees were talking about. It all got explained in the end, so it is important to read it through, but it really made you believe it was a real history book!

Where's Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows?  ;-)

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on December 27, 2007 11:42 AM.

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