Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Best Books of 2007

The Millions, one of my favorite book blogs, is having "notable readers" discuss the best books they read this year, regardless of publication date. The notables include Porochista Khakpour, (whose name I hear constantly, and whose book, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, is on my to-read list), Arthur Phillips, and Ben Dolnick. Ms. Khakpour's list includes my all-time favorite, The Secret History, which would have made my best books of 2002 list.

My 2007 list, limited to five:

In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez — This is a beautifully written account of the resistance against the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, and the topic of my final paper. It's the first work I've read by Alvarez, and fuels my desire to read more.
Cosmic Dance, Harischandra Khemraj — Khemraj's novel is readable and entertaining. Though I'm not sure if it's available in US bookstores, since my copy is from Britain. It's one of the most substantive and accessible novels I've read in awhile.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera — After I read this novel, I couldn't read anything else for awhile. It's beautiful, sad, desperate, and most definitely worth experiencing on your own.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez — My favorite Marquez novel is Love in the Time of Cholera, but this is his epic — he illustrates a sweeping account of a family with sheer magic. Marquez is a masterful storyteller, and while it took me awhile to read, the time I spent on it was worth it.
Caleb Williams, William Godwin — The father of Mary Shelley and husband of Mary Wollstonecraft, Godwin tends to be the least read of the literary family. But this novel is brilliant — a Gothic suspense story that is very difficult to put down. I lost my copy in Iceland, and really want another, since it's a definite re-read.

Okay, two more:

I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson — Bryson is laugh-out-loud funny, and therefore I almost always make him my traveling companion. This book is a collection of short essays on quirks of American life, and are riotously hilarious.
The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri – I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick up Lahiri's novel, but I'm glad I finally did. Her writing is luminous and her characters are engaging. Lahiri has a new book coming out in the spring.

I'd love to see what my readers would tag as their favorite novels read in 2007.


Ms. Decaf said...

You can have my copy of Caleb Williams if I still have it somewhere.

Ann said...

Hey this is Lindsay, Ann just showed me your blog. I've yet to have the time to piece together a "favorite books read" list, but interesting note - Caleb Williams is my brother's name, and my dad had a copy on his bookshelf forever, but I've never read it. I am now intrigued. Anyway - we need to do winter restaurant week! We're going home like...the 19th I think, and should be back around the 3rd?

Papilleau said...

Lovely little blog you got here. I love "The Handmaid's Tale," it's one of my all-time favorites. I have to confess I couldn't get through Doris Lessing's "Mara and Dann," I found it dry as dust. =( I dream of organizing my books by the Dewey Decimal system. On the eats front, next week I will try Wok n'Roll and I want to try Chix near the U Street Metro sometime.


Ms. Cavanaugh said...

"The Handmaid's Tale" is one I've been meaning to get around to for quite awhile, since I've only heard great things about it.

I'm planning to try Chix this weekend, so I'll be posting about it afterwards.