Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Top 15 Reads of the Year

After venting a bit in yesterday's post, I thought that I would change the tone today and post something a whole lot more positive. I've decided to come up with a fairly solid draft of my "Top Reads of 2007." These books were not all published in 2007 because with my backlog of reading I don't always read the big-name books anywhere near the year they were released. This is not meant to be a "Best of 2007" in any sense other than that I read each of them this year.

With that in mind, these are my favorites up to this point:
1. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

2. Ava's Man - Rick Bragg

3. The Known World - Edward P. Jones

4. The Tin Roof Blowdown - James Lee Burke

5. A Lesson Before Dying - Ernest J. Gaines

6. Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

7. Crow Lake - Mary Lawson

8. The Rise of Silas Lapham - William Dean Howells

9. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

10. A Gathering of Old Men - Ernest J. Gaines

11. Beautiful Shadow - Andrew Wilson

12. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis

13. Shalimar the Clown - Salmon Rushdie

14. The Hours - Michael Cunningham

15. The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett
My rankings are based mostly on how I felt about the books immediately after finishing them. Books receiving the same overall rating in my original reviews were than ranked according to how I feel about them today.

I am a little surprised that my Top 15 includes books from three centuries, authors from three continents, white writers, black writers, three writers of Muslim heritage, and three non-fiction books. The biggest surprise, however, is that the list includes only two women. I read so many female writers, and absolutely love the writing of Joyce Carol Oates, that two women out of fifteen total seems odd.


  1. I bet my list when I get around to making it will be heavy on female authors, but I think I tend to read more women authors than men (nothing personal of course!). You do have a nice varied list, though other than so few women. I just mooched the Lawson book and have heard good things about it. I read the Gaines book in college, but too much time now has passed, so I need to reread it, I think. I wonder how many books I've given up on--that is one thing I don't keep track of, but there have been a few.

  2. Good idea!

    Of your 15, I've only read The Hours and Crow Lake. I was a little surprised Blindness didn't make the cut.

  3. Sexist pig.

    Sheesh! Maybe it just wasn't your reading theme this year. OTOH, seems pretty varied to me. Dang, I still havent' read The Known World!

    Hmm. I just did a quick (and possibly inaccurate count) of my authors and two thirds were men.

  4. Danielle, I can honestly say that I don't choose a book by the gender of its author...weird, though, how the men dominated by "best" list this year.

    I really think you'll like Mary Lawson's book. I read two of hers this year and really liked both of them.

  5. John, Blindness was a near miss. I did enjoy the book and was impressed with the author's style. I'm not sure that I'm ready to tackle another of his books anytime soon, but Blindness was worth the effort for sure.

  6. Carrie, you caught me. :-)

    Hey, don't miss out on The Known World...keep it in the stack because I think you'll enjoy it.

  7. Looking back so far, it really has been a good reading year for me, Jill.

    With three weeks to go, the list could gain a new entry or two and lose one or two that are on it...but it's not looking that way at the moment because the five I've got going right now want be the ones to change the list.