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Your top 3 and bottom 3 2007 books

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message 1: by bup (new)

bup Best:
Digging to America, by Anne Tyler
I like Anne Tyler - if I start a book by her, it seems like the next thing I know, I'm done. She's effortless to read, but I don't feel like it's fluff. This is my favorite book I've read by her (of 5). Had a bit more 'oomph' than her other books, that sometimes seem like studies in stasis.

Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton
Well, it was time I read this. I felt like it was really a hole in my coverage. Still, given high expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. He's got a cool, almost biblical voice, and the ending really affected me.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
I don't really need to give details about this one, do I?

Worst:

I didn't come across anything too terrible this year. A lot of the year I've been focusing on 'classics' so that's not surprising. So understanding that these aren't excruciating:

Lord of the Rings, Tolkien
Yep, I know I'm not edgy in proclaiming LotR isn't great- a lot of people feel that way. Turns out I'm one of them. Descriptions of land get boring after a while. Plus, the hobbits never really had to do anything for themselves until the end of the end.

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
Maybe because I'm an adult; I don't know. I was expecting the magical stuff to be more mesmerizing. It didn't, you know, blow my mind. Run-of-the-mill magic episodes that never hit that gestalt something that I was after.

Can't think of a third. Count LotR as three, though, and I even gave you a bonus bad book.


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 87 comments Three favorites:

New Grub Street by George Gissing -- 19th century, struggling writers, lots of period detail

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson -- a coming of age/father-son relationship story. I loved the setting, and I liked that Petterson didn't feel like he had to spell things out for the reader.

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn -- this narrowly beats out Cloud Atlas and The Book of Joby in the SF/fantasy category. Again, lots of period detail and a writer that doesn't insult the reader's intelligence.

Least favorite:

Facing Rushmore by David Lozell Martin -- Martin is one of my favorite writers, which made this book an even bigger disappointment. Unsubtle, political screed about our poor treatment of Native Americans.

Lisey's Story by Stephen King -- smucking awful -- I didn't finish it so maybe it's not fair to list it, but I'm doing it anyway

Can't think of a third. I dumped a few others -- Poison by Kathryn Harrison, Religion by Tim Willocks, Octavian Nothing by somebody, Acacia by David Durham (Dunham?), Elantris by Brandon Sanderson




message 3: by Dora (new)

Dora | 41 comments Hmmm, that's hard. I haven't read as many books this year as I have other years and I never finish a book that I actively dislike, so that bad ones will be hard to come up with. But here's a shot at it:

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
I'm still trying to figure out why it was so compelling. The story line forces you to suspend disbelief in places, but the interaction among the main characters is fascinating and her writing is marvelous. I don't buy many books, but I bought this one.

The Thing about Jane Spring, Sharon Krum
Not deep, but surprisingly fun to read. I liked the idea of Jane re-inventing herself.

Freedom & Necessity, Stephen Brust and Emma Bull
Took me a while to read, but I really enjoyed the interaction between the characters and the interweaving of philosophical texts with the action.

Worst:
High Profile, Robert B. Parker
Probably Robert B. Parker's weakest mystery effort. I had a hard time differentiating Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall in this novel. It read like a watered-down Spenser novel. I'll keep reading Parker (because I've read practically all the mysteries he's written), but this one was really disappointing. (Read the next Sunny Randall novel in the meantime and liked it lots better than this one.)

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, Lillian Jackson Braun
Another weak mystery. Not sure if I disliked it so much because she split up Qwill and Polly or if it was just that there seemed to be even less story than usual.

Damsels in Distress, Joan Hess
Another not very good showing from a mystery writer.

I'd say I was getting tired of mysteries, but 1) I read several this year that I really liked, and 2) it appears I'm not the only one who didn't like these all that much (based on a brief review of amazon.com.


message 4: by Ryl (new)

Ryl (rylf) | 29 comments Gardentraveler, Qwill and Polly split up? I'm several books behind in that series so I have no clue what's going on after...um...I think I'm about five years behind.


message 5: by Ryl (new)

Ryl (rylf) | 29 comments Best Four
Kushiel Series, Jacqeline Carey
I just discovered these at the beginning of the year, but it feels like much longer. Probably because I've read all of the books up to the one that was released just this year (my local library hasn't gotten it yet). Each book is about 700 pages long, but they're quick and absorbing reads with a great story, fascinating characters, and good erotica to boot.

Worst Three
I Lock My Door Upon Myself, Joyce Carol Oates
Pretentious and boring. At least it was short.

How to Be Good, Nick Hornby
Irritating characters with absolutely zero growth from the beginning to the end of the book. The only change was that the wife stopped her affair. Whoop-de-do.

Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
I think this is an old person book, which would explain a lot about why I hated it. One of the main characters was the most irritating people in the world, yet no one slapped the taste out of her mouth. The scary thing is she was based on a real person.


message 6: by Dani (new)

Dani (kakwik) | 48 comments Three of many great books I read this year:

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ~ Really enjoyed this although it was constantly making me weepy.

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville ~ nice little twists on the usual 'quest'-type adventure

You Can't Win by Jack Black ~ biography of a hobo who rode the rails in the PNW in the early 1900's.


Worst Three:

The Book of Joby by Mark Ferrari ~ miserable & depressing.

The Known World by Edward Jones ~ also miserable & depressing. Also jumps around chronologically which drove me batty.

Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper ~ boring.



message 7: by Dora (new)

Dora | 41 comments Didn't see your question about Qwill and Polly till just now, Spazcat. (And sorry if I kind of spoiled it for you.) It's not quite as clear as that - seems like she gets vaguer and vaguer with every book. I've always rather liked Braun's books; they're such relaxed mysteries. But it seems like the last 3 or 4 have gotten relaxed to the point of being sloppy and not all that interesting. (Or maybe I'm just outgrowing her books???)


message 8: by Tracey (new)

Tracey | 20 comments Thanks for the time & effort you put into this excellent commentary! I can't remember if I put this book on a "to read" list or not... but now I know better.


message 9: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 76 comments My three best from 2007:

Cordelia's Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold (and the rest of the Vorkosigan series, really)
Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayers (and the rest of the Lord Peter/Harriet vane books)
A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin

Runners up:
Eifelheim, Michael Flynn
English Passengers, Matthew Kneale
Blood Bound, Patricia Briggs

My least favorite were all new (to me) authors I tried in the urban fantasy category, and only the Pettersson was unreadable:
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
Working for the Devil, Lilith Saintcrow
Something from the Nightside, Simon R. Green



message 10: by Julie (new)

Julie | 153 comments Mod
I'm glad I'm not the only one who really disliked Simon Green.


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 7 comments I think I did something like this on the actual SDMB, but (alas!) am too lazy to look it up. I think my picks will be similar if not exact. What can I say? I'm like the wind.

Best:
1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- Like Kakwik, it had me constantly weepy, because I could just see the ending coming. How was it so incredibly charming while being really depressing?

2. Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde -- Counting them as one because they're short. As a Great Books lover, these were endlessly entertaining.

3. Dies the Fire series by S.M. Stirling -- Not great literature by any leap of the imagination, but I devoured them like I hadn't done with a book since high school. Brain candy, fersure.

Worst:
1. 4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell -- Oh, so gross. I enjoy Sex and the City, so I thought I might enjoy this. Wrongwrongwrong. Painfully shallow, not funny. Took all the worst elements of S&tC and magnified them.

2. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins -- I thought it was really gimmicky, and I disliked the female characters. They were like something out of a video game, all big boobs and butts with smart mouths.

Uh, that's really all I've got for dislikes in 2007. There are a ton of other good books I read, Under the Banner of Heaven and Bloody Jack, but I've already used my slots for those.


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