Saturday, January 12, 2008

2007 Media Review: Top Books.

[Note: Some friends of mine and I have an ongoing annual ritual. Every year, we email each other lists of our top five entries in five different media: books, movies, television, music, and concerts/sporting events (we also include the "worst" entry of the year). This year, I'm sharing my list with the internet! I'll post the lists daily over the next four days (I hope), starting with the...]

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling [This is less for the book itself ("Ron said sycophantically." Really? Fire your editor, J.K.) and more for all it stood for. I loved the way she wrapped up the series, character- and plotwise. Writingwise, not so much.]
2) God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer, Pete Greig [The best Jesus book I read this year]
3) The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon [He makes my writing sound like Pat the Bunny, though he needs to retire the words "acrid" and "tang" for the next couple of books.]
4)I Am America (And So Can You!), Stephen Colbert [Hilarious from start to finish; definitely a deserving winner of the Stephen T. Colbert Award For Literary Excellence. The audiobook is awesome as well, and available from the Tulsa City-County Library. (A note, however: it does contain some mildly coarse language and subject matter.)]
5) Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America, Cullen Murphy [Semi-political book thrown in for flavor. Fascinating read.]

Honorable Mentions:
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light
Bambi vs. Godzilla
, David Mamet
From Bad to Worse, Todd & Jedd Hafer
Save Me From Myself, Brian "Head" Welch

Books from past years that would've been on this list if I'd read them in that year instead of 2007:
What is the What? The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, Dave Eggers (2006) [You owe it to yourself to read this heart-rending account of one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan.]
The Areas of my Expertise, John Hodgman (2005) [smartly funny writing from the guy who plays "PC" in the Apple commercials. It had me with its half-page essay: "When Writing, Please Avoid These Failed Palindromes."]
The Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006) [I don't know how this was an Oprah book club selection, but I thank the person who fooled her into backing one of the most brilliant--but bleak--character studies I've possibly ever read. Makes Children of Men look like The Wizard of Oz.]
Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard (1843) [I don't even remember my top books from 1843.]

Book that should've been on everyone else's top 5 list:
Knuckle Sandwich, Adam Palmer

Worst book of 2007:
The Almost Moon, Alice Sebold. [I actually didn't read any severely horrible books, but out of all the best-sellers and whatnot that get premium placement at big-box retailers, this is surely a letdown. I didn't jump on The Lovely Bones bandwagon, so I didn't expect much from this one, and it failed even to meet those low expectations. Skip it.]


Anthony Coafield said...

I see there's a book by Mamet in your honorable mentions list. I just got back from seeing November, his new play starring Nathan Lane. It was a lot of fun. Felt like it ended a bit quickly for me, but if you like his beautiful rhythmic dialog check it out if you get the chance.

I haven't read many of these books, I may have to look into some.

Adam said...

That's so cool that you got to see a Mamet play live. He is an amazing writer, especially when it comes to the ol' dialogue.

As for the books on my list, I'm going to add links to those relatively soon, once I finish this giant project I'm working on (and that's due tomorrow!).

Thanks for stopping by...