Friday, January 11, 2008

Best Books of 2007

Seventy-Three. That’s the number of books I read in 2007. Not all for the first time, you understand. There were plenty of re-reads in there too. The number of new books read last year was more like fifty. I don’t think that makes a difference. Maybe if I only re-read books one year, all on the same subject, I might get worried I was stagnating. Not right now though.

There were plenty of new discoveries in 2007, as well as some favourites re-visited. Eleven books (old, new, borrowed) stood out from the pile though. They are listed below in order of their popularity on LibraryThing, mainly as I have no intention of trying to rank them. What would be the point?

1. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. The story of Fat Charlie Nancy, loser, and how he meets his brother, gets dumped by his fiancee, and finds out who his father really is. Plus an accountant gets his comeuppance. What more can you ask for?

2. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I love the baroque cycle, of which this is the first book. A brilliant fictionalisation of a truly gripping phase of history.

3. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. A coming of age book unlike any you will have read before, I guarantee it.

4. Temeraire by Naomi Novik. Hornblower with dragons. Do I need to say more? This series was a welcome discovery for me in 2007, I read all four books. More please.

5. Spook Country by William Gibson. The phrase was often repeated that this was a science fiction book set in the present. What is was was a gripping spy story, set in a world too strange and yet too familiar.

6. Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett. This one is a personal favourite of mine, and I re-read it every couple of years. I tear up every time the Blackbury Pals come marching through the car park to collect the last of their number.

7. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. I am an urban boy at heart, and so I love books where the city itself becomes a character. Un Lun Dun is a great story by Mieville, and also one I would recommend to ages 12+.

8. Space by Stephen Baxter. For some reason I am attracted to science fiction books that tackle the Fermi Paradox. This one is great, as humanity comes into contact with aliens who ask more questions than they answer.

9. The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden. I enjoyed the whole Caesar series, and this is the first. Great stuff.

10. The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History by Colin McEvedy. Don’t be put off by the title. This book is gripping. Each page is accompanied by a map, along with some commentary. The maps cover shifting borders, trade flows, and population growth and movements. Honestly, you won’t be able to put this one down.

11. The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton. When I read science fiction that’s not about the Fermi Paradox, it’s generally by this guy. A follow up of sorts to Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, this one is well worth your eyeball time.


Taryn said...

I bet I can beat your 73... give me a month to try and count (do you think the ten mini books of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters count as one or ten..?)

Funnily enough, I read Anansi Boys too and really enjoyed it. Saw Neil Gaiman in the flesh, what a guy.

William Gibson is also on my best of 2007 as the biggest dissappointment!

DK said...

You found Spook Country disappointing?

So, finished your count yet?