Monday, November 28, 2005

Those good old year-end reviews

The New York Times has posted its list of Notable fiction and general nonfiction for 2005.

Sadly, I yawned.

There were only four titles that I'm dead-set on reading and adding to my bookshelf, and one of them is the latest Harry Potter. (I mean, I dug it, but does it really belong on a list of the best literature for the year? On second thought, looking at the other titles on the list, maybe it does.)

What were the other three? The new Zadie Smith, of course. (I've never actually read her before, but she takes Howards End as her model, and I'm a huge E.M. Forster fan.) I've also heard good things about Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day was also quite good), and I feel somehow obligated to add Dave Eggers' collection of stories to my shelf. (I've read a number of the stories already in The New Yorker and elsewhere, and a few are very good. McSweeney's books are just damn fine pieces of bookbinding.)

Still, that's only four out of 39 fiction titles cited. (And I even tried to read the new Haruki Murakami. Blah.)

Am I missing something? Am I being too negative? If there's anything else worthy of mention, I'd love to hear about it.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Oh, Gavin. I can always count on you to be cranky and cantankerous beyond your years, especially when it comes to literature.

In fiction, I'm interested in reading Ian McEwan's Saturday, Garcia Marquez's Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, and Doctorow's The March, in addition to the books you mentioned. (Sylvia liked the new Ishiguro book so much she stayed up and read it in one night.) Plus the Wilbur and Merwin poetry collections look pretty good.

You didn't even mention nonfiction, but Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace looks good; so does Collapse, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, A Great Improvisation, Mark Twain: A Life, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, The Tender Bar: A Memoir, and the nonfiction book I'm most interested in reading, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. Oh, and Freakonomics was pretty good, too.