Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 Reading

Well, since my list of books read for 2007 (and 2006, etc.) is now available through Goodreads (you've probably noticed the box over there on the right), I won't bother retyping my full list of books read for 2007. The final count is 33, 13 of which were for class, and four of which were chapbooks for Revelator. (You may get a slightly different number if you do a count from Goodreads, since I'm not including any of the criticism read for class in that count, even though I did list a few of them on Goodreads.)

Thomas McGuane was a clear favorite this year, as I read three of his books (and one last December). Except for his new collection of stories, Gallatin Canyon, I've been reading his books in order of composition, and I would certainly recommend them. McGuane's early writing is like Hunter S. Thompson without the Nixon obsession and journalistic pretenses, only, uhm, better. I'm looking forward to diving into his middle novels. Panama is next on my list.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk and Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z. Z. Packer were both standouts, but Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein was nothing less than a revelation. I'm reading more Stein for class this spring and very much looking forward to it (even if I'm dreading having to write papers about her).

I read Chasing the Sea by Tom Bissell, and while I enjoyed God Lives in St. Petersburg more, I think that has to do more with my own preference for fiction over nonfiction than the quality of Mr. Bissell's book. Having gotten a taste for Bissell's mix of narrative, history, and eye for character in the people he encounters, I am looking forward to reading his new book, The Father of All Things, which has been widely and warmly reviewed.

Finally, I'm quite proud of the books from Revelator this year. Letters to My Sister has garnered some of the warmest and most avid responses that we've yet received for one of our chapbooks and quickly become one of our most downloaded titles. The Bridge and the River is one of the chapbooks that motivated me to get involved with Revelator in the first place. Pure Pop is joyous and substantive at once.

And then, of course, there's my own Nine Poems. I've always thought that attempts to speak well of one's own work invariably come off as strained and artificial. For all that, I'm still grateful to anyone and everyone who takes the time to read it. (Or even those who just download it and help inflate my numbers.)

Well, Wordwrighters, what were the best books you read this year?

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