Every year I think I'm going to beat Ryan to the end of the year list thing, but I always seem to get busy in the last week of the year. oh well. So anyways, here's my first list:
The Best Fiction of 2007!!!
Now, I actually read a lot more fiction this year, so I think it's a better list. Here's my top five novels:
This was my favorite. It's the story of the world's only Domincan nerd. It's written in a Jersey Spanglish with a very lyrical, almost conversational style. The little footnotes on Domincan history are hilarious ("Trujillo was Mobuto before Mobuto was Mobutu").
Murakami is my current favorite all-time author, and this was his new book this year. It is the story of a couple of sisters over the course of one night, one pulling a wierd all-nighter in a diner, the other in some kind of metaphysical coma. It's a short book, but you'll be thinking about it for quite awhile.
This is a last minute addition to my list. I finished it today. I picked it up on my theory that, since only 3% of the books publised in English are translations, that most books that are translated are probably pretty good. The writer is Korean, and the book falls squarely in the whole asian-magical-realism thing (along with Murakami and Oe), which, unlike the Latin American version, which tends towards historical and rural, is very urban and hyper-modern. This book is absolutely kinetic. I read it straight through, almost without stoping.
This was one of the McSweeney's novels this year, and you can tell it's the sort of thing that Dave Egger's would dig. It's beautifully writen with a very haunting complex story. On the downside, it's very long and not everything seems to be going in the same direction. It probably could have lost 200 pages without losing too much, but it's so beautifully written that you really don't mind.
Almost Moon gets up here based simply on the great first sentence rule. Ready? OK. "When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily." That's all I'm going to say. It should be enough.
And, as an added bonus, I'd also highly suggest the following two short story collections:
1. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
2. Blind Willow, Sleeping Women by Haruki Murakami
Non-fiction will be up in the next week, when I get around to it.