Our Top Reads of 2007

Carole’s Top 10 Books Read in 2007
My top 10 list is eclectic. How does a book make my top 10 list? The story has to stay with me. If I find myself thinking back on it over and over again, that means the book really captured something for me. The books on this list did that for me, and I’ve explained why briefly for each one. I do not, however, list them in any particular order.

Cyrano de Bergerac
This sweet, sad, yet funny, story tugs at my heartstrings. Reading the play with my kids was especially enjoyable. The humor really is laugh out loud in many spots, and the sarcasm really conveys across the many, many years since its been written.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
What can I say? The end of an era. We read this book aloud with a real sense of bittersweet. My family has literally grown up on these books. Rowlings did not disappoint us and in the end we were satisfied. See my blog post on this.

Back When We Were Grown-ups
I actually am surprised that this made my list. I picked it up fairly recently, read it quickly, and it has stayed with me. I really enjoyed Tyler’s treatment of her characters—see my blog post on this.

Darcy’s Story
I have not blogged about any of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice spinoffs, prequels, sequels, or re-telling of tales. Suffice it to say that I will in 2008 and that this is my favorite of the many I’ve read. As the popular t-shirt says, “I (heart) Mr. Darcy!”

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books and his nursery crimes are one of life’s great delights. First Among Sequels was this year’s gem. Our big treat was getting to go see him read from it and explain how he turned the whole time travel idea on its ear with this series. It was after seeing him that Chris and I decided to name the blog “Get Your English On!”

The Thirteenth Tale
I’m currently re-reading this for my sisters-in-law book club. I think I’m enjoying it more than I did the first time, and I really liked it two years ago. Very gothic, very creepy — look for an early '08 blog post on this one!

The Book of Lost Things
Think Chronicles of Narnia meets Fractured Fairy Tales meets Stephen King. Once I got into this book, I could not put it down. I have a few images in my head that I could do without, but they sure helped create a most engrossing (and sometimes just gross) tale. We are reading this with Chris and David in January — look for an early '08 blog post on this.

No Angel; Something Dangerous; Into Temptation
I hope to beg a little indulgence here. These three books are a trilogy, but I count them as one story. One marvelous story of the Lytton family that spans several generations and covers the period of time from pre-World War I through to post- World War II. I devoured these books and recommend them as the very best of what we call Fluff 'n Trash™. And I have a very keen appreciation of Fluff 'n Trash™!

The Ha-Ha
I found this book while trying to find something new and different to recommend for book club. I haven’t recommended it yet, but I plan to in '08. I blogged about it last month.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
I just finished re-reading this book for a new book club I’ve joined. Chris and I are both fans of time travel, and I’m grateful that she shared this haunting, poignant story with me. I just posted about it.

Most Hated Book of the Year
I realized recently that I’ve generally avoided blogging about books that I don’t like, and I’ve resolved to do better about that in '08. I think it is because I usually have so much to say about books that I don’t like. I could write volumes about this one. I was the only one in my book club to really hate this book, so maybe it’s me. Did anyone else hate it?

Chris’ Top 10 Books Read in 2007
I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't read as much this year as I have in the past. However, I have encountered some great new (to me) authors, such as Neil Gaiman and Frank Beddor, even with my paltry number. An 11th-hour read bumped off my original 10th book, but perhaps someday I will stop lamenting that The Red Tent did not fit on this list. I have listed my top choices in alphabetical order by title — with such a bounty, how can I possibly rate them?

American Gods
This was my introduction to Neil Gaiman as a solo artist, and I am grateful for it. His humor and unique vision about humanity and multi-ethnic gods were completely unexpected. Now that I'm very familiar with his and Terry Pratchett's work as individuals, I can appreciate what each brought to one of my favorite books of all time: Good Omens.

The Boleyn Inheritance
I can’t get enough of good Tudor fiction, and this is good Tudor fiction. It’s an excellent overview of how Anne Boleyn’s traitorous actions impacted the rest of Henry’s reign.

For One More Day
When you’re down and out, there is nowhere else to go but to Mom. In anyone else’s hands, this would have been a horrible maudlin tale. In Mitch Albom’s hands, it was touching and beautiful. Read more in my blog entry.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I savored every page. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Rowling proved me wrong. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. I enjoyed every laugh, every cheer, every tear (and there were plenty of all of those). Rowling created a fabulous series, and while I was sorry to see it end, I was very satisfied with her conclusion(s).

Heart-Shaped Box
You need a Reading Buddy for this one, it's so scary. My friend Lois put it down at the same point I would have, had David not been reading it with me. It is simply one of the best horror novels I have read in ages. I'm sorry Joe Hill had to come out as Stephen King's son, but it actually made me even more critical of the book, rather than accepting. Every once in a while, David and I would tell each other what we suspected would happen in the next chapter — and, inevitably, we'd be wrong. I will review it more thoroughly in '08.

The Looking Glass Wars
What if Alice in Wonderland was a real story? Read my blog entry and find out more.

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife
I have yet to read a book that was so steamy yet required a dictionary to fully understand. This is the good stuff, what happens after Elizabeth and Darcy say, "I do." And, boy, do they!

On Chesil Beach
After reading about plagarism accusations against Ian McEwan, I set my mind to not like him. Then I watched the movie based on his novel Atonement and decided to give On Chesil Beach a try. This compact and beautiful novel was such an amazing book, and one I will blog about in early '08.

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
Jasper Fforde. ‘Nuff said.

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union
If the “experiment” of Israel didn’t work out, where else would the Jews go but Alaska? (Where else, indeed!) In this great story, a Jewish police officer investigates a murder and introduces readers to an alternate universe of frontier American Judaica.

The Book I Hated the Most

The Last Templar
There was literally nothing redeeming about this book: bad characters, bad storyline, bad writing, bad everything. Please see Carole’s blog entry for more reasons to not read this book. And, again, I apologize for bringing it up.

No comments: