Since I dropped out of talking to y'all, I never did my year end list of books I read in 2007. It was a sorta iffy year for reading on my part, since a lot of my reading time is contingent on having good weather so I can sit outside and "tan." (That's funny only if you have actually seen my paleness in person -- men have gone blind from the reflection off my legs!)
Here's what I read in 2007, that I can remember: Sacred Games (Vikram Chandra); Lunar Park (Bret Easton Ellis); Bright Lights Big City (again! Jay McInerney); Hey Nostradamous (Douglas Coupland); Winter's Tale (Mark Helprin); The Emperor's Children (Claire Messud); After Dark (Haruki Murakami); Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl); Marie Antoinette: The Journey (Antonia Fraser); Heat (Bill Buford); Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (Peter Guralnick); The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama); The Blind Side (Michael Lewis); I Am America (And So Can You!) (Stephen Colbert); Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling); The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman); The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery (D.T. Max).
(Thoughts on the books after the jump...)
Of those, I'd say that there were no real clunkers. I guess I gained the most know-it-all street cred from Sacred Games (which has enabled me to fake like I know stuff about India although I most certainly do not) and Careless Love (very useful when we went to Memphis, enabled me to gaze with a sad knowingness at various spots at Graceland).
The book that was probably the most likely to end up being that book I am constantly pressing on other people and saying, with a wild look in my eye, "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!" is Winter's Tale, which was brilliant on a scale that I have rarely encountered.
The book that I am most likely to press on folks with a wild look in my eye that is unrelated to artistic achievement, but rather borne out of hysterical obsession is definitely, definitely The Family That Couldn't Sleep. I got this one for Christmas after elaborate pleading that it was the only thing I really, really wanted -- I feel like my family is a little reluctant to indulge my infectious disease fixation. Not that I blame them. I read this book cover-to-cover the day after Christmas and then proceeded to regale people with shocking prion disease facts and figures at any opportunity. Even now, if conversation drags a bit, I tend to bring up scrapie.
I thought both the Pullman books and the last Harry Potter books were great, and it makes me feel more positively about having kids someday. I mean, what's the point of having kids if you can't read great kids' books with them?
Books I am targeting for 2008: The Imperial Presidency (Arthur Schlesinger -- I've already started this one); And Then We Came To An End (Joshua Ferris -- mostly done with it); The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (Jonathan Alter); The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Michael Chabon); The Children's Hospital (Chris Adrian); Golden Boy: The Untold Story of William Holden (Bob Thomas); and The American Plague: The Untold Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic That Shaped Our History (Molly Caldwell Crosby).