Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Obligatory Best Books of 2007 List, Which I Will Enjoy Making Way Too Much: Fiction

There's a little bit of everything here -- my favorites of the year include some horror, some crime, some historical fiction, and even a YA novel.

1. A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans
When I reviewed this book in June, I said it was the best thing I'd read all year. It held up. And I haven't been so thoroughly terrified by a book since I read It under the covers in 8th grade.

2. Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee
Gee's fictionalized account of the events surrounding Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" has steamy, forbidden romance, regicidal plots, and the best, wittiest dialogue of any book of 2007.

3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The story of Dominican uber-geek Oscar de Leon, his family, and the bloody dictatorship of Trujillo actually lives up to all its glowing reviews, and then some.

4. World Without End by Ken Follett
Because I'm a sucker for a big fat medieval soap opera, especially when it involves the plague.

5. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Even though it's not quite as good as its predecessor, The Lies of Locke Lamora (which made my Best of 2006 list), Lynch does things with a plot that shouldn't be possible, probable, or attempted at all by lesser writers, which is pretty much everyone.

6. The Song is You by Megan Abbott
Based on the unsolved disappearance of Hollywood bit player Jean Spangler in 1949, Abbott's second novel is pulpy, thrilling, pitch perfect L.A. noir.

7. Them by Nathan McCall
McCall's thought-provoking novel about the impact of gentrification on Atlanta's Fourth Ward never shies away from uncomfortable truths, even though its characters do -- sometimes with tragic results.

8. Dancing to 'Almendra' by Mayra Montero
Not technically a 2007 release, since it was published in Spanish in 2005; however, Montero's story of a young Cuban reporter tracking down the connections between a gangster gunned down in a New York barber shop and a hippo gunned down in a Havana zoo is too good to leave off the list.

9. Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki
In addition to medieval soap operas, I'm also a sucker for big messy family sagas. Farooki's story of a Bangladeshi-Pakistani family bound together by an almost congenital penchant for deception and betrayal delivers big drama with a light, almost whimsical touch.

10. Beige by Cecil Castellucci
The bland, shy Katy is shipped to Los Angeles for the summer to live with her ex-junkie punk rock dad, and big city hijinks, unlikely friendships, and un-lame personal growth ensue. Why were young adult novels not this cool when I was growing up?

Next week, the best nonfiction of 2007.

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