This time of year there is a media stampede for lists. They are seemingly suddenly everywhere, sprouting like an odd breed of December weed. In a competition to write the first draft of our cultural history, all of our “bests” are assigned, duly praised once more, and then archived as the slate is cleared for another year. That fresh feeling you get on January 1, that is the false notion that you no longer have to think about all those things that happened a year ago, that you can start building your new lists for the new year.
But books, unlike most forms of media, are consumed in a different way. The tyranny of the new does not hold as much sway with these oldest of old media. New books are not forced upon us quite so strenuously as are new music and new movies. The reading choices available to us are almost too broad to fathom. And so we pick here and there from the shelves, reading a book from centuries ago and then one that came out ten years ago. The “10 Best Books of 2007″ seems so small next to that.
But with so many millions of books to choose from, where can we go to find what to read?
If somebody hasn’t already coined this phrase, I’ll go ahead and take credit for it: A lucky reader is one surrounded by many other readers. And what better way to end a long year than to sit (virtually) with a few dozen trusted fellow readers to hear about the very best book (or books) they read all year, regardless of publication date.
And so we at The Millions are very pleased to bring you our 2007 Year in Reading, in which we offer just that. For the month of December, enjoy hearing about what a number of notable readers read (and loved) this year. We hope you’ve all had a great Year in Reading and that 2008 will offer more of the same.
The 2007 Year in Reading contributors are listed below. As we post their contributions, their names will turn into links, so you can bookmark this page to follow the series from here, or you can just load up the main page for more new Year in Reading posts appearing at the top every day. Stay tuned because additional names may be added to the list below.
- Languagehat of Languagehat
- Sarah Weinman of Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
- Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
- Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Suitors
- Lydia Millet, author of Oh Pure and Radiant Heart
- Arthur Phillips, author of Prague and The Egyptologist
- Porochista Khakpour author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects
- Hamilton Leithauser, lead singer of The Walkmen
- Matthew Sharpe, author of Jamestown
- Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Forgive Me and How to be Lost
- Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton
- Joshua Henkin, author of Matrimony
- Buzz Poole, managing editor at Mark Batty Publisher
- Ben Dolnick, author of Zoology
- Elizabeth Crane, author of When the Messenger Is Hot and All This Heavenly Glory
- Meghan O’Rourke, author of Halflife, literary editor Slate
- Andrew Saikali of The Millions
- Edan Lepucki of The Millions
- David Gutowski of largehearted boy
- Mark Sarvas of The Elegant Variation, author of Harry, Revised
- Carolyn Kellogg of Pinky’s Paperhaus
- Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl
- Zachary Lazar, author of Sway
- Matt Ruff, author of Bad Monkeys
- Alex Rose, author of The Musical Illusionist
- James Hynes, author of The Lecturer’s Tale and Kings of Infinite Space
- Martha Southgate, author of Third Girl From The Left
- Junot Díaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
- Rudolph Delson, author of Maynard and Jennica
- Rosecrans Baldwin, founding editor of The Morning News
- Bonny Wolf author of Talking With My Mouth Full and NPR correspondent
- Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi
- Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia
- Elif Batuman, n+1 and New Yorker contributor
- Richard Lange, author of Dead Boys
- Sara Ivry, editor at Nextbook
- Scott Esposito of Conversational Reading
- Ed Champion of Return of the Reluctant
- David Leavitt, author of The Indian Clerk
- Roy Kesey, author of All Over
- Liz Moore, author of The Words of Every Song
- Yannick Murphy, author of Signed, Mata Hari and Here They Come
- Sam Sacks, editor at Open Letters
- Ted Heller, author of Slab Rat
- Bookdwarf of Bookdwarf
- Jess Row, author of The Train to Lo Wu
- Marshall N. Klimasewiski, author of The Cottagers and Tyrants
- Brian Morton author of Breakable You
- Eli Gottlieb, author of Now You See Him
- Dan Kois, editor of Vulture, New York magazine’s arts and culture blog.
- Robert Englund, actor
- Garth Risk Hallberg, A Field Guide to the North American Family: An Illustrated Novella, contributor to The Millions