Monday, December 08, 2008

Post unveils best books of 2008

The Washington Post unveiled its best books of 2008 this weekend. It's no surprise that Toni Morrison's A Mercy and Roberto Bolano's 2666 are among the top five in fiction. I am not familiar with the other three books: The Outlander by Gil Adamson, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Cost by Roxana Robinson.

The Post's critic Jonathan Yardley also picked his best books of the year. I find some of his picks intriguing. Yardley liked Geraldine Brook's People of the Books, which I found thoroughly entertaining and well-told.

Three "genre" books make Yardley's list. He writes:
My dissatisfaction with contemporary literary fiction has led me to look more closely into what is commonly pigeonholed as "genre" fiction and, as I've said in the past, to find it more closely connected to the realities of American life than the self-referential fiction that pours out of creative-writing departments. Three of the most skillful writers of such work make the list this year.
The writers, and their books, are The Brass Verdict by Michael Connell, The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst and The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. Good choices all in, I think, the order listed.

Yardley also liked Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). I liked it a lot too.

My own list won't be forthcoming until after the first of the year. I still have several books to read in the few days remaining in 2008.

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