Sunday, January 27, 2008

2007 in books

Here it is almost the end of January, and I still haven't posted any kind of summary of my 2007 reading. I was going to just skip it, since it feels way too late for a "Best of 2007" post. But it was an unusually good reading year for me, and I wanted to acknowledge some of my most memorable reads. These are the books that stuck with me. I read plenty of other books that made me smile, that whiled the time away pleasantly, or that gave me useful information, but the books on this list had a deeper impact: they expanded the world of my imagination and/or made me see the world from a new angle.

This isn't a ranked list; I'm simply working my way backward through my blog posts from the year.

It's Not About the Accent, by Caridad Ferrer. A YA coming of age story that made me reflect on how I define myself even thought I'm a good 15 or 20 years past the "coming of age" stage.

Fray, by Joss Whedon. So, it's a graphic novel. It's also a powerful, tight piece of storytelling, and I only hope my own action-adventure WIP will even approach its impact.

The Mask of Command, by John Keegan, and Sharpe's Waterloo, by Bernard Cornwell. Reading these books back-to-back gave my imagination a vivid "Waterloo room."

Here if You Need Me, by Kate Braestrup. Lately I'm drawn to stories of non-fundamentalist faith journeys, as I'm still trying to work out what life means in a world with no absolutes.

Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novik. The second strongest outing in the series thus far, and the cliffhanger from hell!

American Band, by Kristen Laine. What it's like to grow up in America today, viewed through one season of a competitive marching band.

Survival of the Sickest, by Sharon Moalem. Popular science in journalistic style, so nothing Deep or Moving, but the examples have stayed in my mind.

Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby, by Allyson Beatrice. Online communities and how they flow into real life.

Swords Around a Throne, by John Elting. An encyclopedic reference to Napoleon's Grande Armee. Sounds dry, but reading it opened my eyes to the French side of the wars.

The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston. Mad scientists who never got over their childhood love for climbing trees.

Born Fighting, by James Webb. The first book I've ever read focusing on the Scots-Irish--i.e. my people.

Gallows Thief, by Bernard Cornwell. I wish he'd turned this one into a series...

Rough Crossings, by Simon Schama. The American Revolution from a completely different angle.

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