Won’t you be my reading recommender?

Posted by Lizzie on 11/27/06

We have an unconscionable amount of work this week, and not enough black-and-white cookies in the universe to see us through. (Although our street has the bomb ones.)* Those of you who follow our travails also know that all of our stuff is in storage. That’s why we’re asking for your help, meaning, why don’t you get off your lazy asses and do some work around here, FOR ONCE. In honor of the Times Notable Bestest Notable Books Better Than Those Black & White Cookies Even GODDAMNIT, we would like to hear what you thought was the best book of the year, meaning, what should we steal from the piles of review copies lying around the apartment of the guy we’re subletting from.**

And not to get even more touchy feelier than we already are, why don’t you leave us something about yourself–who you are, what brought you to this blog today, who you think would take the crown in Joyce Carol Oates vs. Jonathan Safran Foer, UFC style, three rounds max in the three word name starting with J, second name ‘a’ sound, third name ‘o’ weight class. We’ve never asked you to tell us anything about yourselves, but we finally learned how to scroll through our referrer logs and, frankly, we know much more about you than you want us to already. (Oh, yes, 72.14.199.9, on the Firefox 2.0 platform with 4.67 megabytes of bandwidth–we’re looking at YOU.)***

We won’t be here for a week. Have fun. One woman’s evening hangs in the balance.

UPDATE: A gentle reader suggested it is hopeless for us to ask any of you to lower your exhausted digits onto a keyboard without a sizable carrot at the end of the QWERTY. FINE. Free copy of our favorite book of the year (secret!) to a randomly chosen entrant.

* Last night, we also discovered that you could get off the subway, get a slice of pizza, walk three blocks, decide you needed another slice of pizza because you had not had your daily serving of vegetables, and get a slice of broccoli pizza with ease. It’s not good, when you’re using pizza to get your daily serving of vegetables. On the plus side, it’s not vodka for the carbs. Yet.

** Speaking of the plus side, at a reading for the very talented and kind Stephen Burt, whose work you should examine, we also discovered that, OH YEAH, WE NEED READING GLASSES. This morning, we hit Ctrl+ not once but twice to get our browser text up to speed (tonight we enlarge not once but twice….wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do that for cookies, as well as various other items of import, like pizza and get your mind out the gutter?). Reader, mark this day, this sad day, this day of reckoning. Our masthead is no longer ironic.

*** This referrer log stuff is addictive. Fear not; we really can’t see who you are. HOWEVER, if you come from a law firm or publisher or school or anyone that hosts its own server, we can see that you’re visiting from, say, MIT. (And why are so many of you visiting from MIT? We are not Old Mathematician.) In these cases, we can also usually see the name of the computer, often something engagingly gaming and nerdy like, say, Myth117.

Why are we engaging in this incredibly boring object lesson, you ask? For one reason. The reader from a major publisher (don’t worry, we won’t say which) who has named her computer worstwordho IS OUR NEW HERO.

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Commentary

  1. 2 books you gotta read, neither of them (uncharacteristically for me) novels: toni schlesinger’s “five flights up” and alison bechdel’s “fun home.”

    Comment by Jenny D — 11/27/2006 @ 4:51 pm

  2. The Keep by Jennifer Egan
    King Dork by Frank Portman

    Comment by Jodi — 11/27/2006 @ 5:25 pm

  3. My faves (subject to change):

    Richard Powers, THE ECHO MAKER
    Dana Spiotta, EAT THE DOCUMENT
    Scarlett Thomas, THE END OF MRS. Y (currently reading)
    Jeff VanderMeer, SHRIEK
    Alison Bechdel, FUN HOME
    Mark Z. Danielewski, ONLY REVOLUTIONS
    Sam Savage, FIRMIN

    Comment by ed — 11/27/2006 @ 5:49 pm

  4. And I should streess YOU MUST READ THE POWERS!

    Comment by ed — 11/27/2006 @ 5:55 pm

  5. These books were not necessarily released this year – just read – but I’d say Black Swan Green, The Third Policeman, Saturday, The Death of the Heart, and if you’re feeling blue, When Things Fall Apart.

    Comment by escapegrace — 11/27/2006 @ 8:04 pm

  6. There is only one book, and it is Cooking with Fernet Branca. You’re welcome. As for the rest, you already know far too much, m’dear.

    Comment by cinetrix — 11/27/2006 @ 10:09 pm

  7. This is pathetic. Tampax or Tampons? Stones or Beatles? Lost or Top Chef? (That’s a trick; BOTH OF COURSE!!!!!!!) Be not ashamed; no one reads this blog.

    Good recs though.

    Comment by altehaggen — 11/28/2006 @ 9:52 am

  8. I’m limping through The Emperor’s Children right now but I don’t like it very much. Consider that a warning.

    Comment by M. Kennedy — 11/28/2006 @ 2:30 pm

  9. I have to go low brow:

    One Train Later by Andy Summers. It may be the only rock memoir that, when I finished it, didn’t make me feel like I’d been mainlining Splenda. High praise, I know.

    Comment by Jimmy Beck — 11/29/2006 @ 9:18 am

  10. Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind; A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas, Marcy Dermansky, Twins (the paperback!)
    The black and whites and Shop Rite are pretty good too.

    Comment by ann — 11/29/2006 @ 10:37 am

  11. The best book I read this year was The Man Without Qualities. Needless to say, subversively highbrow mitteleuropan quippery is in short supply these days, but Musil supplies many emergency pallets worth. The best book I read published this year was The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, which is both sweeping and intimate, tender, horrible, and strangely lovable. More novelistic and less stern than the 9-11 commission report (especially the footnotes), its attention to detail and its pathos make it seem incredibly precious.

    Comment by Hande — 11/29/2006 @ 4:02 pm

  12. Definitely Black Swan Green and definitely World War Z: The Oral History of the Zombie War. Oh yes.

    Comment by Melanie — 11/29/2006 @ 4:37 pm

  13. Crap. I think I gave away my Black Swan Green to a lucky winner!!!!!

    Comment by altehaggen — 11/29/2006 @ 4:40 pm

  14. Non-fiction:
    THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA – Michael Pollan

    Fiction:
    EXPLORERS OF THE NEW CENTURY – Magnus Mills (though technically published in the UK in aught five)

    As much as I love David Mitchell, I wouldn’t read BLACK SWAN GREEN if you’ve never read him before. Read CLOUD ATLAS or GHOSTWRITTEN first.

    The absolute best stuff I read this year all came from one of the following: Joan Didion, Shirley Jackson, Rupert Thomson, or Louis Bromfield, none of whom published anything new this year (discounting Joan’s collected nonfiction).

    Oh, and: I am nobody, really. I came here today to take my mind off my too-long bangs. Joyce Carol Oates takes the crown.

    Welcome back to New York!

    zan (a cup of tea)

    Comment by Cuppa Tea — 12/1/2006 @ 12:12 pm

  15. (Thanks Lizzie, for helping this technological illiterate. Of course, it works now…)

    Comment by a cup of tea — 12/1/2006 @ 12:46 pm

  16. Some best books:

    Sarah Waters, Night Watch
    Jami Attenberg, Instant Love
    Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
    Ellis Avery, The Tea House Fire (actually, it comes out end of December and I haven’t read it yet, but I know it will be good.)
    Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

    I cant mention my own book, but it’s okay because my mother already did.

    Comment by marcy — 12/3/2006 @ 9:53 am

  17. Hey, please say who worstwordho is! Because she just looked at my website! I know only one editor at Workman, and haven’t talked with her for a while, but…maybe she hasn’t forgotten me.

    Comment by Donna B. — 6/4/2007 @ 5:09 pm

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