now incorporating the Sudbury Hill and Wood End Times

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impressive list*

That's the best thing we've read all year | Review | The Observer

"...writers and other cultural figures choose their favourite books of 2007"

Fascinating to get in concise form what each of these people found new and compelling this year. Then again some of the selections reflect what I find myself, that it's not always new books that are discovered in a year. I have bought a few books this year, the new edition of Shakespeare, a great doorstop/combines weight-training and reading, actually a marvellous book. Some others. A limitation of this sort of survey, like any Top N items list, is the tendency to say "My favourite books this year were the books I read this year."

Imagine being Literary Editor of the Observer and having this lot in your CC list:

David Hare, Nicola Barker, Margaret Drabble, Toby Litt, Alain de Botton, Michael Chabon, Jan Morris, Shere Hite, Salley Vickers, Brian Friel, MJ Hyland, Ian Hislop, Peter Carey, Charlotte Mendelson, John Banville, Anne Tyler, Michael Ondaatje, Joanna Briscoe, Andrew Marr, Hanif Kureishi, Angela Hartnett, Lisa Appignanesi, Irvine Welsh, JG Ballard, Simon Callow, Hari Kunzru, Iain Sinclair, Oliver Sacks, Beryl Bainbridge, Adam Phillips, Philip French, Peter Conrad, Alan Warner, Saffron Burrows, Geoff Dyer, Hilary Mantel, Charlie Higson, Edward Lucas, Kate Mosse, Jane Stevenson, Andrew Motion, David Kynaston, Romesh Gunesekera, Gerard Woodward, Colin Thubron, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Adam Mars-Jones, Nicci Gerrard, Diane Abbott, Michael Dobbs, Caroline Michel, Jonathan Sacks, Ali Smith, John Kampfner, John Mortimer, Ralph Steadman, Owen Sheers, Mohsin Hamid, Peter Ho Davies, James Lasdun, Rachel Seiffert, Maggie O'Farrell, John Burnside, Philip Hoare, Gautam Malkani, Phil LaMarche, Russell Hoban, Jackie Kay, Kele Okereke, Glen Baxter, Jeremy Paxman, Chris Huhne, Katie Melua, Benjamin Zephaniah

Just to quote the last one, which happens to be pithy:

Benjamin Zephaniah

Derek Walcott's Selected Poems (Faber)

"Walcott's Selected Poems is the only book I've read this year. I just haven't felt the need for another. The world is here, every emotion, thoughts you've had and thoughts you are yet to have. I have a copy in my house and a copy in my luggage. Nuff said."

Ossian

* Good thinking O. That'll bring the Googlers in, then they can buy merchandise. Ed

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