aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

This is why it sucks to be published in December

Because all the print space that would go to reviews ends up to Best of the Year lists. Here are some, with my comments:

USA Today
Book of the Year: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards.
Fiction: All Aunt Hagar's Children, by Edward P. Jones
Non-fiction: Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks
Biography: Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, by Neal Gabler
Debut novel: The Last Town on Earth, by Thomas Mullen
Historical fiction: Mary, by Janis Cooke Newman
Mystery/thriller: The Prisoner of Guantanamo, by Dan Fesperman (full disclosure: I found it a good book, but the ending sagged)
Children's: The End, by Lemony Snicket
Graphic title: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel
Science fiction: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, By Max Brooks

Time magazine (mixes fiction and non-fiction
1. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, (obviously got to get this book)
2. The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright
3. The Road, by Corman McCarthy (I loved this)
4. Heat, by Bill Buford
5. Fiasco, by Thomas Ricks
6. The Lay of the Land, by Richard Ford
7. Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart
8. Blood and Thunder, by Hampton Sides
9. Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell
10. What is the What, by Dave Eggers

And some funny comments by USA Today:
Titles we wish we'd thought of: Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom by Celia Rivenbark, and How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, and (Especially) Sex by Kate White. (My sister-in-law does Kate's mother's Web site! We are practically related!)

Most audacious claim to ancestry: Kathleen McGowan, author of The Expected One, a novel about a woman who discovers she carries the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, says she, too, is descended from Jesus and Mary.

Best response to dismissive critics: Stephen King and Lisey's Story. The horror master was suddenly heralded as a talented "literary" novelist for this beautifully written (if creepy) love story.

Most overhyped debuts of the year: The overblown The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist, and the Freudian "thriller" The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.

Heroine with the most painful affliction in a mystery: The alcoholic cutter in Gillian Flynn's debut, Sharp Objects. Ouch. (I tried to get into this book and failed. I just didn't like it).

Author whose 'hotness' got more mentions than her talent (and her talent got plenty): Marisha Pessl, author of the heralded debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

Most imaginative use of post-menstrual angst: Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck, a collection of witty essays on aging by the celebrated screenwriter.

Funniest book written from a hospice: Art Buchwald's Too Soon to Say Goodbye, a warm-hearted memoir by the 81-year-old humorist whose failing kidneys began working again after he checked into a hospice expecting to die.

Best campaign for best-seller list and (2008) presidential nomination: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, whose The Audacity of Hope was an instant hit.

Book with the best timing: Bob Woodward's State of Denial, third in a series inside the Bush White House, by far the most critical, published as the president's approval ratings plunged. (Bob, where were you when we needed you?)

Book with the worst timing: A G-Man's Life by Mark Felt, with John O'Connor. By the time the man who was Watergate's Deep Throat published his memoir in March, most of his memory was gone and his secrets had been unveiled. (which is probably why Jess Walter backed out of the deal)

Have you read any of these? What do you think?

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