Now that 2007 is well under way I thought it was time to look back at this new century and its literature. What are the great novels of the 2000’s?
Handicapping the Great 21st Century Novels – an interactive experience (special pre-Alpha preview)
“Superb”… “magnificent”… “The best thing he has ever written” — the kinds of things that are said about almost every book that is published these days, from James Patterson to Mo Willems. Yet when I heard these same things said about Atonement by Ian McEwan, I somehow thought such praise was well-deserved.
The overall narrative is fairly light. There is the tale of Robbie and Cecilia (two star-crossed lovers), and the personal struggle of Briony, and then a handful of plot-driven characters in the background. The story spans five years or seventy, depending on whether you include the final section.
It used to be my practice to post a year-end review of books, but for the past two years I have been posting monthly (/semimonthly) summaries of recent reading, and I never wrote a 2005 review. If I recall correctly, there was a one month old child in the house at the time.
Errata: Some time during the past year I read A Room with a View by E. M. Forster, but it got left out somehow.
So, in the past year I made a concerted effort to read some forty-one books. Four of these were nonfiction, the rest fiction. Of the fiction, I abandoned or otherwise failed to finish four books, those four being:
* Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
* Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
* Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
* JR by William Gaddis
There is a fair chance that I will eventually resume reading Dostoevsky or Gaddis, but no chance that I will finish the Willis or Sawyer volumes.
Out of all the fiction, I would say about eight of the books were of literary quality. The rest were fluff, but enjoyable fluff.
Best fiction of the year: Gateway by Frederik Pohl. Written in 1976, still a good read, and it motivated me to read several other books by Pohl.
Worst fiction of the year: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I have my doubts that Hosseini actually wrote the book, more likely there was an uncredited ghost writer/team of editors behind this.
Well, time to get back to reading. Currently working on: Not Even Wrong by Peter Woit.
I did not finish either JR by William Gaddis or Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray. JR was interesting, but a little too much like trying to read a television.
I also did not get much beyond the first week of writing for NaNoWriMo.
I did read:
* Myth-ing Persons (1984)
* Little Myth Marker (1985)
* M.Y.T.H. inc. Link (1986)
by Robert Asprin. The series really hits its stride with Little Myth Marker, then Asprin’s writing output started sputtering in the 1990’s.
After a year on my shelf, I resumed Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy from page 500 or so. I still have about 40 pages to go.