The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Best Books of the Year Lists, Part Two

Posted on: November 25, 2006

They are rolling in. The Guardian presented a two part list of recommendations by well-known authors. Fictionally speaking a good deal of the big names with the big titles were mentioned–Atwood, Roth, McCarthy, Updike–but three cheers for Saunder’s (a litblog favourite) whose latest also got recommended. (He was asked for recommendations too.)

Puzzlingly there is another two part set of more book recommendations, but authors and book critics are not the only groups mined for suggestions, maybe that’s the difference. I am passing it over for I need a end-of-year-lists break.

Here are the ones from the first set that caught my eye. A non-fiction managed to sneak into there.

The Drift Latitudes – Jamal Mahjoub I will have to google Ahdaf Soueif’s works because the way she described two of her suggestions convinced me. She claimed that Mahjoub’s novel is “intelligent, elegant, evocative–and with heart”. What more could you ask for?

Diplomatic Baggage: Adventure of a Trailing Spouse – Brigid Keenan was her second recommendation. It is reported to make one laugh out loud several times, and maybe even cry a time or two. Sounds good to me.

Be Near Me – Andrew O’Hagan This one has not been released in the US but we have the UK edition in Canada. (The sole advantage of Commonwealth status.) It was described as a book about a “troubled priest, in our trouble times” and that’s what made me take note.

American Purgatorio – John Haskell Geoff Dyer described its story as a “weird cross-continental road trip” and wondered why it wasn’t a best-seller. Again, unusually enough, I liked the jacket copy, as it tells us about a man who walks out of a store to find *poof* his life, gone. I liked that they left the particulars to the imagination and grumbled when the stupid Publisher’s Weekly review gave it away in the first line. Anyway, I’ll still get it. I have avoided Jack Kerouac and his…whatever the book’s called about some road trip, wearing black and getting high probably, because it sounded soo cliché. Haskell’s sounds more promising.


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