There may be few things more painful to a book enthusiast than to be asked to choose a favorite. 'A single favorite?' they cry. 'A single one?'
Fine, fine, then, we say. Pick a few. Pick the best. Tell us which of the books (yes, yes, dear enthusiasts, plural 'books') you read and enjoyed in 2007 were the best of the best; tell us what you enjoyed the most.
Camille Alexa has a warning for 2008 -- 'I'm setting the bar high, 2008! You have been warned.' So far this year, she says she 'fell in love all over again with Jessica Reisman's lyrical literary sci-fi novel The Z Radiant, and fell in love anew with Steven Ultey's collection of short stories, The Beasts of Love.' With such enthusiasm already garnered for 2008, what could have been her favourites in 2007?
The wonderful and talented Peter S. Beagle divulges a couple of his favourites. Of the first he says, 'Maybe it's because I read too many mysteries, wishing I could write one,' and of the second, a book or poetry, he says 'The poems have entirely to do with human hungers, human journeys and memories, human love, and a wit aged like 1948 Armagnac.' Mystery and poetry! We expected nothing less intriguing from one of our favorite writers.
Tobias Buckell, author of the engaging adventure SF series begun with Crystal Rain and continued in Ragamuffin (watch for Sly Mongoose in 2008), says 'Since about 2005/2006 there have been a lot of novels by new writers hitting the market that are just a pleasure to read.' Tobias is possibly too modest to mention his own novels fall solidly in that category, so we'll do it for him.
Ellen Datlow, reigning queen editor of horror and the well-told short tale, honored us with an in-depth and wonderfully detailed account of her gleanings for 2007. She says she's 'still reading and rereading for Year's Best Fantasy & Horror.' (Here, we rub our collective hands together in unseemly anticipation...)
As Green Man Head Editor Cat Eldridge says of his 2007 faves, 'Best Anthology -- Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, No. 20. Still the gold standard for annual anthologies. 'Nuff said.' So true, Cat! What else caught your fancy last year? Do tell!
Christopher Fowler gives yet another nod to a Datlow anthology. 'Ellen Datlow's Inferno was a great non-themed anthology (I loved Pat Cadigan's 'Stilled Life')'. What else in 2007 caught the fancy of this particular author?
Jim Frenkel, über-packager for all twenty years (and still going!) of Year's Best Fantasy & Horror anthology series, confesses, 'I'm biased, of course, having edited or otherwise worked on all the books listed below, but I was mightily impressed by them. Unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to read books other than the ones I edited last year, but these gave me great pleasure..' Find out what they were.
Author Deborah Grabien has another -- well, perhaps more a caveat than a confession. 'I did almost no reading in 2007 -- I was buried in writing. Most of my reading was rereads of old favourites.' Old favourites? Well, we sympathize with that sentiment around here. Find out what Ms. Grabien did read when she was able to 'come up for air.'
Green Man Book Editor April Gutierrez' eclectic tastes run the gamut of Tokyopop's YA Popfiction line to a graphic novel by Bill Willingham to a Harlan Ellison re-release, while Elizabeth Hand's picks run from books by Tolkien to J.K Rowling, to something she intriguingly calls a 'first time classic.' See her picks here.
Christopher Golden keeps things simple, but Gwyneth Jones really gets into the meat of matters. Find out what author makes her pose the question 'Where did he get that reputation for unreadable gloom?'
Another book of poetry made it onto the succinct favourites list of Larry Kirwan (of Black 47), and author Ellen Kushner has her recommendations for 'readers interested in smart, literate mythic fantasy.'
And to discover what Richard Morgan calls 'a colossally absorbing whale of a book for those who can spare the three months to read it', peruse his detailed analysis. of life, 'literarily speaking', in 2007.
Author Jennifer Stevenson prepared an incredibly insightful look at her recent favorite reads. In it, she tells us what she picked up in 2007 'is heavily larded with the post-Victorian equivalent of a piece of black tape over the naughty bits' and what prompts her to urge us to 'get ready for a firestorm.'
Says James Stoddard, 'I've recently discovered this website, which uses volunteers to read public domain audio books. Some of the readers are good, others aren't, but the downloads are free.' 2007 favourites? Find out what and why.
And we wrap up with Green Man Robert Tilendis' best reads of 2007. 'This past year's books. Quite a selection. It's really hard to spot the ones that stand above the crowed, because the crowd's so tall.' Echoing reviewer Camille with a truly Green Man sentiment, Robert says 'Well, I'm already getting next year's books, and some of them look very choice indeed.'
Analysing the Breeders may be as useful as deconstructing a good fuck, or for those less carnally inclined, a strawberry shortcake. When it works, you really don't have to discuss it. If it doesn't, you just signal for mas cafe por favor and slosh away. -- Deborah Frost, Village Voice
Archived 4_5/2008 LLS