This year I based my long list choices on how likely I am to read the book again along with how likely I am to seek out more work by the same author. It's unlikely that I'll read certain books again because of the nature of their genre, it's a very rare thriller than can reward a second reading, but one terrific police procedrual can lead to an entire series of detective novels in my TBR pile. Which is why Ed McBain makes it to my long list this year.
These are the books I'm considering for this year's top ten favorite reads list:
Walkabout by James Vance Marshall - I read this one twice this year, once when the year started and then again this fall when I picked it for my book club. I think it's a terrific little book, not free from flaws, but able to become much more than the sum of its parts. I'm sure that I'll read it again someday, so it's definatly going on my top ten list this year.
Warlock by Oakley Hall - This year's western. Once again the best in the western genre is something that doesn't quit fit the western genre. I'm beginning to doubt the existence of traditional westerns.
Deep River by Shusaku Endo - A group of Japanese tourists visit Hindu holy sites in India. This book moved me in ways I did not expect. I still find myself thinking about it now and then.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - Probably my tenth or eleventh read of this one. I read it to my 7th grade students last spring and had a wonderful time. They had a good time, too. Hemingway's story of a lone man against nature still has something powerful to say every time I read it.
The Zero by Jess Walter - A satire of post September 11 New York City. Mr. Walter goes to some fairly dark places and makes fun of what he finds there in ways that left this reader thinking and re-thinking.
HHhH by Laurent Binet - Simply the best historical thriller I've ever read and one of the best books, too. This will be on my final list.
Snow Country by Yansunari Kawabata - Several Japanese authors make it to my list this year, in no small part due to the Japanese Literature Reading Challenge run by Belleza at Dolce Belleza. I suspect I'm much more likely to re-read Deep River, but Snow Country was wonderful. I'd like to read more by Mr. Kawabata.
Unforgiving Years by Victor Serge - I read quite a few Russian novels this year. Of them all, Mr. Serge is the one who has me looking for more.
Arcadia by Lauren Groff - A sure fire pick for the final list. Ms. Groff's history of a utopian commune in up-state New York is a wonderful read. I loved it. I want to read it again.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - As I said, once you've read a thriller the first time, the thrill is generally gone so i won't be reading Gone Girl again. However, next time I see a new book by Gillian Flynn, I'll buy it.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - A classic work of science fiction that still holds up, mostly, several decades later. Mr. Haldeman is considered a pioneer of the genre.
Close to Jedenew by Kevin Vennemann - One from The Art of the Novella series. This book got me started on collecting them all. I'm hoping Mr. Vennemann's novella is typical of the series' overall quality.
The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell - Mr. Mitchell takes the reader to old Japan where we find many wonderful and a few very disturbing things.
Pure by Andrew Miller - I started collecting Europa Editions books this year and now have four on my long list. Mr. Miller's book covers an obscure incident in the history of Paris when the cities overflowing cemetaries had to be excavated.
From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus - A love story that becomes something much more than a love story by the novel's end.
Hygiene and the Assassin by Amelie Nothomb - A main characters so despical that you can help but begin to admire him a little even as you begin to really hate him. Not that I'd ever want to spend time with him in real life.
The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal - The first novel to deal with the Holocaust from a Muslim perspective.
Murder in Memorium by Dieder Daeninckx - This year, I've spent a lot of time reading crime fiction in translation. Mr. Daeninckx exposee of a dark chapter in 20th century French history entertains and outrages.
Cop Hater by Ed McBain - Ed McBain, where have you been all my life?
I plan on posting my final top ten list around New Year's. Let me know what you think.