Best of 2007 – a Gathering

December 22, 2007 at 5:29 pm (Best of 2007, books, Mystery fiction)

Here are some links to various lists of the Best Books of 2007:

The New York Times 100 Notable Books, followed the next week by that newspaper’s selection of the Ten Best 10-best-nytimes.jpg ;

The Washington Post‘s Holiday Guide;

The Guardian/Observer. I really like this way of writing up the selections, and of course, it’s interesting to read writers’ praise others in their profession. The Times Literary Supplement uses a similar approach, although they have posted only a portion of the entire article online;

Crime Fiction Dossier: I was going to put this with the mysteries, but there are many general fiction and nonfiction titles selected by the participating writers and critics;

The online magazine Slate;

booksplease.jpg From one of my favorite book blogs: Booksplease

Publishers Weekly – Boy, they’ve really expanded this one! And finally, a perennial favorite:

The Economist.

(In the course of pulling this post together, I came across this list of “Best Novels You’ve Never Read” in New York Magazine.)

Now for the mysteries:

deadly.jpg Deadly Pleasures Magazine;

The Florida Sun-Sentinel’s picks, by Oline Codgill oline.jpg;

The Seattle Times;

sarah1.jpg Sarah Weinman, of Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind fame, has pulled together a list for the Los Angeles Times;

January Magazine, Part One and Part Two. These lists feature exceptionally lengthy and thoughtful annotations.

triumph.jpg Patrick Anderson, reviewer for the Washington Post and author of The Triumph of the Thriller, has appended a “best” list to his review of Eliot Pattison’s Prayer of the Dragon;

peter-thumb.jpg Peter Guttridge, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year in London, reviews crime fiction for the Guardian/ Observer. Here’s his list of the Best of 2007.

This isn’t a “Best of 2007” list, but I like it anyway; It’s from Martin Edwards’s site.


At this point, what can one say but…”Look on these lists, ye mighty compulsive readers, and despair!!” Yes, it’s hard to refrain from asking myself how, after a year of especially voracious reading, I have managed to read so few of these books. Well, I didn’t miss all of them: several of the titles that appear in my own Best of 2007 lists did appear in one or two of the above tallies, e.g. Nature’s Engraver by Jenny Uglow, Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann, Cheating at Canasta by William Trevor, On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, The Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux, The Secret Hangman by Peter Lovesey, and Death Comes for the Fat Man by Reginald Hill. It was especially gratifying to Laura Lippman’s superb What the Dead Know on so many lists of Best Crime Fiction.

A couple of additional observations:

savage.jpg tree-of-smoke.jpg Two novels appeared repeatedly on the lists: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano and Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. (I have read neither, naturally! ) Tree of Smoke won the National Book Award last month; interestingly, it was also the subject of a rather vitriolic takedown by B.R. Myers in the December issue of The Atlantic Monthly

Please keep in mind that I said “some links” at the beginning of this entry. It’s very possible that I’ve missed some good ones, and more lists are certain to appear in the coming weeks. If you spot any good ones not included here, feel free to post the information in the comments section.

Meanwhile – Happy Holidays and Good Reading to All!


  1. booksplease said,

    Thanks for the link to my blog, Roberta. I enjoy your posts very much and have now found through this one another interesting blog to read – Martin Edwards’s.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  2. Joanne said,

    Thanks for this–now I can find out what I’ve been missing, and I only have to look in one place. Do you know anyone who’d like two kids for a year or two so I can catch up?

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