Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Favorites 2006

I still need to update my children's book favorites list for 2006. They were many and varied, but that list isn't going to finish itself until I return home on the 7th.

In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about my favorite adult reads of 2006 and I've come up with a list.

Most overrated book: The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud. I thought it was okay, but it didn't surprise me at all. In fact, I had guessed the ending for each individual character half-way through the book and was bummed when I found out I had divined their futures precisely.

Biggest surprise: Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This one really surprised me, considering I don't like yoga, or overprivileged people complaining about spoiled love affairs. Heck, I don't even like Italian food (I much prefer Indian, French, and Japanese). But I loved Eat, Pray, Love, in which Gilbert describes her year-long odyssey after a breakup in NYC to Italy (for food), India (for yoga/prayer/spiritual stuff), and Bali (the love part). Somehow, despite all my aversions to everything Gilbert adores, I still found her sympathetic and her journey compelling.

Most underrated book: A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon. I know everyone raved about Haddon's A Curious Incident..., but I actually preferred A Spot of Bother. It is a warm, funny novel, one I enjoyed immensely.

Favorite Book of the Year: How do I love Kate Atkinson? Let me count the ways...she's funny, she's a brilliant writer, and she's proven she can write a great mystery novel as well. One Good Turn was hands-down my favorite novel of the year. The last line of the novel is genius. (Oh, but don't peek!)

I also enjoyed, in no particular order, Absurdistan (hilarious), Suite francaise (very interesting), Arthur and George (funny, fascinating, brilliant), and The Accidental (okay, that was 2005, but I read it in Jan 2006).

Which adult reads were your favorites of 2006. What would you recommend and why?