The 10 Best Novels I Read in 2006
10. Fire From Heaven, Mary Renault. Evocative look at the young life and loves of Alexander the Great. Mmm, snakes and shields and homoeroticism.
9. The Ivy Tree, Mary Stewart. Sometimes I just need me a cozy old 1950s English mystery/romance, and I liked this one in particular because of the possibly-unreliable narrator.
8. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro. Funny yet heartbreaking--the perfect butler's memoirs.
7. Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon of the Springs, Marcel Pagnol. It's all about groundwater--and crime, punishment, family, community, and ridiculously lovely French countrysides.
6. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman. As a cover quote said, it's never easy to get along with family, especially when they're the gods. So funny and frivolous and unlike everything else--Gaiman, as usual, rocks my socks.
5. The Highest Tide, Jim Lynch. A giant squid washes up in a Puget Sound backwater; but really it's a coming-of-age story. For a kid, I mean, not the squid.
4. A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin. Books 2 and 3 in marvelously addictive fantasy series. Haven't yet read book 4, which I've heard is less great, but these kept me lolling around and turning pages many a day.
3. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith. She captures a castle and also all the giddiness and angst of teen love, in the picturesque if silly setting of an early 20th century English ruin, with a narrator you either love or can't relate to. With me, as you can guess, it was love.
2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon. The scope! The humor! The poignancy! The imagination! The vocabulary! Quite possibly the Great American Novel!
1. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Or else THIS is the Great American Novel--for the Civil War era, anyway. Fine literature, well deserving of its Pulitzer, cleverly disguised as a bodice ripper. What's not to like?
Happy new year!