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Monday, December 31, 2007

Favourite Books Read in 2007

I stole the idea of posting the best books I have read this year from Brian Keene's blog. And, like all cool ideas, I thought I'd steal/borrow/liberate it (choose the word you think best fits what I'm doing here) and make my own list.

Following is a list of the top 10 books I read in 2007. They are not necessarily books that came out in 2007, but books that I read (or finished reading) this past year. I read a lot of great books this past year and it was difficult to narrow it down to just 10 that I'd recommend -- but I had to draw the line some where, and if I didn't stop at 10, this post would go on forever.

The books are in no particular order. (Okay, they're in the order that they came to mind when I was thinking about the books that I enjoyed most or that left the greatest impression on me)


The Best Laid Plans: A Novel
by Terry Fallis

I'm not much into political novels, so this first novel by Terry Falls (described as a satirical novel of Canadian politics) caught me off guard. I started looking at it out of curiosity (the author is a McMaster grad and we were considering having him come in for a book signing) and the story hooked me immediately. It's a great book about an unlikely candidate's rise to power in the Liberal party. It has some really funny moments and well crafted characters that stick with you long after you finish reading it.


Rollback
by Robert J Sawyer

Sawyer again reveals his strength as a speculative storyteller in this touching and fantastic tale. On the surface it appears to be a modern version of a tale of "The Fountain of Youth" but this story of a couple who, on their 60th wedding anniversary sign up to have a "rollback" (a new expensive and experimental rejuvenation procedure that makes a person physically 25 again) is wonderfully refreshing and contains interesting thoughts on love, morality and ethics.


Roadshow: Landscape With Drums: A Concert Tour By Motorcycle
by Neil Peart

Peart has created a new genre all his own with his literary musical biographical travel logs. And he keeps getting better with each one. Roadshow is a travelogue of the R30 tour (the 30th anniversary tour of the Canadian rock band Rush) -- Peart covers moments from concerts as well as the motorcycle and travel adventures had with his traveling companions between "work days." Filled with interesting insights into a reluctant celebrities life on the road and poignant notes scribed in his daily journal describing the sights, sounds and smells of his adventures (that "suck while you're having them"), this is a fascinating book.


No Time For Goodbye
by Linwood Barclay

This one isn't like Barclay's previous 4 mystery novels (the wonderfully humourous, zany and suspenseful Zack Walker mysteries). There's no humour in this one, but the suspense and mystery are top notch. A teenage girl who awakes one morning to find her parents and younger brother missing spends the next several decades wondering what happened to them -- were they murdered? If so, who killed them and why? Or did they just all leave, completely abandoning her? If so, what would drive a family to do that? Barclay has created a startlingly great story filled with tension and suspense and even more questions as the mystery is slowly unraveled.


Echo Park
by Michael Connelly

Connelly continues to paint a beautifully haunted portrait of an investigator in Harry Bosch as he reinvestigates a fifteen year old murder discovering that he missed a clue the first time. Bosch's character and Connelly's stories continue to develop and get better with each new novel he writes -- Simply, Connelly never disappoints. Solid, tight, wonderfully written.


The Rising
by Brian Keene

A seriously worried father struggles to make his way halfway across a zombie-filled America to save his son. Brilliant, touching and terrifying, this novel grabbed me immediately and held me in suspense until the very last word -- is Jim's son still alive? If so, will Jim make it and save his son in time? While I'd never been a fan of zombie novels, Keene definitely changed my mind about my misconceptions of what a zombie novel could be.

Twisted: The Collected Stories of Jeffery Deaver
by Jeffery Deaver

In the introduction Deaver states that the beauty of the short story is there are no rules -- and in each tale in this phenomenal collection, he proves it over and over again, much to the reader's delight. I have enjoyed Deaver's novel length writing but think that, his genius ability in the short story, particularly the way in which he is able to masterfully deceive the reader with fantastically crafted twists deserves the highest praise.


A Twist of Malice
by Jean Baxter

A superb collection of short stories filled with murder and mayhem by a Hamilton area writer that is definitely worth discovering. Baxter reveals a sharp wit and wry sense of justice in many of these delightful tales, all laced with just the right touch of malice, but also filled with the foils and emotions of humanity.


Brave Men Run - A Novel Of The Sovereign Era
by Matthew Wayne Selznick

Imagine if John Hughes and Stan Lee collaborated on a novel and that comes close to this incredible first novel by Selznick. Nathan Charters is a misfit, gifted with strange, cat-like abilities that set him apart from his friends and family in this alternative universe set in the mid 1980's.


Theatre of the Mind: Raising the Curtain on Consciousness
by Jay Ingram

With many different details examinations of consciousness, the way our brain operates and how we attempt to make sense of the world, Ingram has crafted another winner. This book is yet another fine collection of thought-provoking and fascinating tidbits from the world of science made accessible to the lay person.

1 comment:

Terry Fallis said...

Mark, you're very kind and I'm grateful. Writing The Best Laid Plans was quite an experience and reviews like yours certainly make the journey well worth it. All the best in 2008.

Terry