So while I was out, the New York Times dropped its massive list of the most notable books of the year. Accountability first: I have read six of these and they are, in order of appearance (fiction then nonfiction, alphabetical by title): CHRONIC CITY, THE LITTLE STRANGER, A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN, THE SONG IS YOU, THE LOST CITY OF Z and ZEITOUN. That is not very many -- one less than last year, in fact -- but it gives me a lot of ideas of what I want to read! (I've never even heard of ASTERIOS POLYP or HORSE SOLDIERS, to give two examples.)
I haven't made my personal best-of-the-year list, although (plug alert!) I already participated in a best-of-the-decade selection. Frankly I'm still recovering from being in that smoke-filled room for so long. Next to that I think reckoning with '09 will be a cakewalk, though as soon as I do I will read a book that blows me over completely and want to retract everything I've been saying about The State Of Literature. But in fairness, I always want to have that experience... the closing of the decade has nothing to do with it.
The Times' decade list has not appeared yet, but if you are the type to have a favorite critic, Michiko, Dwight and Janet have all put up their top tens of this year for you to judge as you will.
3 hours ago