This is absolutely a New Directions book, and we think those of you who’ve fallen in love with Javier Marías or Roberto Bolaño or László Krasznahorkai as much as we did will agree. Wholeheartedly.
How many good books did I read this year? A lot. How many am I talking about today? Just two. It’s not the fault of the books. They all work as hard as they can. It’s just that I read so very many of you. You books. And my brain is just not as spongy as it used to be. It comes with age. I’ve been noticing it lately. So forgive me, for not mentioning all of you.
Still doing your holiday shopping? Well we here at The Millions suggest that this year (and every year), you give the gift of great literature. And where better to find some book recommendations than straight from the authors you most admire? Zadie Smith, for example, says you should read Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams. Alexander Chee says you should read Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai. Our staff writer, Edan Lepucki, wants everyone to just bite the bullet and read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl if they haven’t yet.
Are you tired of all these moribund ‘Best Of’ lists? Do you wish for a year-end books feature that’s substantial, personal, and refreshing?
Behold The Millions’s annual Year In Reading series! Each year, we invite prominent writers and thinkers to name the best book or books they read between Dec. 1, 2011 and Dec. 1, 2012 regardless of publication date, genre, or language. If your favorite books were, say, A Dance to the Music of Time and In Cold Blood, you might contribute a brief paragraph or two about one or both. 200 words would be plenty; more is also welcome. Here’s a link to this year’s main index, and here are some examples from this year’s participants: Jeffrey Eugenides, Emma Straub, Choire Sicha, and Ben Fountain…
Our lineup is pretty stellar if we say so ourselves, but we’d like to make it even better. That’s where you come in. We want everyone out there to share their own Year In Reading posts on Tumblr (or personal blog/website). All month, we’ll be following the #yir12 hashtag on Tumblr and Twitter, checking out your responses and linking to/reblogging some of our favorites. This should be a lot of fun, so spread the word and start sharing!