Best books of 2007

This past year I kept track of all the books I read. Why, I’m not entirely sure, other than curiosity. All in all, not counting the large number of comics and comic trade paperbacks, I read 35½ books in 2007. (The "half" book was a book of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft; I’d read the first half ages ago.)

The ratio of fiction to non-fiction was about 2-to-1. And even though most of these books weren’t actually published in 2007, that’s irrelevant since that’s when I read them and this list is simply based on my opinion anyway… just use it as a starting point for some really good reads.

(And while all the books I read were pretty good, these were the standouts.)

Best fiction books (no particular order)

  • Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson. I haven’t yet read Gibson’s latest (Spook Country), but Pattern Recognition was so amazingly well-done that it (finally) toppled Neuromancer as Gibson’s best work.
  • Halting State, by Charles Stross. This was the year I picked up and started reading Stross’ work (four novels) and Halting State, the newest, is the best so far. Way fun and full of irritatingly thought-provoking ideas. In a good way, of course.
  • Cell, by Stephen King. I already extolled the virtues of Cell here. Great book, tightly plotted, gripping and satisfying.
  • The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx. Didn’t see this one coming, but I was totally engrossed.

Best nonfiction books (no particular order)

  • Collapse, by Jared Diamond. Like his last book, Diamond takes mountains of information and evidence and seemingly unconnected facts and weaves them all together effortlessly so as to make them seem completely obvious.
  • The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson. Historical medical detectives. Or "CSI: Victorian London." Whichever, it’s really good. A little squicky, too.
  • Listening for Coyote, by William Sullivan. Sullivan hiked across Oregon, from Port Orford (I think) to Hells Canyon, and kept a fantastically detailed diary along the way. Super readable and enjoyable.