Someone asked in comments, where do all the books go here? Voila a tiny fraction of the lovely problem, it's list time and somehow I have to choose my best reads of the year from this lot and the list of this year's reads is very long indeed, in fact the longest ever, so where to start?
Then should I limit myself to books only published this year? That can't be right because I've spent half my reading year elsewhere.
So my best, most heartfelt reads of 2007 will cover all bases old and new, will leave out prize-winners. Time, place and context figure large on my reading-o-meter and if the planets align and, as I said recently, if my heart beats in time to the pulse of the book. it wins a special place somewhere deep down and memorable and I've allowed myself as many as I wanted.
In the end it was easy, as I looked down the list and read the titles, the special ones just leapt out.
Fiction first, non-fiction to follow and publishers in brackets are the editions I have read from.One book missing from the picture and the house has been turned upside-down and we've been up hill and down dale looking for my treasured copy, I think the fairies may have taken it.
Eucalyptus - Murray Bail (Text Publishing)
I am years behind the rest of the world with this one but it was well worth the wait and now I see why everyone else loves it too.Magical, mysterious, ethereal reading.
Old Soldiers - Paul Bailey (Penguin)
It's so good to discover for the first time a writer who has been around a long time but somehow you've missed them.This book, its themes and characters will stay with me forever and I've since read Uncle Rudolf and At the Jerusalem and have loved every word of Paul Bailey's writing.
The Needle in the Blood - Sarah Bower (Snowbooks)
This one will probably be on everyone's list, I've yet to hear of anyone who hasn't loved it once read, if it doesn't win a prize somewhere very soon there's something going wrong out there.Mind you, there's already something going wrong, to date not a single paper review so very sad to think that those who choose their reading from those pages could be missing out on a brilliant book.A great interview with Sarah Bower by Mark Thwaite here and could the fairies bring back my copy now please?
A Lesson Before Dying - Ernest J.Gaines (Vintage)
Helped by the fact I bought this on location in Galveston and read it sailing across the Gulf of Mexico.How a novel about a man on death row facing the electric chair can make good holiday reading I have no idea, but it did.It was beyond moving.
The Parson - Anna Kavan (Peter Owen)
I've only just discovered the mighty Anna Kavan this year and could have listed all her books read so far but this one the most recent and full of exciting hidden depths.
When We Were Romans - Matthew Kneale (Picador)
The best child in a novel that I've read in an age.
Black Dirt - Nell Leyshon (Picador)
My best new discovery of the year, some of the most exquisite writing you could ever hope to read. Right words in the right order.One of my most moving and perceptive reads of the year.
In Search of Adam - Caroline Smailes (The Friday Project)
A stunning and harrowing read but I am so glad I've read it.I knew the minute I turned the final page that it would polarise the reviewers and I think it has, but from one who works with the fall-out from this devastating subject matter I think Caroline Smailes has pitched this to perfection.
Address Unknown - Kressman Taylor (Souvenir Press)
A tiny book that is beyond memorable.Resonates long after the final page.An ominous foreshadowing of what was to come which, when read with hindsight, leaves you gasping.
The Ice Palace - Tarjei Vesaas (Peter Owen)
One of the coldest, most disturbing books you could ever imagine and still lingers in my mind even now. I froze along with everyone else in this book.
Finally, perhaps I really should choose my Best of the Best Fiction Read 2007
Black Dirt by Nell Leyshon
P.S. Non-fiction to follow and with grateful thanks to the fairies, I found it!