2007 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Every year since 1996 I’ve made a list of the ten favorite books I read that year (here is my 2006 list). Rarely are the book actually published in that year, the only common factor is that I read them in the same year (The six books I read that were actually published in 2007 are in bold on the complete list below). Instead of rating books from 2007 this list is more of a way to remember books of quality for the future.

Apparently I’m not alone in this endeavor as the book blog The Millions has just run a series called The Year in Reading where authors were asked to list their favorite books read in the past year. They make a nice point about the timelessness of books and how their effect is enduring long beyond the date of publication.

But books, unlike most forms of media, are consumed in a different way. The tyranny of the new does not hold as much sway with these oldest of old media. New books are not forced upon us quite so strenuously as are new music and new movies. The reading choices available to us are almost too broad to fathom. And so we pick here and there from the shelves, reading a book from centuries ago and then one that came out ten years ago. The “10 Best Books of 2007” seems so small next to that.

With that in mind, here is my list of favorite books from 2007 listed in the order I read them:

  1. Thumbs, Toes, and Tears by Chip Walter
  2. The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
  3. Jamestown, the Buried Truth by Bill Kelso
  4. Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
  5. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  6. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  7. The Time it Takes to Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean (as an added bonus, the author has “friended” me on Facebook)
  8. Quicksilver / King of the Vagabonds / Odalisque by Neal Stephenson
  9. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  10. Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman

Complete List of Books Read in 2007:

  1. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  2. Subway Style: 100 Years of Architecture & Design in the New York City Subway by the New York Transit Museum
  3. Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress by James Morris
  4. Thumbs, Toes, and Tears by Chip Walter
  5. The Winner of the National Book Award by Jincy Willet
  6. Spain 2007 by Rick Steves
  7. The Holy Thief by Ellis Peters
  8. Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled by Dorothy Gilman
  9. Brother Cadfael’s Penance by Ellis Peters
  10. Europe Through The Back Door 2007 by Rick Steves
  11. Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
  12. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  13. Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
  14. Living Vatican II by Gerald O’Collins, S.J.
  15. The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
  16. Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  17. Bound to Forgive by Lawrence Martin Jenco, O.S.M
  18. Confessions by Augustine
  19. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  20. The Secret Family by David Bodanis
  21. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead
  22. Jamestown, the Buried Truth by Bill Kelso
  23. Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations
  24. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  25. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
  26. Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
  27. Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind by Alison Gopnik, Andrew N. Meltzoff, & Patricia K. Kuhl
  28. The Remarkable World of Professor Phineas B. Fuddle by Boaz Yakin, Erez Yakin and Angus McKie
  29. The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders
  30. Practicing History: Selected Essays by Barbara W. Tuchman
  31. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  32. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  33. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  34. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  35. Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  36. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  38. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  39. First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
  40. Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin
  41. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
  42. 1776 by David McCullough
  43. Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton
  44. Severance by Robert Olen Butler
  45. Acadia Revealed by Jay Kaiser
  46. Foul Ball by Jim Bouton
  47. The Global Soul by Pico Iyer
  48. The Time it Takes to Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean
  49. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
  50. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  51. King of the Vagabonds by Neal Stephenson
  52. Jamestown by Matthew Sharpe
  53. Jamaica Plain by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco
  54. Jamaica Plain: Then & Now by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco
  55. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  56. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  57. Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
  58. Hypnobirthing by Marie F. Mongan
  59. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
  60. Outside Lies Magic by John R. Stilgoe
  61. Clara’s Grand Tour by Glynis Ridley
  62. Odalisque by Neal Stephenson
  63. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
  64. Local Attachments by Alexander Von Hoffman
  65. Emergence by Steven Johnson
  66. Lincoln’s Dreams by Connie Willis
  67. Sync by Steven Strogatz
  68. Ernie’s War by Ernie Pyle edited with a biographical essay by David Nichols
  69. Language Visible by David Sacks
  70. Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman
  71. Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon by Jim Paul

And now I can get cracking on the 2008 reading season. With suggestions from my readers (thanks Craig and Susan) I’ve put together a Books to Read page complete with books for Abraham Lincoln Day, Lent, the Around the World for a Good Book Series, and book groups I belong to. It looks like a lot of great books await me!

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