And, as before, I don't divide books into categories. I pit mysteries against graphic novels against non-fiction against SF. Good is good, and I'm not going to do an artificial "this is the best of this sub-set of the books I read" list. The best are the best, and they never all fall into any one pigeonhole. (I also don't hold myself to only new books; any book I've never read before was new to me, so I compare them all to each other.)
January: I read three excellent short story collections -- Alastair Reynolds's Zima Blue and Other Stories and Galactic North and Kage Baker's Dark Mondays -- plus Kim Deitch's Shadowland. But the best thing I read was Yoshihiro Tatsumi's amazing Abandon the Old in Tokyo, manga stories originally published in 1970. (Drawn & Quarterly, isn't it about time for another Tatsumi collection?)
May: Christopher Buckley's Boomsday was an excellent near-future satire, until the ending collapsed. And Kim Deitch's Alias the Cat and Daniel Pinkwater's The Neddiad saw very different creators, working in very different forms, doing the same sort of things they'd done many times before, but still doing it with verve and passion. The book of the month, though, took most of my month: Steven Erikson's The Bonehunters.
July: Max Barry's Company started very strong but lost momentum with its big reveal. Michael Swanwick collected his latest batch of first-rate stories in The Dog Said Bow-Wow. Larry Gonick finally had a new entry in his essential set of histories with The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part I. And the best book of the month was Gene Wolfe's twisty, terse, tricksy Pirate Freedom, proof once again that he's still the master of leading his readers down paths both false and true.
- Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Abandon the Old in Tokyo
- Calvin Trillin, About Alice
- Kage Baker, The Sons of Heaven
- Barry N. Malzberg, Breakfast in the Ruins
- Steven Erikson, The Bonehunters
- Tom Perrotta, The Abstinence Teacher
- Gene Wolfe, Pirate Freedom
- Lat, Kampung Boy and Town Boy
- Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
- David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts
- John Banville, The Sea
- Steve Erickson, Zeroville