Best Books of the Year?

The Omnivoracious blog on Amazon compared their year end top 100 books list, with the New York Times 100 Notable Books and Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2009 to get a composite of the best books of 2009. There were 11 books that were on all 3 lists this year, plus 2 that were not on the Notable 100, but were on other NY Times lists. For what it’s worth, there were 13 last year and 11 in 2007. No women authors made the cut, only 2 novels, and 2 graphic novels.

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Born Round by Frank Bruni
Cheever by Blake Bailey
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Fordlandia by Greg Grandin
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford
Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan (not in NYT’s 100 Notable, but in their best cookbooks list)
The Jazz Loft Project by Sam Stephenson (not in NYT’s 100 Notable, but in their Gift Books list)

Best Books of the Year?

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

Hearing how Chuck Klosterman’s voice sounds on Bill Simmons’ podcasts makes it a little more awesome to read this book. I thought the premise tying this book together was unnecessary, as Spin could have just sent Klosterman on a road trip. It’s worth reading even if I don’t know whether to pronounce Klosterman as Close-terman or Claws-terman.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Book About Meat

I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s piece about eating meat in the NYTimes Magazine’s Food Issue and didn’t quite get it. The title was clear, “Why Jonathan Safran Foer Chose to Give Up Meat”, but that didn’t seem to be what the column was about. Admittedly, I skimmed the whole thing, but my sense was that Foer had given up meat several times (every other paragraph, it seemed) and that he had settled on eating it once in a while, but not serving it to his kids. Frankly, the column seemed jumbled and stupid [POT! KETTLE!], an attempt to get a famous writer to talk about their personal psychic struggle with eating meat. So I giggled a little at Bookslut’s take on Foer’s latest book, Eating Animals:

I am trying so hard to be nice to Jonathan Safran Foer, by which I mean I am trying to forget he exists on this planet. His book Eating Animals, however, is making this goal very, very difficult. It was bad enough when he was writing shitty novels, but now he’s indulging in my least favorite form of nonfiction: the “I have never thought about this thing before until now, and despite the fact that other people have thought about this for years and wrestle daily with the implications, I think my brand new thoughts should be shared with the world.” Whatever the topic — religion, marriage, gender, food politics — the books are always shallow, yet for some reason a lot of people take them seriously.

Via my blogbuddy, who got it from Prettier Than Napoleon who said accurately:

The proper place for deep thoughts on issues that you just started examining but which have already been exhaustively discussed by more informed people is a blog. GYOFB, Jonathan Safran Foer.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Book About Meat