Dec. 1st, 2005 11:52 am
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It is that time of year when the dead tree media roll out their "best of the year" lists (e.g. positively the most useful gold-plated toilet brush with leather case by Dunhill etc) in an effort to give people christmas pressie ideas. Sunday's Observer had a list of best books from a wide range of popular figures: meaning authors, academics, tv presenters and other media types.

Most of these lists make me wonder how many of the recommendations are based on what the participants think they ought to be recommending as 'best' rather than what they actually enjoyed the most. I am aware that this is not always the same thing, and it would both be boring and unprintable if you had 30 instances of "Damn you Dan Brown you hooked me..."

Nevertheless the list seemed to me to be self-consciously highbrow, but then this is probably my kneejerk anti-lit. fic. reaction being a willing, though not uncritical, resident of the the sci fi and fantasy ghetto. (inverted snobbery?)

this entry caught my eye:

"Lauren Laverne
XFM Breakfast Show DJ
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier And Clay (HarperCollins, £7.99) by Michael Chabon is an incredibly complex and profound yet elegantly crafted story that makes you cry and laugh within a paragraph. Michael Chabon is one of the most brilliantly artful writers ever. Whether you want it to or not his prose will charm your socks off. Read this book and you'll wear it afterwards like invisible yet stylish jewellery. A delight."

I've read the Chabon book and have to agree with Lauren. I haven't heard her present the Breakfast Show. I like XFM but only listen to it for two weeks every six months, more than enough time to memorise the far too short playlist and the crappily repetitive adverts, any more exposure than that and i go slightly loopy and start quoting the 'small print' of the ads eg (offer only available in store, current performance no guide to future earnings etc etc)

I just love the imagery of that penultimate sentence. I really feel that every book I read leaves it's mark on me on the way through, as it were. The good ones are to be cherished and 'invisible and stylish jewellery' just about sums it up for me.


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