In less than a week we'll be saying bye to 2006, and the "Best of" lists are already making the rounds. I don't pay much attention to the book biz lists, as those who prepare them won't offer anything beyond the usual ballot box and shirt stuffers. Often "best" serves as a synonym for "most-hyped," too; not very helpful.
I'm more interested in favorite lists. I want to know what novels people really read and enjoy, not what they buy and leave out on their coffee tables to impress their friends. I like learning what readers are putting on their keeper shelves, even those whose reading preferences are completely opposite of my own. Finding new and interesting books to expand my horizons as a reader is one of my endless quests. As a writer, it helps me to track trends and see how genre is changing, so I can figure out how what I write fits into that equation.
This week I'm finalizing my 2006 list for an end-of-the-year giveaway (stayed tuned to PBW for more details.) How about you guys? What were some of your favorite novels of 2006, and (if you don't mind sharing) what made them so special?