Wednesday, December 29, 2004

UPDATE: Best of the Best Books
David Robson has had a look at the "best books" lists published in the UK.
Hollinghurst and Roth polled 16 votes apiece, two more than Colm Tóibín's The Master (14). Novels, generally, outpolled non-fiction, where the only two books to reach double figures were A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz (13) and Chronicles Volume One by Bob Dylan (11).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Best of the Best
Last year I made a rough, unscientific list of the best of the best books of the year. I had another look at the lists this year and my unscientific methodology produced this list of non-fiction books of 2004 that made it to several best-of lists. In descending order of popularity they are:

Chronicles: Volume One, Bob Dylan

Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt

What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, Thomas Frank

Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow

Arc of Justice: A Story of Race Riots, Civil Rights, and Murder in Jazz Age America, Kevin Boyle

The Working Poor: Invisible in America, David K. Shipler

Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, Michael W. Kauffman

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, Steve Coll

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Kevin Phillips

De Kooning: An American Master, Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan

The Fall of Baghdad, Jon Lee Anderson

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta

America (the Book), Jon Stewart

Galleycat has already compiled a list of the best of the best fiction, which is topped by these books:

The Plot Against America: A Novel, Philip Roth 23

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke 20

The Master, Colm Toibin 17

The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst 16

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell 14

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson 12

Snow, Orhan Pamuk 12

Runaway: Stories, Alice Munro 11

Aloft, Chang-rae Lee 10

Thursday, December 09, 2004

More Politics
"To put it bluntly, I didn't see any honest case for giving Bush a second term, and was angered by the dishonest case--he's done a brilliant job of fighting terrorists, he's a tower of wisdom and resolve, he's going to control big government, he's going to protect traditional values, he's got a second-term agenda to create an "ownership society"--advanced by his campaign.

"Moreover, I came to believe strongly that the real agenda of the people closest to Bush--including his political advisors and much of the Republican congressional leadership--was not only dishonest, but deeply cynical and irresponsible: a drive to simultaneously wreck the federal government and to perpetuate their control over the wreckage as long as possible through the exercise of the rawest sort of institutional power and corruption. And moreover, this belief made me angry at even those Republicans who did not share that agenda, because they were helping to promote it against their own best instincts."

You can read the rest at NewDonkey via Atrios.