02 December 2006

NY Times' best of 2006

Yet again, the NY Times Book Review's annual best-of list is a predictable yawner. All of the "best" fiction books are from NY houses (I list them, respectively: Random House, Scribner, Knopf, Knopf, Viking), and the only marginally innovative book on the list is Amy Hempel's Collected Stories.

Of course, this comes as no surprise, but it does tease a larger conversation: what *were* the best books for 2006? Here's my short list; most of the names should be familiar:

Steve Tomasula, The Book of Portraiture
Lance Olsen, Nietzsche's Kisses
Gina Frangello, My Sister's Continent
Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie, Lost Girls



Ted Pelton said...

When last year the Times ran an article complaining that several nominees for the National Book Award were from small presses, i.e., books no one would ever read/elitist/etc., it was clear to me that the Times Book Review was no longer interested in literature so much as in propping up the dying NY book industry. I told several people that I was going to draft a group letter for several signatures of small press publishers protesting the Times, calling them out on this. Alas, other tasks interceded & I never did.

Would anyone be interested in combining on such a thing this year? If we aim for the end of the year, there should be enough time for us to get something together (and likely witness another outrage of this sort before the year is out, to remain topical). Because it is ludicrous. The Times truly pretends that books not published by the NY houses don't exist; this week's issue (again) reviews only big publisher books. And when they occasionally do cover the small presses, it's only the media darling small presses -- Akashic, Softskull -- with ties to entertainment. The Times has given up on new literature.

What points should such a letter make? Who's in?

Davis Schneiderman said...

Great idea Ted...which will of course be taken as mere disgruntled carping from the marginalized.

But, count me in anyway if I can help, although I ain't a publisher.


Lance Olsen said...

Ditto for me, Ted.

And Trevor: thanks for bringing the dreary, dreary NYTBR list to my attention. It's simply extraordinary, isn't it, how parochial and pedestrian that sucker is. I mean, it's one thing to talk about the marginalization of interesting difficult fiction. It's another to see that marginalization in action.

blonde said...

i'm not only "in," ted, i call and raise.