06 December 2004

Most Neglected Book of the Year

All sorts of best of the year lists have been appearing recently, and Jonathan Strahan has been thinking about a few of them. He poses a good question:
Given that I've just embarked on helping to compile Locus's annual recommended reading issue, I'm curious what blog readers think of such things. Are they worthwhile? Are they anything more than fun?
Personally, I like seeing all the lists, but purely out of interest in what people hold onto after a year of reading. If they are worthwhile for me, they're worthwhile in pointing out books I might have neglected otherwise.

Therefore, why don't we encourage more "most unjustly neglected books of the year" lists? I've read more stories than books this year, so my own opinion is nearly useless, though if forced to choose, I'd say the book I read this year that deserves more attention than it has gotten so far is probably The Labyrinth by Cathrynne M. Valente, although it has gotten some good word-of-mouth. I realize it's a book that will appeal to a small audience, one willing to be entranced by language, but I have found since reading it that much of the book has stuck with me more vividly than many, many other things I read this year. The runner-up for most unjustly neglected book would be Travel in the Mouth of the Wolf by Paul Fattaruso, but I actually saw that one at a bookstore the other day, which is not true for the Valente, so The Labyrinth wins.

Many of you, my dear readers, have read far more books than I this year, so what would you suggest? The comments link has been a little buggy recently, so feel free to email me with recommendations and I will post a list a week from now. If there is one book-length work of fiction from this year that you could immediately double the sales of, what would it be? (Other than your own book, if you published one!)