2666 reasons to find your library card.
December 1, 2008 1:34 PM   Subscribe

With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
posted by zoomorphic (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks : Your loved ones will thank me.
posted by boo_radley at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2008

Also, it follows NaNoWriMo, and someone's gotta read all that new material.

When browsing library shelves, I usually go for the most outlandish title or bizarre artist name. The cover is a second-level selection criteria.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on December 1, 2008

Plus, the U.S. is now officially in a recession. Yay libraries!
posted by swift at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2008

The NYT list included Richard Price's Lush Life, so it's not a total loss.
posted by jonmc at 1:51 PM on December 1, 2008

This post just knocked the legs out from under the entire season's potential one-off ListFilter posts. Good work!
posted by hermitosis at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2008

Are books still being published?
posted by blue_beetle at 2:05 PM on December 1, 2008

How quaint.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:05 PM on December 1, 2008

With the advent of December...

I just thought of Leslie Harpold.
posted by pracowity at 2:05 PM on December 1, 2008

Are books still being published?

Uh, yes. Too many, in fact. I spent many an evening as an intern for a high-profile magazine shelving the hundreds of galleys mailed every day to the book editors. Every once in a while real gems would surface, but they were drowning amid their lesser brethren in a sea of chick lit, crappy thrillers, bad fiction from MFA grads, and plain old duds. Pretty sad, actually.
posted by zoomorphic at 2:28 PM on December 1, 2008

Are books still being published?
Yeah. For some reason people still prefer reading under a bright light rather than reading by staring into a bright light.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Why does it seem like all these childrens books are illustrated for adults? When I was a kid, I preferred realism and was irritated by really stylized artwork.
posted by delmoi at 2:32 PM on December 1, 2008

Ahh .. too early for the best books FPP, still some big ones yet to come out, I've been saving them up. Oh well. Maybe I'll try in January, with a niche bonus to avoid a double.
posted by stbalbach at 3:01 PM on December 1, 2008

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2008

1. bailout (noun)
2. vet
3. socialism
4. maverick
5. bipartisan
6. trepidation
7. precipice
8. rogue
9. misogyny
10. turmoil
posted by gman at 3:02 PM on December 1, 2008

As someone who conducts two separate storytimes for a total of 4 children on a nightly basis, all from library books, I feel I am at least partially qualified to judge children's books, at least from the Joe Backpack perspective. These illustrations are....OK. Most seem a little gimmicky, though children don't always find those objectionable. A is for Art...ugh. Please, a blessed surcease from authors who haven't actually visited their library to see how many others have had this omgoriginal idea. (Or maybe it's just my children's librarian who has a thing for introducing-art-concepts-via-alphabet-books, because we have TONNES of them.) Wave could be good--hard to tell from that single image.

To me, a good children's illustrator is more than about just filling the page, colors, line, etc. The illustration has to have a little content. I mean, a typical child usually doesn't care about good composition or innovative use of contrast. It has to be a picture that, if you described it or gave them a sketch, would still make the child sit up and take notice. Then you take that concept and illustrate it beautifully and you'll blow them away.

David Wiesner, I'm looking at you. I was going to list an "especially" but I realized it was going to be most of the books on that page. Just go get them all. Even if you don't have kids. (Chris Van Allsburg is very similar, but has gotten plenty of love in the past few years.)
posted by DU at 6:40 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Hey, nice Bolaño shout-out in the title! I'm with-holding judgment as to what my favorite book I read this year is until I finish 2666. Though, as far as non-fiction, I don't think anything will dislodge Le Clézio's The Mexican Dream. The Savage Detectives was my favorite last year.

I generally don't like best of lists that have more than 10 items on them, smaller lists are more manageable and stick in the memory more.
posted by Kattullus at 6:51 PM on December 1, 2008

The best covers poll is... odd. The boringest covers seem to be winning by a wide margin.
posted by Artw at 10:52 PM on December 1, 2008

Soon I Will Be Invicible is doing alright I suppose... I quite like that one, it's a great concept, though the comic art is a bit too cheesy 90s for my tastes.
posted by Artw at 10:55 PM on December 1, 2008

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