Wednesday, March 15, 2006

25 books to remember?

A correspondent named Teddy has led me to the New York Public Library's list of 25 books to remember from 2005.

At first sight it all looks very pc and worthy, but on closer examination there is some stuff which even a vulgar fellow like me might find interesting.

There's a book about Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, for instance. I don't think I want to know any more about that era, and the two men's fights, than I know already, but it is all going to be news to someone.

Then there's a mention of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, Never Let Me Go, which apparently has an English boarding-school setting, and which deals with 'alternative reality'. Ishiguro is normally thought of as a literary writer -- he has, after all, won both the Whitbread and Booker prizes -- but someone has had the temerity to shortlist him for the Arthur C. Clarke award! Science fiction, in case you're wondering. Hmm. Mixed feelings on the part of author and publisher there, I suspect.

And there might be others. Worth a look.


Anonymous said...

Typical literary snob.
Ishiguro's book's themes make it sci-fi whether you like it or not.
They are not particulary original but then again neither were Atwood's when she won this award for A Handmaid's Tale a few years ago.

Kim Laird said...

Dear Mr. GOB,

Two of the books on NYPL's list are also on the 2006 Michigan Notable Books list. Just thought you might be interested in knowing about the two that match between us & NYPL! One is Beyond Glory, which you mentioned in your blog, and the other one is Please Don't Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakapoulos. Both are excellent. Just in case you're interested in what we're doing, our lists & information are at and I also wanted to thank you for your blogs & for your insight. Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Mixed feelings no doubt, but in theory there's no good reason why Ishiguro shouldn't win an award for science fiction. He's written a book which deals with some scientific issues. OK, so there aren't any time-travellers in it, or green-faced aliens, but (need I repeat it) it doesn't change the simple fact that he's written a book which deals with some scientific issues. Of course, that makes a lot of books science fiction in theory, but what the hell, let's break down those needless boundaries shall we?