Best Books of 2006







Once again, the editors of January Magazine are pleased to bring you our favorite books of the year we're just about to move out of. We've left things quite late again this time. We keep noticing that Best of compilations are getting earlier and earlier each year. After a while, this ceases to make sense. For once thing, if you publish your best of first, it's not possible to have read all the books that you feel should be in contention. So January's Best of list isn't the earliest. At all. In fact, coming as it does very nearly on the final day of the year, it should be the latest. The last word. I like that.

OK, so despite having the final word on the books of 2006, we've stayed in touch with what this list means. These are the books that those of us at January Magazine liked best of the books we read and enjoyed. We didn't read everything, of course. No one can. But of the thousands we did get to, these are the ones that touched us most deeply and stayed with us as we continued on our reading journey throughout the year.

A word about our methodology: it's not fancy. No computers were used in the compilation of our list. (Other than, you know, as fancy typewriters.) What you have here are the books our editors and contributors liked the best of those they read. Come late November, all of our writers were reminded to put their thinking caps on and come up with brief reviews of the books they had most enjoyed during the year that had also been first published in English in 2006.

Some of us -- myself included -- begin making notes for this best of the year feature near the beginning of the year. Sometimes, once December is reached, I have notes on too many books and have to trim things down. But I know -- as likely you do, as well -- when I've turned the final page on one of my best of the year candidates. That feeling of satisfaction, combined with a desire to keep on reading beyond the last page. We all look for that special book. Finding it brings a thrill that non-readers just can't fully understand. Part of the thrill, I think, is sharing the discovery. And here we are.

Collectively, January Magazine's editors and contributors read thousands of books in 2006 and reported on quite a few of them. Because we're an eclectic lot and we review from almost all branches of the book industry, our choices run the gamut. The January Best of the Year list is not a popularity contest. Our choices reflect what our writers and editors liked best of the books they read and enjoyed throughout the year. They don't need to qualify their choices. There is no board or panel. No quotas from certain publishers, no authors that had to be included. And though some of the books mentioned here were reviewed for January Magazine in 2006, that's not part of the criterion. These are, quite simply, the books that our well read eyes and hearts liked best, listed here in alphabetical order within the loose category in which they fall. | December 2006

Click below for the Best of list you'd like to see:

Best of Art & Culture | Best of Children's Books
Best of Crime Fiction | Best of Fiction |
Best of Non-Fiction