More 2005 Book Lists

Nilanjana Roy succumbs to taxonomic temptations in the Business Standard:

If there’s one attribute that distinguishes the human race from other species, it has to be our fascination with lists.

Among the first books to be written were books of classification-medicinal plants, body parts, dreams, stars and constellations-until now, in the 21st century, we have books that list lists, lists of anti-lists, lists of imaginary lists, lists of unwritten lists.

She provides a list of picks of the best and worst in fiction in 2004, as well as a look to the new year in books. Elsewhere, Rosemary Goring explains how she selects her reads from the nearly one hundred thousand published each year in Britain:

Publishers’ catalogues for the first half of next year promise paradise on every page. Rarely, this side of personal ads, are adjectives used with such calculated abandon. Wading through the hype is taxing because, without seeing the book, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between marketing lather and literary merit. So, my most eagerly anticipated books of 2005 are almost exclusively confined to the well-known. They are also wholly coloured by personal prejudice.

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