I can’t resist the call to conjure up a—well, let’s call it a "discursive assembly of at least some of the best books of 2006." Why can’t I resist? Here are three reasons: (1) it’s fun; (2) it gives me a chance to revisit some of my favorite books of the year just ended; and (3) it affords an opportunity to give some attention to worthy titles that may be overlooked elsewhere.
- Clay by David Almond
- The Astonishing Life Of Octavian Nothing
- This Is All by Aidan Chambers
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For each of these books is simply too good to remain unread. Each, in its individual way, is unforgettable, both life-changing and lifesaving in its power. Forget Superman and Captain Marvel and all the rest. These books are the real superheroes as far as I’m concerned. And you don’t even have to say "Shazam!" to be transformed by them. All you have to do is open them and start reading. And discover the singular quality of the humane that shines from each of their pages. And maybe it’s that quality that has me so fired up about all of them. Frankly, I have seldom read books that have such a capacity for telling the tantalizing truth about the human ability to be at once horrible and sublime. I can’t offer higher praise than that.