Well, the end of the year has once again taken me by surprise. The sudden short work week! The encroachment of holiday plans! The final gift-buying bender! The PW Tip Sheet editorial!
Happily, my colleagues started a ball rolling on Monday with a PWxyz post about their favorite reads of the year. I should say that while I don’t have a hard time picking favorites, I do have a hard time picking one favorite, slighting as it does a dozen other books I love just as much (see a short list here). But because I have a soft spot for the under-recognized, and an even bigger soft spot for cute librarians, I’m going to choose The Borrower, a debut novel about a children’s librarian by Rebecca Makkai, herself a children’s librarian. In The Borrower, Hannibal, Missouri children’s librarian Lucy Hull kidnaps (sort of) the precocious kid from her story-time group, in an attempt to save him from his overbearing, fundamentalist mother—the kind who won’t let her kid read Harry Potter because of, you know, the devil. Confident as it is, The Borrower sits firmly in the tradition of debut coming-of-age novels, and isn’t necessarily going to burn your barn doors down. But the funny, edgy dynamic Mekkai develops between the at-loose-ends 20-something and her sensitive, imaginative victim is enough to makes readers wish their story didn’t have to end. In fact, it made me so unhappy to approach the final pages, I considered skipping the end altogether so that there’d always be a little more to read. And if that isn’t enough to warrant a favorite-of-the-year pick, I don’t really know what is.
You'll notice that, because of PW's publishing schedule, this week's Tip Sheet will be covering the next two weeks. That means you won't hear from me again until 2012! So here’s to the new year and the books that await us in it: may they all be too good to finish.