Once again litblog the Millions has launched its annual Year in Reading series, in which a raft of writers and critics weigh in on their favorite books of the year, regardless of pub date. There are plenty of admirable participants—Joseph O’Neill, Elizabeth McCracken, Nam Le and many more. I gave special attention to Charles Bock‘s list, though, and not just because I admired his novel, Beautiful Children, or because any guy who gives a thumbs-up to Slash‘s autobiography is aces in my book. Bock also plugs a few worthy books that didn’t get nearly as much attention as they deserved (links are to my reviews): Vincent Lam‘s Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures, Leni Zumas‘ Farewell Navigator, and Susan Choi‘s A Person of Interest. Part of the fun of year-end lists is learning about something you hadn’t heard about, but it’s also nice to see your own interests validated by a writer you respect.
One quibble: If Bock wants to recommend State by State, a mediocre attempt at rebooting the WPA guides’ mission, that’s his call, but it couldn’t have hurt for him to note that he has a piece in it. (One of the better ones as it happens, on Nevada.)