Best Books of 2006
I approached the task of picking my favorite book of the year with trepidation. Too many choices in a good literary year. Not wanting to settle on fiction or nonfiction, I chose a novel and a biography. Julie Phillips' meticulously researched and beautifully written James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (St. Martin's) brilliantly explored the enigma of author James Tiptree Jr., who was in reality Alice B. Sheldon. By revealing one of the most fascinating and complex personalities of the 20th century, Phillips quite possibly created a new standard for literary biographies. My other selection, Jeff Vandermeer's wildly inventive Shriek: An Afterword (Tor), is actually an afterword to the nonexistent history of a fictional city. With literary stylings, a complex plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, Vandermeer further established himself as the finest fantasist of his generation.