Best book I read last year

I read quite a few books in 2008. Not as many as some years (way back when in junior high when I read so voraciously) and not as few as others (when I was in grad school — only counting books for pleasure, here, not for classes).

Far and away, the best thing I read this year was Little, Big by John Crowley. It’s not new; it was written in 1981 and won a World Fantasy Award in 1982. I don’t recall now how I stumbled across it, but I’m glad I did.

It’s a remarkable story, and really kind of indescribable. It feels something like an E.M. Forster novel with some inexplicable, mysterious magic about it. I could say it’s about fairies, but that doesn’t do it justice, and it’s not really about fairies at all. It’s about people, who are at once ordinary and utterly wondrous. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s happy, it’s hopeful, it’s sad. I laughed and cried. Reading it feels like listening to a vast symphony of notes that conjures up your emotions and leaves you deliciously spent. I highly recommend it.

“The farther in you go, the bigger it gets.”

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