The Three Best Books Of 2006

by Ned Vizzini
More bests from 2006. Today’s list is from Ned Vizzini.

***

1. The Condemned,
by Noah Cicero: Vicious indie thrash (yeah, even though it’s not an
album) from a firebrand talent in Youngstown, OH. Insane short stories
of sex with coked-up strippers. Noah is a fantastic live performer as
well, and is the author of a few other books on independent presses just
starting to get the attention he deserves. Support his work because I
think he’s still delivering pizzas to make the bills! Read my review of The Condemned at Bookslut: http://www.bookslut.com/fiction/2006_11_010308.php.

2. What Is The What, by Dave Eggers: Eggers continues on the path that You Shall Know Our Velocity
(2002) established with his least-gimmicky, most moving novel yet. Here
is a list of the parts of the book that made me weep or have a powerful
stomach reaction: 1. the hunger-ravaged Sudanese refugee boys swarming
over an elephant carcass, plunging into it, and eating the meat raw. 2.
the hero’s love of his girlfriend’s glasses; without them, she is too
beautiful; only when she has them on can he believe that she’s really
his. 3. two teenage Sudanese teens, let loose in a shopping mall for the
first time, picking a supermarket’s bicycle aisle as the spot for a
40-minute kiss. 4. an abandoned baby puckering at its mother’s dead
breast. 5. boys running after planes looking for food and getting bombs
instead.

3. Tyrell, by Coe Booth: A
born-and-bred-in-the-Bronx badass writes a young adult debut that pulls
off many tricks. First, it’s written from the perspective of the
15-year-old titular character, and anyone who’s tried to write from the
POV of the opposite sex can attest to what a skill this is. Second, it
does a better job with contemporary ghetto slang than anything I’ve read
in ages. And finally, it’s tightly plotted, moving, and dappled with
beautiful phrasing, much of it based around weed, hos, and prison. I
reviewed this one, too: http://nedvizzini.com/other_writing_sump/tyrell_review.htm.

That’s
it! I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this year, and I caught
up on some older things I wanted to read. But three is always a
powerful number. Until next year.

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