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On choosing the best book of 2004

Over on the Dooney’s Cafe site, Stan Persky has chosen Orhan Pamuk’s Snow as his favourite book of 2004. But before explaining why, he has some choice words on the whole best-books phenomenon — as typified, he argues, in The Globe and Mail‘s end-of-year poll. “Several readers had nothing more to say about 2004 than that they were still catching up with George Eliot, Willa Cather, and William Faulkner,” Persky writes. “I hate it when people are asked to name their best 2004 books and they come up with something they happened to read in 2004 from fifty or a hundred years ago — it’s just not playing the game by the rules, as far as I’m concerned.”

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Read Stan Persky’s essay on the Dooney’s Cafe site