Sunday, November 1, 2009

Top 60 Novels of 2000-2009 Countdown: No. 60

As promised, I begin today, All Saints' Day, with a two-month daily posting of the best books I read from 2000 to 20009 that were published during the decade. Thus the list excludes Morte d'Urban, The Rector of Justin, Lord of the Rings, Pale Fire and many other books I read this decade from previous eras. Also, several postings will feature either an entire series or books I wanted to pair because they're by the same author and are related, at least in my head. For example, No. 60 features two books by the same author: Jenny McPhee.

No. 60: "The Center of Things" and "No Ordinary Matter" by Jenny McPhee
In general, if I were choosing between cleverness and emotion, I'll choose cleverness, with a strong whiff of metaficiton, over a novel that plays on emotions. McPhee's two novels take key concepts about physics and neuropsychology and spins clever tales around them. Plus, they offer vivid portrayals of life in New York City. The plots themselves are interesting, but what's more interesting is the way they play off the conceits of science. Plus, they're both pretty short.

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