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Our five-day book extravaganza kicks off with Erica Jong, Malcolm Gladwell, Curtis Sittenfeld and some of our other favorite authors weighing in on the best reads of 2006.

By Laura Miller and Hillary Frey

For most of Salon’s existence, we’ve come to you in December bearing a list of our favorite fiction and nonfiction books of the year. We’ll do that this year, too, but this time around things are going to be a little different. Instead of one big day devoted to celebrating our favorite titles, there will be five. That’s right, a whole week of books, starting today.

Why? Well, it’s clear that you love to read about books. Some of the most popular Salon stories of 2006 have been reviews of new books (see Andrew O’Hehir’s examination of Nora Vincent’s gender-bending memoir “Self-Made Man” and Laura Miller’s take on Laura Kipnis’ provocative tract “The Female Thing”) or interviews with authors (see Steve Paulson’s conversations with Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong). Douglas Wolk’s monthly column on graphic novels always draws a crowd (especially his piece on Alan Moore’s racy “Lost Girls”), and the Literary Guide to the World has brought book lovers from all over the globe to Salon.

To kick things off, we’ve asked a selection of Salon’s favorite writers to tell us about their favorite books of the year. Contributors include Booker-prize winner John Banville, best-selling New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell, “In Her Shoes” author Jennifer Weiner and feminist icon Erica Jong. Tuesday, we’ll reveal our favorite fiction and nonfiction debuts of the year. Wednesday will bring a list of our top five fiction books; Thursday our five favorite nonfiction titles. Along the way, we’ll also offer interviews with the authors of our chosen winners as well as excerpts to help you better select your end-of-the-year reading. And on Friday, we’ll publish your picks for 2006; just e-mail us, by Wednesday, a few sentences about the best book you read this year at

So, welcome to the Salon Book Awards. And happy reading!


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