Although the actual number of books in the following lists was derived arbitrarily, the method of their selection was not.
First, a double-blind placebo regimen was established: some books I read had no covers, while others had covers but no content.
Then, chaos theories were followed in order to cull any false randomness. For this test, all books were read while I was in the following physical states: in motion; at rest; at stool; at play; at work (my favorite); and while asleep.
In turn, each book was given the Cereal Box Test, in which each book was judged according to weight, and not by volume.
Finally, I relied upon the highly controversial, yet never disproved Pet Distraction Theory to select the best and worst books I had read this year. I placed a known pet in proximity with an unknown book that I had selected to read, and then I timed the duration and frequency of the pet's attempts to distract me or otherwise prevent me from reading the book. Pet Distraction Theory holds that the distraction value -- the number of distraction attempts multiplied by the duration -- is directly proportional to the quality of the book in question.
Please see the following critical reviews of those books marked below with double asterisks.
The Best Nonfiction Books of 2000
- ** A Language Older Than Words, by Derrick Jensen; Context Books, paperback, 399 pages, $16.00
- ** The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War, by Robert D. Kaplan; Random House, hardcover, 189 pages, $ 21.95
- Toil: Building Yourself, by Jodie Procter; Chelsea Green, hardcover, 224 pages, $ 22.95
- The Secret Parts of Fortune: Three Decades of Intense Investigations and Edgy Enthusiasms, by Ron Rosenbaum; Random House, hardcover, 799 pages, $ 29.95
- The Informant (a True Story), by Kurt Eichenwald; Broadway Brooks, hardcover, 606 pages, $ 26.00
The Best Fiction Books of 2000
- The Diagnosis, by Alan Lightman; Pantheon Books, hardcover, 384 pages, $ 25.00
- Human Stain, by Phillip Roth; Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, 368 pages, $ 26.00
- In the Fall, by Jeffrey Lent; Grove Atlantic, hardcover, 560 pages, $ 25.00
- Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry; Counterpoint, hardcover, 384 pages, $ 25.00
- Anil's Ghost, by Michael Ondaatje; Knopf, hardcover, 320 pages, $ 25.00
The Worst Book of 2000
** Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and In Your Life, by Spencer Johnson, M.D.; G.P. Putnam's Sons, hardcover, 94 pages, $ 19.95
Copyright 2001 by K.N.S. Maré