Although Swann's Way blew the competition away for the Best Read of '06, other favorites do come to mind. How do I determine a favorite? Easy. If I can still remember the title, without looking at my list for prompting, then it managed to retain its hold in my subconscious despite the strain and stress of everyday life -- that's a good read.
Here are my other picks for 2006:
1. Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favorite contemporary authors, simply on the basis of the two books I've read. I loved Remains of the Day, loved this book. The prose and stories of these two novels couldn't be more different, but they both are so excellent, I am simply going to add one of his other novels to my 2007 reading list.
2. Turn of the Screw. I was frustrated by his ambiguous prose, but this one wouldn't let go of my psyche. Oh, Henry, what have you done to me!
3. Big Sur and The Dharma Bums. Kerouac deserves a two-for-one. His exuberance just crashes forth from the pages.
1. Marching into Sunlight. Maraniss takes two unrelated events -- the start of the Vietnam War protests in the States and a turning-point battle in 'Nam -- that happened on the same day, and produces some new insights on this war. (And more reasons why no one should be listening to Dick Cheney.)
2. The February House. I'm a sucker for tales of literary cliques, groups or cabals, and the group in The February House ranks as one of the quirkier bunches. Fun read.
3. Man's Search for Meaning. There's a reason why classics never go out of style.