Top five novels about flyfishing:
Rainbow Trout, Run--An intensely wrought account of a fisherman who finds the old methods of flyfishing too confining and flails out at those who would prevent him from devising new strategies. The character of "Racoon" Van Dyke is one of the freshest and most complex characters I've come across in years.
Hello, Duluth--A young flyfisherman tries to make his mark among the grizzled veterans of the far north. He falls for the daughter of one of the old coots, and tragedy ensues. This one made me cry.
Endless Japes--A flyfisherman experiences withdrawal when his wife forbids him to go fishing with the guys. It would seem it is possible to become addicted to angling after all! The wife is mollified when her husband convinces her that a "rod" can be more than a fishing pole.
Ferlin Fish-Boy--A kaleidoscopically experimental novel in which a flyfisherman dreams he has become a trout and must train himself to become one of the school. It becomes deliciously meta- in those scenes in which the fish-boy must learn to evade flyfishermen.
Stinginess: A Reduction--A world-renowned flyfisherman begins to lose his skills but ultimately finds recompense in a love affair with a bass. A little treacly, but it gets you in the end.
Top five novels featuring characters named "Lil":
Against the Wall M*****F******--The latest from acclaimed mystery writer J.D. Grafreichsermann, in which tough-gal detective Lil Zabrisky tracks down a serial killer targeting--I kid you not--flyfishermen. Somewhat contrived in places, this novel nevertheless once again made me hot for Lil!
Oops!--Cletus Bolch's novel, in which protagonist Lil has a sex-change operation and becomes Lyle. I will now forevermore cringe when I hear the word "scrotum."
None Dare Call Me Lil--A young man's struggle to cope with his unfortunate nickname. I deeply sympathized with this character, as in my younger days I was known to many as "Blanche."
Lil' Pictures--No actual character named Lil, but kudos to the author for the contraction.
Lil of the Arroyo--A sturdy Western in which gunslinger Fritz O'Shea fights for the honor of barmaid Lil. At the novel's conclusion, Fritz gives up his sharpshooting ways and becomes a flyfisheman.
Best novel of the year featuring lists of the best novels of the year:
Enumerations--Chronicles a day in the life of literary critic Sandy Prospect, who pauses at fixed periods to make a new list. By the end of the day Sandy realizes he has discovered an algorithm that allows him to name not just every novel published that year but every novel ever committed to print. This one really hits me where I live.