The Notable List of the Year… and My Notable List for Future Shopping

The New York Times Book Review has published its famous list of 100 Notable books… I have heard of many, but read none of them. Not because I wasn’t interested, but I just don’t buy overseas hardbacks, they’re much too expensive and their weight doesn’t make the shipping worthwhile  (one random question that bugs me: how come books are more expensive in North America than in Europe? Among those I selected, none are below $23! Although with the Dollar falling vs. Euro, I should certainly have a second look, calculator in hand…)  

I trimmed it down to the ones I felt particularly interested in and I hope those will be soon printed in paperbacks (or bought by my library, or available to mooch), so that I will be able to get my own opinion: 

Fiction & Poetry  

  • AFTER DARK. By Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. (Knopf, $22.95.) A tale of two sisters, one awake all night, one asleep for months.  
  • A FREE LIFE. By Ha Jin. (Pantheon, $26.) The Chinese-born author spins a tale of bravery and nobility in an American system built on risk and mutual exploitation.  
  • MOTHERS AND SONS: Stories. By Colm Toibin. (Scribner, $24.) In this collection by the author of “The Master,” families are not so much reassuring and warm as they are settings for secrets, suspicion and missed connections.  
  • THEN WE CAME TO THE END. By Joshua Ferris. (Little, Brown, $23.99.) Layoff notices fly in Ferris’s acidly funny first novel, set in a white-collar office in the wake of the dot-com debacle.  
  • THE VIEW FROM CASTLE ROCK: Stories. By Alice Munro. (Knopf, $25.95.) This collection offers unusually explicit reflections of Munro’s life.  


  • EDITH WHARTON. By Hermione Lee. (Knopf, $35.) This meticulous biography shows Wharton’s significance as a designer, decorator, gardener and traveler, as well as a writer.  
  • THE FATHER OF ALL THINGS: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam. By Tom Bissell. (Pantheon, $25.) Bissell mixes rigorous narrative accounts of the war and emotionally powerful scenes of the distress it brought his own family.  
  • LEONARD WOOLF: A Biography. By Victoria Glendinning. (Free Press, $30.) Glendinning shows Virginia Woolf’s accomplished husband as passionate, reserved and, above all, stoical.  
  • THOMAS HARDY. By Claire Tomalin. (Penguin Press, $35.) Tomalin presents Hardy as a fascinating case study in mid-Victorian literary sociology.

Did anyone have a chance to read some of them already?


5 thoughts on “The Notable List of the Year… and My Notable List for Future Shopping

  1. I’ve just read and posted about The View from Castle Rock. It’s a delightful book, which styles itself as memoir, or creative non-fiction, so I find it odd that it’s in the list under fiction. Anyway, it’s wonderful and I’m planning to dive into Munro’s short stories immediately.

  2. I somehow managed not to read any of the books on the list even thought I bought several of them. I have the Leonard Woolf bio and have been meaning to get to it for months. It was a good year for biographies though, wasn’t it? I’d like to the the Wharton and the Hardy.

  3. I enjoyed the Ferris book. I always love Munro, so I am sure that’s a winner — someday, hope a copy floats my way. And I have the Hermione Lee book, but haven’t cracked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s