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Friday, December 13, 2013

New York Times Best Books of 2013

Every year the New York Times gives us a list of "100 Notable Books of 2XXX. This years list came out last week. I have been checking our catalog to see how many of them we have - and we have almost all of them. These book tend to be more literary than genre but there are some interesting choices here. They have also cut it down to the top 10 books of the year - 5 of which are fiction. Today I will cover those and next week, I will give you what I think are the highlights from the 50 fiction books they chose for the Notable List. The first two in this week's post are surprises for me. You can dip you foot in anywhere you choose and see what you think.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is Adichie's ( a Nigerian born author who splits her time between Nigeria and the US) third novel. Here she takes on American race relations from the perspective of a young Nigerian immigrant.

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. This title is a coming of age story of Reno, an art student who comes to New York and ends up in Italy involved with the revolutionaries of the 1970.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. No surprise here. Tartt fans had been waiting for this one for years. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker,  survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.  The heroine who keeps dying, then being resurrected and sent off in different but entirely plausible directions.

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders. Stories written with power and empathy about class and justice.

After The Music Stopped : The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder. A book which describes the financial meltdown of 2008.

Days of Fire : Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Barker. Baker was the chief White House correspondent for The Times during the several crises of the Bush administration and he looks at who really lead.

Five Days at Memorial : Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink. Fink describes the days after Hurricane Katrina. Many thoughtful questions arise with this one.

The Sleepwalkers : How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark. A highly readable survey of the events leading up to World War I.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.  A powerful memoir of a woman who lost her husband, her parents and two young sons to the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. 

OK - those are the top 10 from fiction and nonfiction. Next, I will cover some of the ones that didn't make the top 10 but are pretty good options if you want to read a good story.

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