This is the time of year when seemingly everyone gives some version of their own best books list for the year. Being the New York Times gives this list a certain cachet in literary terms. What author wouldn't be excited to find him/herself included on this list? Compare that to an author having a work chosen as Oprah's Book Club selection, which means money, money, money and popular cachet, but not literary cachet. I would take being on the NYT list any day. . . .
--Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories by Steven Millhauser (Fiction)
--A Mercy by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
--Netherland by Joseph O'Neill (Fiction)
--2666 by Roberto Bolano, originally published in 2004 in Spanish, translated into English by Natasha Wimmer (Fiction)
--Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Fiction)
--The Dark Side: The Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer (Nonfiction)
--The Forever War by Dexter Filkins (Nonfiction)
--Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes (Nonfiction)
--This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (Nonfiction)
--The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul by Patrick French (Nonfiction)
How about this as a personal goal for 2009: Read and give my personal view of the ten books on this list? Sounds reasonable to me. I've already read the Barnes book, which I liked well enough to buy a copy for my niece, so that leaves nine to go.
Here's a link to the full text of the article:
Or you can read their full 100 Notable Books of 2008 list at: