New York Times 10 Best Books of 2008

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:


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