Most Intriguing...

I’ve always enjoyed the New York Times’ use of the word “Notable.” The phrase “Notable Book,” of course, does not indicate whether the book is notably good, or notably bad. Even better is the word “Intriguing,” as deployed in People’s “Most Intriguing People” List. Not having read more than a dozen books that came out this year, I can’t compile a “favorite books” or “best books” list. But I can give you a “Most Intriguing Books” list, thereby indemnifying myself against any charges of false advertising. Most of these I simply saw reviewed somewhere or other. Still, I found them “Intriguing.” For the record, my personal Best Book of the Year I Read (part of) is the Updike. He’s not the kind of writer who wins Nobels—too sectarian, too disinterested in history. Still, the book, with its jacketful of ego shots and handsome binding, seems like an arm-waving: “Here I am! Look at me! Doesn’t anyone recognize the magnificence of my achievement?!” That I do is perhaps, sailor, the point of what I have written.

John Updike: Early Stories
Sarah Vowell: Partly Cloudy Patriot
Edward P. Jones: The Known World
Suzann-Lori Parks: Getting Mother’s Body
Joan Didion: Where I Was From
Don DeLillo: Cosmopolis
Robert Lowell: Collected Poems
Graham Swift: Light of Day
Colson Whitehead: The Colossus of New York
Dierdre Blair: Jung
Jhumpa Lahiri: The Namesake
Jonathan Lethem: Fortress of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Living to Tell the Tale
Peter Carey: My Life as a Fake
J.M. Coetzee: Elizabeth Costello
Nicholson Baker: A Box of Matches
Z.Z. Packer: Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Roddy Doyle: Rory & Ita
Michel Houllebecq: Platform
A.S. Byatt: A Whistling Woman
Aleksandar Hemon: Nowhere Man
Ben Marcus: The Father Costume
William T. Vollmann: Rising Up and Rising Down
Sheila Heti: The Middle Stories
David Foster Wallace: Everything and Nothing
Matthew McIntosh: Well
J. Robert Lennon: The Mailman
Susan Sontag: On Regarding the Pain of Others
Stephen Millhauser: The King in the Tree
Eric Schlosser: Reefer Madness
Eduardo Vega Yunque: No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook…
Mario Vargas Llosa: Paradise
Tobias Wolff: Old School
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Shirley Hazzard: The Great Fire
Paul Auster: Oracle Night
Chris Ware: Quimby Mouse
Nicholas Moseley: Inventing God
Toni Morrison: Love
Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake
Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
William Boyd: Any Human Heart
Monica Ali: Brick Lane
Dave Eggers: Sacrament
Geoffrey Pike: To Ruhleben and Back
Jonathan Raban: Waxwings
Richard Price: Samaritan
Geoffrey Wolff: The Art of Burning Bridges-A Life of John O’Hara
James Wood: The Book Against God
Dale Peck: What We Lost
Jim Crace: Genesis
Donnell Alexander: Ghetto Celebrity
Sherman Alexie: Ten Little Indians
Marcel Proust: Swann’s Way (trans. Lydia Davis)
Stuart Dybek: I Sailed With Magellan
Heidi Julavits: The Effect of Living Backwards
Ann Cummins: The Red Ant House
Vendela Vida: And Now You Can Go
Sandra Newman: The Only Good Thing
Robert Stone: Bay of Souls
Richard Powers: The Time of Our Singing
T.C. Boyle: Drop City
John Banville: Shroud
Charles Baxter: Saul and Patsy
Elaine Pagels: Beyond Belief-The Secret Gospel of Thomas
Eric Hobsbawm: Interesting Times-A Twentieth Century Life
Anthony Swafford: Jarhead
Simon Winchester: The Meaning of Everything-The Story of the OED
Michael Lewis: Moneyball-The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
The 15th Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style
James McManus: Positively Fifth Street-Murders, Cheetahs, and…
T.J. Binion: Pushkin-A Biography
Benita Eisler: Chopin’s Funeral
Norman Rush: Mortals
Against Love: A Polemic-Laura Kipnis
Gunter Grass: Crabwalk
Jay Cantor: Great Neck
Nadine Gordimer-Loot
Louise Erdrich-The Master Butcher’s Singing Club
Howard Nemerov: Selected Poems
Barry Unsworth- Songs of the Kings
Pete Dexter-Train
Simic-The Voice at 3:00 a.m.
Kevin Young-Jelly Roll Blues
Richard Bausch The Stories of Richard Bausch
Benjamin Clavell: Rumble, Young Man, Rumble
Zoe Heller: What Was She Thinking?
Austin Clark: The Polished Hoe
Curtis White: The Middle Mind

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