Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Literary Highlights

HERE ARE SOME of the literary highlights we can look forward to in 2011:

1. Last Man in Tower (Atlantic/Knopf, 2011) / Aravind Adiga
2. The Great Night (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Granta Books, 2011) / Chris Adrian
3. Untold Story (Transworld/Scribner, 2011) / Monica Ali
4. The Good Muslim (Canongate, 2011) / Tahmima Anam
5. Jubilate (Arcadia Books, 2011) / Michael Arditti
6. Cold Light (Sceptre, 2011) / Jenn Ashworth
7. The Land of Painted Caves (Crown, 2011) / Jean M. Auel
8. The Death of Eli Gold (Fourth Estate, 2011) / David Baddiel
9. Chapman’s Odyssey (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Paul Bailey
10. The Girl in the Polka-Dot Dress (Little, Brown, 2011) / Beryl Bainbridge

11. The Picture Book (Portobello Books, 2011) / Jo Baker
12. My American Unhappiness (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Dean Bakopoulos
13. On Canaan’s Side (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Sebastian Barry
14. Darkside (Bantam Press, 2011) / Belinda Bauer
15. The School of Night (Henry Holt, 2011) / Louis Bayard
16. The O’Briens (House of Anansi Press, 2011) / Peter Behrens
17. The Color of Money (Vintage, 2011) / Madison Smartt Bell
18. The Water Children (Blue Door/HarperCollins Publishers, 2011) / Anne Berry
19. Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate, 2011) / Carol Birch
20. A Death in Summer (Henry Holt/Mantle, 2011) / Benjamin Black

21. The Storm at the Door (Random House, 2011) / Stefan Merrill Block
22. The Night Strangers (Crown, 2011) / Chris Bohjalian
23. When the Killing’s Done (Viking Adult, 2011) / T.C. Boyle
24. A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Delacorte Press, 2011) / Alan Bradley
25. The Illumination (Pantheon, 2011) / Kevin Brockmeier
26. Caleb’s Crossing (Fourth Estate/Penguin Adult, 2011) / Geraldine Brooks
27. A Summer of Drowning (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / John Burnside
28. Other People’s Money (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Justin Cartwright
29. Bleakly Hall (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Elaine di Rollo
30. Song of Slaves in the Desert (Sourcebooks, 2011) / Alan Cheuse

31. Georgia Bottoms (Little, Brown, 2011) / Mark Childress
32. After the End of the World (Sceptre, 2011) / Chris Cleave
33. Silent Voices (Macmillan, 2011) / Ann Cleeves
34. Galore (Other Press, 2011) / Michael Crummey
35. Scissors, Paper, Stone (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Elizabeth Day
36. The Artist of Disappearance (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Anita Desai
37. Being Polite to Hitler (Little, Brown, 2011) / Robb Forman Dew
38. The Devil’s Garden (Picador, 2011) / Edward Docx
39. Bullfighting (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Roddy Doyle
40. The Last Werewolf (Canongate, 2011) / Glen Duncan

41. Three Stages of Amazement (Scribner, 2011) / Carol Edgarian
42. The Lake of Dreams (Viking, 2011) / Kim Edwards
43. The Forgotten Waltz (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Anne Enright
44. The Marriage Plot (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Jeffrey Eugenides
45. West of Here (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011) / Jonathan Evison
46. Lucky Break (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Esther Freud
47. The Final Testament of the Holy Bible (John Murray, 2011) / James Frey
48. Destiny and Desire (trans. from the Spanish by Edith Grossman) (Random House, 2011) / Carlos Fuentes
49. River of Smoke (John Murray, 2011) / Amitav Ghosh
50. Blood Count (Bantam Press, 2011) / Robert Goddard

51. Say Her Name (Grove Press, 2011) / Francisco Goldman
52. The Love of My Youth (Pantheon, 2011) / Mary Gordon
53. We Had It So Good (Virago Press, 2011) / Linda Grant
54. The Last Gift (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Abdulrazak Gurnah
55. The London Train (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Tessa Hadley
56. Toxicology (Viking, 2011) / Jessica Hagedorn
57. Faith (Harper, 2011) / Jennifer Haigh
58. The Proof of Love (Portobello Books, 2011) / Catherine Hall
59. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Mohammed Hanif
60. Lasting Damage (Hodder & Stoughton, 2011) / Sophie Hannah

61. Gillespie and I (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Jane Harris
62. Long Time, No See (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Dermot Healy
63. King of the Badgers (Fourth Estate, 2011) / Philip Hensher
64. A Kind Man (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Susan Hill
65. The Betrayal of Trust (Chatto & Windus, 211) / Susan Hill
66. The Red Garden (Crown, 2011) / Alice Hoffman
67. The Hunger Trace (Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Edward Hogan
68. The Stranger’s Child (Picador, 2011) / Alan Hollinghurst
69. Witches on the Road Tonight (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011) / Sheri Holman
70. The Summer Without Men (Picador, 2011) / Siri Hustvedt

71. Child Wonder (trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw) (Maclehose Press, 2011) / Roy Jacobsen
72. Dead Man’s Grip (Macmillan, 2011) / Peter James
73. A Palace in the Old Village (trans. from the French by Linda Coverdale) (Penguin, 2011) / Tahar Ben Jelloun
74. Five Bells (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Gail Jones
75. Silver Sparrow (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011) / Tayari Jones
76. Mistaken (John Murray, 2011) / Neil Jordan
77. Rodin’s Debutante (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Ward Just
78. Custody (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Manju Kapur
79. The Blue Book (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / A.L. Kennedy
80. The Moment (Atria, 2011) / Douglas Kennedy

81. The Life (Allen & Unwin, 2011) / Michael Knox
82. The Cypress House (Little, Brown, 2011) / Michael Koryta
83. Pictures of You (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011) / Caroline Leavitt
84. A Man of Parts (Harvill Secker, 2011) / David Lodge
85. Is Just a Movie (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Earl Lovelace
86. The Troubled Man (trans. from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson) (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Henning Mankell
87. Portraits of a Marriage (trans. from the Hungarian by George Szirtes) (Knopf, 2011) / Sándor Márai
88. Childish Loves (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Benjamion Markovits
89. Cedilla (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Adam Mars-Jones
90. Break the Skin (Crown, 2011) / Lee Martin

91. The Girl in the Blue Beret (Random House, 2011) / Bobby Ann Mason
92. Anatomy of a Disappearance (Viking, 2011) / Hisham Matar
93. To be Sung Underwater (Abacus/Little, Brown, 2011) / Tom McNeal
94. Pure (Sceptre, 2011) / Andrew Miller
95. The End of the Wasp Season (Orion, 2011) / Denise Mina
96. Tender Hooks (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Moni Mohsin
97. When the Thrill is Gone (Riverhead, 2011) / Walter Mosley
98. Night Waking (Granta, 2011) / Sarah Moss
99. 1Q84 (trans. from the Japanese by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel) (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Haruki Murakami
100. The Leopard (trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett) (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Jo Nesbø

101. Emily, Alone (Viking, 2011) / Stewart O’Nan
102. The Cat’s Table (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Michael Ondaatje
103. Mr Fox (Picador, 2011) / Helen Oyeyemi
104. Swim Back to Me (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Ann Packer
105. State of Wonder (Harper, 2011) / Ann Patchett
106. Disputed Land (William Heinemann, 2011) / Tim Pears
107. The Tragedy of Arthur (Random House, 2011) / Arthur Phillips
108. The Summer of the Bear (Atlantic Monthly/Grove/Atlantic, 2011) / Bella Pollen
109. My New American Life (Harper, 2011) / Francine Prose
110. The Guardians (Doubleday Canada/Orion, 2011) / Andrew Pyper

111. Half of the Human Race (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Anthony Quinn
112. Waterline (Viking, 2011) / Ross Raisin
113. The Folded Earth (Maclehose Press, 2011) / Anuradha Roy
114. Doc (Random House, 2011) / Mary Doria Russell
115. The Death Instinct (Riverhead, 2011) / Jeb Rubenfeld
116. At Last (Picador, 2011) / Edward St Aubyn
117. The Gordian Knot (trans. from the German by Peter Constantine) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010) / Bernhard Schlink
118. Dreams of Joy (Random House, 2011) / Lisa See
119. The Emperor of Lies (trans. from the Swedish by Sarah Death) (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Steve Sem-Sandberg
120. There But For The (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) / Ali Smith

121. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton (Virago Press, 2011) / Elizabeth Speller
122. Wish You Were Here (Picador, 2011) / Graham Swift
123. Derby Day (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / D.J. Taylor
124. A Man in Uniform (Crown, 2011) / Kate Taylor
125. Dogs at the Perimeter (McClelland & Stewart, 2011) / Madeleine Thien
126. The Year We Left Behind (Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Jean Thompson
127. More Than You Can Say (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011) / Paul Torday
128. Daughters-in-Law (Doubleday, 2011) / Joanna Trollope
129. I Married You for Happiness (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011) / Lily Tuck
130. The Quality of Mercy (Hutchinson, 2011) / Barry Unsworth

131. Never Any End to Paris (trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean) (New Directions, 2011) / Enrique Vila-Matas
132. Clara and Mr. Tiffany (Random House, 2011) / Susan Vreeland
133. The Pale King (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) / David Foster Wallace
134. Last Dance with Valentino (HarperCollins, 2011) / Daisy Waugh
135. Or the Bull Kills You (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Jason Webster
136. The Uncoupling (Riverhead, 2011) / Meg Wolitzer
137. The Beginners (Riverhead, 2011) / Rebecca Wolff
138. Dream of Ding Village (trans. from the Chinese, Ding Zhuang Meng, by Cindy Carter) (Grove Atlantic/Corsair/Constable & Robinson, 2011) / Yan Lianke
139. Song of the Silk Road (Kensington Books, 2011) / Mingmei Yip
140. The Lake (trans. from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich) (Melville House, 2011) / Banana Yoshimoto

141. The Warsaw Anagrams (Corsair, 2011) / Richard Zimler

First Novels
1. Leela’s Book (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Alice Albinia
2. City of Bohane (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Kevin Barry
3. The Afterparty (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Leo Benedictus
4. The Free World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / David Bezmozgis
5. The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Sarah Braunstein
6. The Weird Sisters (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2011) / Eleanor Brown
7. What They Do in the Dark (Virago Press, 2011) / Amanda Coe
8. Open City (Random House, 2011) / Teju Cole
9. The Cry of the Go-Away Bird (Harvill Secker, 2011) / Andrea Eames
10. The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead (Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books, 2011) / Paul Elwork

11. The Adults (Scriber, 2011) / Alison Espach
12. Merit Badges (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011) / Kevin Fenton
13. Hate: A Romance (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Tristan Garcia
14. A Discovery of Witches (Headline, 2011) / Deborah Harkness
15. Jubilee (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011) / Shelley Harris
16. Ten Thousand Saints (HarperCollins Publishers, 2011) / Eleanor Henderson
17. The History of History (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Ida Hattemer-Higgins
18. 22 Britannia Road (Fig Tree/Pamela Dorman Books, 2011) / Amanda Hodgkinson
19. The Guardian Angel’s Journal (Little, Brown/Piatkus, 2011) / Carolyn Jess-Cooke
20. Chinaman (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Shehan Karunatilaka

21. The Poison Tree (Pamela Dorman Books, 2011) / Erin Kelly
22. Pigeon English (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Stephen Kelman
23. The Sojourn (Bellevue Literary Press, 2011) / Andrew Krivak
24. Turn of Mind (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011) / Alice LaPlante
25. The Coincidence Engine (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Sam Leith
26. The Oracle of Stamboul (HarperCollins, 2011) / Michael David Lukas
27. The Butterfly Cabinet (Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Bernie McGill
28. The View From Here (Soho, 2011) / Deborah McKinlay
29. The Dry Grass of August (Kensington, 2011) / Anna Jean Mayhew
30. Snowdrops (Doubleday/Atlantic Books, 2011) / A.D. Miller

31. Today (Atlantic Books, 2011) / David Miller
32. The Arrivals (Little, Brown, 2011) / Meg Mitchell Moore
33. A Book for All and None (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011) / Clare Morgan
34. What You See in the Dark (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011) / Manuel Muñoz
35. The Tiger’s Wife (Random House, 2011) / Téa Obreht
36. This Vacant Paradise (Counterpoint, 2011) / Victoria Patterson
37. The Fates Will Find Their Way (Ecco/William Heinemann, 2011) / Hannah Pittard
38. The Devil All the Time (Doubleday, 2011) / Donald Ray Pollock
39. Someone Else’s Garden (Harper Perennial, 2011) / Dipika Rai
40. Bent Road (Dutton, 2011) / Lori Roy

41. To Algeria, With Love (Virago Press, 2011) / Suzanne Ruta
42. Ours Are the Streets (Picador, 2011) / Sunjeev Sahota
43. The Intimates (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Ralph Sassone
44. Pub Walks in Underhill Country (Penguin/Fig Tree, 2011) / Nat Segnit
45. Between Shades of Gray (Philomel, 2011) / Ruta Sepetys
46. Tides of War (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Stella Tillyard
47. The Sentimentalist (William Heinemann, 2011) / Johanna Skibsrud
48. The Return of Captain John Emmett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Elizabeth Speller
49. The Gospel of Anarchy (Harper Perennial, 2011) / Justin Taylor
50. Everything Beautiful Began After (HarperPerennial, 2011) / Simon Van Booy

51. Caribou Island (Penguin, 2011) / David Vann
52. The Collaborator (Viking, 2011) / Mirza Waheed
53. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away (Other Press, 2011) / Christie Watson
54. Before I Go to Sleep (Doubleday, 2011) / S.J. Watson
55. The Echo Chamber (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) / Luke Williams
56. The Roving Party (Allen & Unwin, 2011) / Rohan Wilson
57. When God Was a Rabbit (Headline Review, 2011) / Sarah Winman
58. Annabel (Grove/Black Cat, 2011) / Kathleen Winter
59. The Beginners (Riverhead, 2011) / Rebecca Wolff

1. The Wandering Falcon (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) / Jamil Ahmad
2. Lying Together (Tindal Street Press, 2011) / Gaynor Arnold
3. Pulse (Jonathan Cape/Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Julian Barnes
4. Gryphon: New and Selected Stories (Pantheon/Knopf Doubleday, 2011) / Charles Baxter
5. All the Time in the World: New and Selected Stories (Random House, 2011) / E.L. Doctorow
6. Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories of Work (Harper Perennial, 2011) / Richard Ford
7. News from the World: Stories & Essays (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Paula Fox
8. The Mother Who Stayed (Free Press, 2011) / Laura Furman
9. The Beautiful Indifference (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Sarah Hall
10. Volt (Graywolf Press, 2011) / Alan Heathcock

11. Night Soul and Other Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011) / Joseph McElroy
12. An Empty Room (trans. from the Chinese by Toming Jun Liu) (New Directions, 2011) / Mu Xin
13. Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Joyce Carol Oates
14. Saints and Sinners (Faber & Faber/Little, Brown/Back Bay Books, 2011) / Edna O’Brien
15. New Irish Short Stories (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Joseph O’Connor (ed.)
16. Scenes from Village Life (trans. from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Amos Oz
17. Swim Back to Me (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Ann Packer
18. Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories (Lookout Books/University of North Carolina Press, 2011) / Edith Pearlman
19. Nobody Ever Gets Lost (Five Chapters Books, 2011) / Jess Row
20. Naked Summer (Press 53, 2011) / Andrew Scott

21. The Empty Family (Scribner, 2011) / Colm Tóibín
22. While Mortals Sleep (Delacorte Books, 2011) / Kurt Vonnegut

1. Talking into the Ears of the Donkey (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Robert Bly
2. Sidereal (Picador, 2011) / Rachel Boast
3. Carnations (Princeton University Press, 2011) / Anthony Carelli
4. Horoscopes for the Dead (Random House, 2011) / Billy Collins
5. Family Values (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Wendy Cope
6. A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos (ed. David Trinidad) (Nightboat Books, 2011) / Tim Dlugos
7. Six Children (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Mark Ford
8. The Casual Perfect (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Lavinia Greenlaw
9. The Back Chamber (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) / Donald Hall
10. Night (Faber & Faber, 2011) / David Harsent

11. Clavics (Enitharmon, 2011) / Geoffrey Hill
12. Come, Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Jane Hirshfield
13. At Lake Scugog (Princeton University Press, 2011) / Troy Jollimore
14. Love’s Vision (Princeton University Press, 2011) / Troy Jollimore
15. Fiere (Picador, 2011) / Jackie Kay
16. The Last Usable Hour (Copper Canyon Press, 2011) / Deborah Landau
17. A Hundred Doors (Jonathan Cape, 2011) / Michael Longley
18. One Thousand Nights and Counting: Selected Poems (Picador, 2011) / Glyn Maxwell
19. Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems (ed. Leslie Scalapino) (University of California Press, 2011) / Michael McClure
20. Torchlight (Carcanet Press, 2011) / Peter McDonald

21. November (Picador, 2011) / Sean O’Brien
22. Thread (New Directions, 2011) / Michael Palmer
23. Double Shadow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Carl Phillips
24. Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Robert Pinsky
25. Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010 (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Adrienne Rich
26. Illuminations (trans. from the French by John Ashbery) (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Arthur Rimbaud
27. Ghost in a Red Hat (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Rosanna Warren
28. Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Charles Wright
29. Fall Higher (Copper Canyon Press, 2011) / Dean Young

1. London Under (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Peter Ackroyd
2. The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart (Rodale Books, 2011) / Stephen Amidon and Thomas Amidon
3. Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) / James Attlee
4. The Memory Palace: A Memoir (Free Press, 2011) / Mira Bartók
5. The Children of Lovers (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Judy Carver
6. The Anatomy of a Moment (trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean) (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Javier Cercas
7. Kate Colquhoun
8. Shi’ism: A Religion of Protest (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2011) / Hamid Dabashi
9. The Beautiful and the Damned: Life in the New India (Viking, 2011) / Siddhartha Deb
10. Lastingness: The Art of Old Age (Grand Central Publishing, 2011) / Nicholas Delbanco

11. All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age (Free Press, 2011) / Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly
12. Townie: A Memoir (W.W. Norton, 2011) / Andre Dubus III
13. Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews (Graywolf Press, 2011) / Geoff Dyer
14. Faulks on Fiction: Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel (BBC Books, 2011) / Sebastian Faulks
15. The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime (HarperPress, 2011) / Judith Flanders
16. India: A Portrait (Allen Lane/ Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Patrick French
17. I Found It at the Movies: Reflections of a Cinephile (Carcanet Press, 2011) / Philip French
18. The Use and Abuse of Literature (Pantheon, 2011) / Marjorie Garber
19. Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / John Gimlette
20. Ghosts by Daylight: A Memoir of War and Love (Bloomsbury, 2011) / Janine di Giovanni

21. India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking (Times Books, 2011) / Anand Giridharadas
22. The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death (Allen Lane, 2011) / John Gray
23. Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir (Penguin USA, 2011) / Oscar Hijuelos
24. The Language Wars: A History of Proper English (John Murray, 2011) / Henry Hitchings
25. A Pilgrim in Spain (Continuum, 2011) / Christopher Howse
26. Rome (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011) / Robert Hughes
27. The Making of a Writer, Volume 2: Journals, 1963-1969 (Random House, 2011) / Gail Godwin (ed. Rob Neufeld)
28. I Love a Broad Margin to My Life (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) / Maxine Hong Kingston
29. Except When I Write: Reflections of a Recovering Critic (Oxford University Press, 2010) / Arthur Krystal
30. Collected Essays (Faber & Faber, 2011) / Hanif Kureishi

31. Love: A Secret History (Yale University Press, 2011) / Simon May
32. Love: A Secret History (Yale University Press, 2011) / Simon May
33. Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / James Miller
34. Jerusalem: The Biography (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2011) / Simon Sebag Montefiore
35. Hancox: A House and a Family (Viking, 2011) / Charlotte Moore
36. A Widow’s Story: A Memoir (Ecco, 2011) / Joyce Carol Oates
37. Color Me English: Migration and Belonging Before and After 9/11 (New Press, 2011) / Caryl Phillips
38. Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford University Press, 2011) / Alvin Plantinga
39. Bird Cloud (Scribner/Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Annie Proulx
40. The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death (W.W. Norton, 2011) / David Shields & Bradford Morrow (eds.)

41. A Radiant Life: The Selected Journalism of Nuala O’Faolain (Abrams Image, March 2011) / Nuala O’Faolain
42. Color Me English: Migration and Belonging Before and After 9/11 (New Press, 2011) / Caryl Phillips
43. He Father’s Daughter (Black Inc., 2011) / Alice Pung
44. Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America (W.W. Norton, 2011) / David S. Reynolds
45. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading (Harper, 2011) / Nina Sankovitch
46. Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Ice Cream, Obama, Churchill and My Mother (Bodley Head, 2011) / Simon Schama
47. Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Incredible Journey Into the World of India’s Godmen (Arcade Publishing, 2011) / Tahir Shah
48. The Stranger in the Mirror (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Jane Shilling
49. Reading My Father: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Alexandra Styron
50. Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 282 Lives (Profile Books, 2011) / John Sutherland

51. The Tao of Travel (Hamish Hamilton, 2011)/ Paul Theroux
52. To a Mountain in Tibet (Chatto & Windus, 2011) / Colin Thubron
53. Machiavelli: A Biography (Simon & Schuster, 2011) / Miles J. Unger
54. Morning, Noon, and Night: Finding the Meaning of Life’s Stages Through Books (Random House, 2011) / Arnold Weinstein
55. The Magnetic North: Notes from the Article Circle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) / Sara Wheeler
56. Dante in Love (Atlantic Books, 2011) / A.N. Wilson
57. Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited (Europa Editions, 2011) / Jonathan Yardley

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My 70 Favourite Books of 2010

1. Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber & Faber/Alfred A. Knopf, 2010) / Peter Carey
2. The Betrayal (Fig Tree, 2010) / Helen Dunmore
3. The Memory of Love (Bloomsbury, 2010) / Aminatta Forna
4. Faithful Place (Penguin, 2010) / Tana French
5. The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury, 2010) / Howard Jacobson

6. Father of the Rain (Grove/Atlantic, 2010) / Lily King
7. Great House (W.W. Norton, 2010) / Nicole Krauss
8. The Surrendered (Riverhead, 2010) / Chang-rae Lee
9. The Wilding (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Maria McCann
10. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet (Sceptre, 2010) / David Mitchell

11. Ghost Light (Harvill Secker, 2010) / Joseph O’Connor
12. The Hand That First Held Mine (Headline Review/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) / Maggie O’Farrell
13. Private Life (Knopf Doubleday/Faber & Faber, 2010) / Jane Smiley
14. Man in the Woods (HarperCollins Publishers, 2010) / Scott Spencer
15. Trespass (Chatto & Windus, 2010) / Rose Tremain

First Novels
1. The House on Salt Hay Road (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010) / Carin Clevidence
2. The Spider Truces (Myriad Editions, 2010) / Tom Connolly
3. Saraswati Park (Fourth Estate, 2010) / Anjali Joseph
4. The Butterfly Cabinet (Headline Review, 2010) / Bernie McGill
5. Beneath the Lion’s Gaze (W.W. Norton, 2010) / Maaza Mengiste

6. Black Mamba Boy (HarperCollins, 2010) / Nadifa Mohamed
7. A Life Apart (Constable & Robinson, 2010) / Neel Mukherjee
8. The Invisible Bridge (Knopf Doubleday, 2010) / Julie Orringer
9. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (Bloomsbury/Random House, 2010) / Helen Simonson
10. The Temple-goers (Viking, 2010) / Atish Taseer

1. The Twin (trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer) (Harvill Secker, 2010) / Gerbrand Bakker
2. Three Sisters (trans. from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin) (Telegram Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) / Bi Feiyu
3. Madame Bovary (trans. from the French by Lydia Davis) (Penguin Classics, 2010) / Gustave Flaubert
4. The Blind Side of the Heart (trans. from the German by Anthea Bell) (Harvill Secker, 2009/Vintage, 2010) / Julia Franck
5. To the End of the Land (trans. from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen) (Alfred A. Knopf/Jonathan Cape, 2010) / David Grossman
6. I Curse the River of Time [trans. from the Norwegian, Jeg forbanner tidens elv (2008), by Charlotte Barslund] (Harvill Secker, 2010) / Per Petterson

1. If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Picador, 2010) / Robin Black
2. Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press, 2010) / Belle Boggs
3. Wild Child and Other Stories (Viking, 2010) / T.C. Boyle
4. The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (Picador, 2010) / Deborah Eisenberg
5. Waiting for the Evening News: Stories of the Deep South (Sceptre, 2010) / Tim Gautreaux

6. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Random House, 2010) / Yiyun Li
7. Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories (Jonathan Cape, 2010) / Thomas Lynch
8. Burning Bright (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2010) / Ron Rash
9. The Empty Family (Viking, 2010) / Colm Tóibín

1. Human Chain (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Seamus Heaney
2. Small Hours (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Lachlan Mackinnon
3. The Wrecking Light (Picador, 2010) / Robin Robertson
4. The Best of It (Grove/Atlantic, 2010) / Kay Ryan
5. Rough Music (Carcanet Press, 2010) / Fiona Sampson

6. Of Mutability (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Jo Shapcott
7. Sandgrain and Hourglass (Bloodaxe, 2010) / Penelope Shuttle
8. Break the Glass (Copper Canyon, 2010) / Jean Valentine
9. White Egrets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) / Derek Walcott
10. New Light for the Old Dark (Jonathan Cape, 2010) / Sam Willetts

1. Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town (Penguin, 2010) / Christopher de Bellaigue
2. Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010) / Frank Dikötter
3. Travels in Siberia (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010) / Ian Frazier
4. The Thirties: An Intimate History (Harper Press, 2010) / Juliet Gardiner
5. A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Windmill Books, 2010) / Elena Gorokhova
6. The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps (trans. from the French by David Fernbach) (Verso, 2010) / Eric Hazan

7. Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England (Oxford University Press, 2010) / Anthony Julius
8. Red Dust Road: An Autobiographical Journey (Picador, 2010) / Jackie Kay
9. Encounter (Faber and Faber, 2010) / Milan Kundera
10. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (Penguin USA, 2010) / Diarmaid MacCulloch
11. A Reader on Reading (Yale University Press, 2010) / Alberto Manguel

12. What To Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness (Jonathan Cape, 2010) / Candia McWilliam
13. Curfewed Night: A Frontline Memoir of Life, Love and War in Kashmir (HarperPress, 2010) / Basharat Peer
14. Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History (Faber & Faber, 2010) / Rachel Polonsky
15. Driving Home: An American Scrapbook (Picador, 2010) / Jonathan Raban
16. Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris (Picador/W.W. Norton, 2010) / Graham Robb

17. Cleopatra: A Life (Little, Brown, 2010) / Stacy Schiff
18. Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl (HarperPress, 2010) / Donald Sturrock
19. This Party’s Got to Stop (Granta, 2010) / Rupert Thomson
20. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I (University of California Press, 2011) / Mark Twain
21. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Random House, 2010) / Isabel Wilkinson

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Monkey Island ... Tom Sykes

The best ever festive retreat to Malaysia
Despite being plagued by gout, bad weather and a rough night, TOM SYKES and his young family spend an unforgettable Christmas and New Year in Pangkor and Penang

EVERYTHING BAD seemed to happen in the afternoon, when heat and stress levels were high. One sweltering afternoon in the Bureau of Immigration, we rowed with an official angling for a bribe. At that point we knew little of saving face or how criticism will always be taken personally. On many other afternoons, we were followed by street kids in rags begging for spare change. The kids were the same age and height as my five-year-old daughter Daisy. My wife Donna found the poverty hard to take, but we both agreed there was some value in experiencing such harsh facts of the world. On another afternoon, I was cornered in a post office by a deranged American smelling strongly of rotten fruit. He too begged for money, but for a plane ticket back to the U.S. On the last afternoon of November last year, my doctor informed me I had gout.

No, things hadn’t exactly gone to plan since I’d relocated my young family to Manila. But what was I doing here in the first place? This was what every Filipino asked me, with mouth agape and eyes expanding to the size of footballs. ‘It’s not what you think,’ I would say, ‘I already have a wife.’ Then I’d go through the script for the umpteenth time. ‘I’m a travel writer with a love of Southeast Asia. I’m doing graduate studies at the University of the Philippines.’ The footballs remained.

Thus 23 December 2009—the date of our flight to Malaysia for a much-needed break—couldn’t have come sooner. I had blissful memories of my travels there in 2007. Furthermore, I’d been Quill’s British correspondent for almost two years and now it was time for some cultural reciprocity.

By midday on Christmas Eve, we were cruising along the golden beach-trimmed hills of Pangkor Island, me pointing out the monkeys in the palm trees and shouting, ‘See? Asia’s great. I told you!’

Teluk Nipah was the kind of beach that Western tourists dream of. But I was pleasantly surprised that the tourists here were 99 per cent Malaysian. The other surprise was that no one was making a fuss over Daisy. In the Philippines she was treated like a film star: total strangers would tell her how beautiful she was and give her presents. But here on Pangkor she got only the odd smile.

I made the mistake of dusting off some of my old Malay phrases and wondered why every hotelkeeper I spoke to frowned or giggled when I greeted them with ‘Selamat tinggal’ (‘Goodbye’). I stuck to English from then on and we found a cosy stilt hut.

During the night it rained and thundered so hard that I thought the end of the world was nigh. By dawn, only the stilts had saved our hut from flooding. The chirruping of frogs rose to a deafening pitch as we trod through the ankle-deep swamp that the resort’s garden had become. ‘Merry Christmas!’ we said joyously to each other, and it was a feeling of joy despite the bad weather and the rough night. All we cared about was Pangkor’s peace, quiet and fresh air.

The weather calmed after lunch so we went for a dip. We noticed hundreds of oblong-shaped baby jellyfish being washed up on the shore. We moved along and found no more of these ‘juicy boys’, as Daisy termed them.

We returned to our resort for the all-important Christmas dinner. No turkey, stuffing, or mince pies here, but exquisite crab, oysters and black snapper from the barbecue. For the first time in 29 Christmases, I rose from the dinner table without a balloon-shaped belly crammed with rich, stodgy English fare.

The next day we set off for Penang. Being spice fiends, we spent every minute we could in vivid, incense-thick Little India, gorging ourselves on sambars, dosai and idlis. We even spent the afternoon of the 30th watching a Tamil action movie in the Odeon. We got some odd looks for that.

New Year’s Eve morning brought with it a gorgeous sunrise, angelic birdsong ... and my worst attack of gout yet. It was my own fault for eating all the wrong food, but it was the festive season after all!

By the evening, I was fit enough to hobble along Lebuh Chulia, accompanying the girls to a concert in the park. When we arrived there, Daisy’s magic was back: a crowd of smiling young women gathered round, requesting to have their photo taken with her.

My toe started hurting again, but I was having fun. A band played faithful covers of Green Day and Black-Eyed Peas. At the stroke of midnight, the crowd sang along to the national anthem—what a jolly tune compared to the pompous dirge of my own country.

The fireworks splattered the sky. ‘Yeaaah!’ shouted Daisy from the shoulders of one of her fans. Donna was grinning, too. Midnight is when a lot of good things happen, I thought. I lay down on the grass in tears, tears from the agony of my toe and tears from the ecstasy of this holiday, the best ever.

Reproduced from the October-December 2010 issue of Quill magazine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Web Killed The Literary Review—And It’s Not All Bad

Newspaper literary reviews are mostly a thing of the past, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says ELLEN WHYTE

WHEN TIM BERNERS-LEE and his team launched the Web 20 years ago, it was a crushing blow to the literary book review. They probably didn’t mean it: at least, there’s no record of Tim saying, “That’s gonna fix those guys at the Lit Supp once and for all.” Even so, it signalled the beginning of the end for the Sunday literary review page.

The Golden Days
To be fair, the classic literary review has always been the province of the few. To take apart someone’s work, and analyse content, themes, style, and the degree of craftsmanship, all within the context of past works, or related works by others, is a lot of work. However, academics and writers who live by the terms publish or perish take on the job because gingerbread apart, there is some lovely gilt.

First, a review counts as a publication, and it keeps your name in the public eye.

Second, a favourable review is a great way to pay back friends and supporters. If you can sneak in references to your own works, all the better!

Finally, a bad review is a marvellous opportunity to put down your rivals. If you are in the mood to really rub someone’s face in the dirt, but you want to look as if it isn’t simply spite and jealousy, you can do what Plato did when he was rubbishing poetry as being a poor form of rhetoric: you can pretend the attack isn’t at all personal; it’s done purely in the spirit of honesty/philosophy/beauty/truth.

For 2,500 years or so, reviews were restricted to academic journals and niche publications sent to private subscribers. But when newspapers began to sell in huge numbers to the general public, newspaper editors began commissioning pieces too.

Although the vast majority of readers just want to know whether a book is a jolly good read or not, and are hugely bored by the technical analysis that is the backbone of the review, newspaper editors like literary reviews because they add a bit of gravitas to the papers. When people at parties chide you for muckraking in order to boost sales, it’s nice to be able to point to that incredibly insightful piece discussing the latest gem from the poet laureate.

By the 1920s, literary reviews formed the backbone of Sunday supplements. They were particularly popular with readers who hoped that a bit of culture would combat soul-destroying corporate or domestic tedium, or at least enliven conversation at the next dinner party.

Editors were happy to commission Big Names to write reviews, as this attracted even more readers. The extra expense was covered by extra adverts from companies hoping to cash in on the lucrative niche market that could afford to attend dinner parties. It was a strategy that served both art and Mammon.

Hello Web, Goodbye Gravy Train
When email and online bulletin boards appeared, media magnates weren’t too fussed. Cinema and TV hadn’t made a dent in sales; the Net wasn’t viewed as a big deal either.

If you’re a dinosaur like me, you’ll remember that the creation of the Web turned the Net from a nerds-only playground into a new form of mass media. It took a few years for the message to reach the old guard, but when The Drudge Report website broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1997, even the crustiest of hacks had to acknowledge there was a new kid on the block.

Newspaper owners rushed to stake out and defend their territory on the new playing field, but shot themselves in the foot. While other industries added online sales channels to sell their content, media magnates took products that cost a fortune to create and gave them away for free.

Thanks to this inspired bit of leadership, sales plummeted. The global financial crisis of 2008 proved the coup de grace. Many newspapers collapsed. Those that survived had to trim sails in view of trimmed sales. Literary book reviews were among the first casualties.

The 21st Century Review
Being connected worldwide 24/7 means we’re flooded with information. Living life at a gallop is having all sorts of weird effects. It seems kids are reaching puberty a year or even two years earlier than previous generations. Some studies even show that we are walking faster!

It also means attention spans are getting shorter. Newspapers have moved from the broadsheet to the compact format. They’ve also cut back on longer pieces and added more pictures. Also, every piece must look good in print and online. As reading online is harder on the eyes than reading print, there has been a general scaling back on word count. Articles of 1,200 words used to be common, now the big pieces run at 900.

Magazines have had to trim word count to suit today’s audience too. Back in 1997 the average Malaysian magazine feature consisted of a main piece of 1,400 words plus a sidebar or two of 250 words. Today the whole shebang comes to 1,200 words tops.

Another blow to the traditional review is that newspapers have trimmed niche products in favour of content with mass appeal. Literature wins prizes but it seldom sells well. Newspapers therefore focus on the stuff readers are interested in—popular fiction, cookbooks and self-help tomes.

In short, the page that used to be devoted to analysing a single book is now a half page promoting half a dozen books. The modern review is generally comprised of a teaser, sometimes taken directly from the press release, a mention of previous works written by the author, and a picture of the book cover.

The other half page is devoted to an author interview because readers enjoy reading about the people behind the books, especially if it’s a good rags-to-riches story like J.K. Rowling or if the author is seriously sexy. If Johnny Depp were to write a book, he’d be guaranteed slots in every paper in the world, even if his book were titled “Johnny’s ABC for Toddlers.”

All this is pretty sad for the classic reviewer who is less likely to snag a juicy commission from a newspaper. However, the new status quo has some benefits for authors and publishers.

Check Out the Upside
Although styles have changed, newspapers still feature books and are likely to continue to do so. Plus, the popularity of the Web means authors and publishers can set up their own websites to connect with the world. In addition, some independent bloggers are now commanding significant audiences.

The latest news from Forrester research group is that in the last five years, daily web usage is up 117 per cent, while listening to the radio is down 18 per cent, reading newspapers is down 17 per cent, and reading magazines is down 6 per cent. TV is the only medium to remain exactly as it was pre-2004.

Although figures show that print products are declining, it is very hard to tell what works best. Comparing circulation figures to hits, a newspaper is still going to reach more people than a popular blog. However, not everyone reads the whole newspaper. A blogger who has a solid audience of regulars may be a better bet for generating sales, especially if they reach out over Twitter and Facebook as well.

The sensible thing for authors and publishers is to cover as many bases as possible. It also helps to spring for a nice lunch when wooing editors who have the power to assign an author feature. Bloggers are also partial to lunch, but being altogether humbler beings, they may settle for coffee and cake.

You might also cast an eye over William Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale, where he details how pussyfooting, sucking up, bribery, catfighting and blackmail were part and parcel of the literary salon scene at the turn of the 20th century. The status quo may be changing, but Willie Maugham’s strategy tips are timeless.

ELLEN WHYTE is the author of Katz Tales: Living Under the Velvet Paw (Marshall Cavendish, 2010) and Logomania: Where Common Phrases Come From and How to Use Them (MPH Publishing, 2010). Visit her blog at

Reproduced from the October-December 2010 issue of Quill magazine