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ALL-TIME FAVORITES.   Favorites by year follow this.

NO GREAT MISCHIEF by Alistair MacLeod

IRONWEED by William Kennedy

THE BANYAN TREE by Christopher Nolan

THE MOOR’S LAST SIGH by Salman Rushdie (Amazon reviews)

THE RADETZKY MARCH by Joseph Roth

WAVE OF TERROR by Theodore Odrach

TROUBLES by J. G. Farrell

THE COWARD’S TALE by Vanessa Gebbie

SLAVES OF SOLITUDE by Patrick Hamilton

PANTHER IN THE BASEMENT by Amos Oz

THE SEA by John Banville

A FINE BALANCE by Rohinton Mistry (Amazon reviews)

Non-fictionIN PURSUIT OF LIFE by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema

THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES by Edmund De Waal

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FAVORITES FOR 2016, so far:

Patrick Modiano–LITTLE JEWEL

Max Porter–GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS

Javier Cercas–OUTLAWS

Richard Hines–NO WAY BUT GENTLENESSE

Ian McEwan–NUTSHELL

Juan Gomez Barcena–THE SKY OVER LIMA

Anne Enright–THE GREEN ROAD

Christopher Nicholson–WINTER

Louise Erdrich–LAROSE

Joan London–THE GOLDEN AGE

Nellie Hermann–THE SEASON OF MIGRATION

Andrew O’Hagan–THE ILLUMINATIONS

Graham Swift–MOTHERING SUNDAY

Wackiest Literary Novel:  Ian McEwan–NUTSHELL

Most Powerful Revived Classic:  Magda Szabo–THE DOOR

Most Fascinating Biographical Non-Fiction:  Ross King–MAD ENCHANTMENT: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Most Interesting Fictionalized Story of a Real Event (tie):  John Preston–THE DIG, a story of archaeology and the new discoveries regarding the earliest settlers of England, and David Dyer–THE MIDNIGHT WATCH: The Titanic and the Californian, the story of the ship which was closest to the Titanic when it struck and which might have saved hundred of lives, but didn’t.

Most Intriguing Experimental Novels:  Max Porter–GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS and Yoel Hoffmann–MOODS

Most Imaginative Collection of Short Stories: Arthur Bradford–TURTLEFACE AND BEYOND

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FAVORITES FOR 2015

Colum McCann–THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING

Patrick Modiano–SUSPENDED SENTENCES

Per Petterson–I REFUSE

David Stacton–JUDGES OF THE SECRET COURT: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth

Valeria Luiselli–THE STORY OF MY TEETH

Richard Wagamese–MEDICINE WALK

Irmgard Keun–THE ARTIFICIAL SILK GIRL

Edward St. Aubyn–LOST FOR WORDS

Colin Barrett–YOUNG SKINS

Helen Macdonald–H IS FOR HAWK

Chantel Acevedo–THE DISTANT MARVELS

Gail Hareven–LIES, FIRST PERSON

Best Book that Defies Genre:  EMBLEMS OF THE PASSING WORLD by Adam Kirsch.  Photographs by August Sander (1876 – 1964) inspire Kirsch to write poems to accompany them.  Dramatic and insightful.

Newly Republished Classic of the Year: A CAT, A MAN, AND TWO WOMEN by Junichiro Tanizaki–1935

Best Book by a Forgotten Author: THE JUDGES OF THE SECRET COURT by David Stacton

Most Powerful Memoir–Goran Rosenberg–A BRIEF STOP ON THE ROAD FROM AUSCHWITZ

Most Fun–Ellen Meister–DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE

Most Important Literary Discoveries: Ernst Haffner–BLOOD BROTHERS and Irmgard Keun–THE ARTIFICIAL SILK GIRL.  (Both of these books were published in 1932 – 1933 in Germany, and banned by authorities the following year, with all copies confiscated and destroyed.  Copies of both were found in the late 1970s, and they were then reprinted – and now translated.)

Most Insightful Contemporary Short Stories: Colin Barrett–Young Skins, and Jack Livings– THE DOG

Most Exotic Short Stories: Denise Roig–BRILLIANT (set in Abu Dhabi)

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FAVORITES FOR 2014

Bohumil Hrabal–HARLEQUIN’S MILLIONS

Anthony Doerr–ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Juan Gabriel Vasquez–THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING

Valeria Luiselli–FACES IN THE CROWD

Rabih Alameddine–AN UNNECESSARY WOMAN

Richard Flanagan–THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH

Haruki Murakami–COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF  PILGRIMAGE

Merethe Lindstrom–DAYS IN THE HISTORY OF SILENCE

Deirdre Madden–TIME PRESENT AND TIME PAST

Jane Smiley–SOME LUCK

Jonas T. Bengtsson–A FAIRY TALE

Donal Ryan–THE SPINNING HEART

Favorite Novella: Antonio Skarmeta–A DISTANT FATHER

Favorite mysteries: William McIlvanney–LAIDLAW and   THE PAPERS OF TONY VEITCH

Most unusual short story collection: Dorthe Nors, KARATE CHOP

Most Important Memoirs: Galsan Tschinag, THE BLUE SKY and THE GRAY EARTH, and  Diogo Mainardi, THE FALL

Most Unusual Memoir: Tete-Michel Kpomassie, AN AFRICAN IN GREENLAND

Favorite Classics: Christina Stead–THE LITTLE HOTEL and   Elizabeth Taylor–A GAME OF HIDE AND SEEK

Favorite Non-Fiction: Laurel Braitman–ANIMAL MADNESS and  Roger Rosenblatt–THE BOY DETECTIVE

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FAVORITES FOR 2013

Kate Atkinson–LIFE AFTER LIFE

Anthony Marra–A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA

Patricio Pron–MY FATHERS’ GHOST IS CLIMBING IN THE RAIN

Rodrigo Rey Rosa–THE AFRICAN SHORE

Fay Weldon–KEHUA!

Hitomi Kawakami–THE BRIEFCASE

Zachary Karabashliev–18% GRAY

Dan Vyleta–THE CROOKED MAID

Jhumpa Lahiri–THE LOWLAND

Jaspreet Singh–HELIUM

Colum McCann–TRANSATLANTIC

Laleh Khadivi–THE WALKING

Kate Southwood–FALLING TO EARTH

Favorite Classics (reissued): Russell Hoban, TURTLE DIARY;    Dorothy Baker, YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN;    Alfred Hayes, MY FACE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE,    Georges Simenon, ACT OF PASSION

Favorite Short Story Collection: Jessica Francis Kane–THIS CLOSE and     Kevin Barry–DARK LIES THE ISLAND

Favorite Mystery: Claudia Pineiro, A CRACK IN THE WALL; Jussi Adler-Olsen–A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH and    Gene Kerrigan, DARK TIMES IN THE CITY

Most Important Non-Fiction: James Balog–EXTREME ICE NOW: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate

Other outstanding non-fiction: Paul Theroux– LAST TRAIN TO ZONA VERDE

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FAVORITES FOR 2012

Vanessa Gebbie–THE COWARD’S TALE

Robin Sloan–MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE

Mahmoud Saeed–THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF ANGELS

Vaddey Ratner–IN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN

Dan Vyleta–THE QUIET TWIN

Kim Scott–THAT DEADMAN DANCE

Louise Erdrich–THE ROUND HOUSE

Santiago Gamboa–NECROPOLIS

Georgina Harding–PAINTER OF SILENCE

Elizabeth Jolley–MR. SCOBIE’S RIDDLE

Tan Twan Eng–THE GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS

Patrick McGuinness–THE LAST HUNDRED DAYS

Favorite historical novel: Hilary Mantel–BRING UP THE BODIES

Best Novels with an Unsavory Plot Line: John Banville, ANCIENT LIGHT and PURE by Andrew Miller

Favorite thrillers:   Victor del Arbol–THE SADNESS OF THE SAMURAI and  Daniel Silva–THE FALLEN ANGEL

Favorite Non-Fiction/Biography: Edmund De Waal, THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES and   Timothy Egan, SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER

Favorite Fictionalized Biography: Douglas Savage:  A MOUTHFUL OF DUST: A PORTRAIT OF A WRITER IN SEARCH OF HIS OWN RED BADGE OF COURAGE

Most Interesting Short Stories: Mo Yan–SHIFU, YOU’D DO ANYTHING FOR A LAUGH

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FAVORITES FOR 2011

Jamil Ahmad–THE WANDERING FALCON

Julian Barnes–THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

Michael Ondaatje–THE CAT’S TABLE

Rana Dasgupta–SOLO

James Sallis–THE KILLER IS DYING

Sebastian Barry–ON CANAAN’S SIDE

Philip Hensher–KING OF THE BADGERS

Louise Dean–THE OLD ROMANTIC

Evelio Rosero–GOOD OFFICES

Erri De Luca–THE DAY BEFORE HAPPINESS

Henry Sutton–GET ME OUT OF HERE

Special Recognition, Non-Fiction: Steve Sem-Sandberg–THE EMPEROR OF LIES, an important book – a true literary epic – of the people of Lodz, Poland, during the Holocaust

Special Category: Tarek Shahin, RISE, A Story of the Egyptian Revolution (a graphic novel)

Favorite Classics read this year:  Paul Bowles–THE SPIDER’S HOUSE and   Penelope Lively–MOON TIGER

Favorite Mysteries: Jussi Adler-Olsen–THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES,     Jo Nesbo–THE SNOWMAN and  Kate Atkinson–STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG

Short Stories: THE ARTIST OF DISAPPEARANCE by Anita Desai

Nonfiction ON THE STATE OF EGYPT by Alaa Al Aswany

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FAVORITES FOR 2010

IN THE COMPANY OF ANGELS by Thomas E. Kennedy

FAME by Daniel Kehlmann

THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE by Orhan Pamuk

QUARTET IN AUTUMN by Barbara Pym (a classic novel)

SMALL KINGDOMS by Anastasia Hobbet

TO HELL WITH CRONJE by Ingrid Winterbach

THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET by David Mitchell

BABY JESUS PAWN SHOP by Lucia Orth

MUNIRA’S BOTTLE by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed

A KIND OF INTIMACY by Jenn Asworth

TURBULENCE by Giles Foden

NOT TO DISTURB by Muriel Spark (a classic novel)

CHEF by Jaspreet Singh

Favorite Mysteries of the Year: WINTERLAND  by Alan Glynn and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST by Stieg Larsson.

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FAVORITES FOR 2009

LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann

CENSORING AN IRANIAN LOVE STORY by Shahriar Mandanipour

ALL THE LIVING by C. E. Morgan

LOWBOY by John Wray

THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING by Alaa al-Aswany

AMERICAN VISA by Juan de Recacoechea

THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker

LONG DIVISION by Andrea Cohen

GENEROSITY by Richard Powers

THE ACCORDIONIST’S SON by Bernardo Atxaga

THE WINTER VAULT by Anne Michaels

Special recognition: Because of its scale, scope, and historical significance, WAVE OF TERROR by Theodore Odrach (translated by his daughter Erma Odrach) achieves a special place on this list and is now on my list of All-Time Favorites.

Favorite Mystery of the YearTHE SIEGE by Stephen White

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FAVORITES FOR 2008

A CURIOUS EARTH by Gerard Woodward

MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT by Elizabeth Taylor

A MERCY by Toni Morrison

THE LEGAL LIMIT by Martin Clark

THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery

A MANUSCRIPT OF ASHES by Antonio Munoz-Molina

THE REDBREAST by Jo Nesbo

KARNAK CAFE by Naguib Mahfouz

WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS by Kate Atkinson

LITTLE CRIMINALS by Gene Kerrigan

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO  by Stieg Larsson

Non-fictionJANE’S FAME: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman

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FAVORITES FOR 2007

LIONS AT LAMB HOUSE by Edwin Yoder

GRUB by Elise Blackwell

SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN by Paul Torday

THE UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett

A SEASON OF FIRE AND ICE by Lloyd Zimpel

THE GIRL ON THE VIA FLAMINIA by Alfred Hayes, a classic

THE TORTOISES by Veza Canetti

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SOME FAVORITES FOR 2006

THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS by Kiran Desai

A WOMAN OF JERUSALEM by A. B. Yehoshua

THEFT by Peter Carey

OLD FILTH by Jane Gardam

THE CLUB OF ANGELS by Luis Fernando Verissimo

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SOME FAVORITES FOR 2005:

THE WORK OF WOLVES by Kent Meyers

THE SEA by John Banville (on my list of all-time favorites)

SMALL ISLAND by Andrea Levy

THE PAINTED DRUM by Louise Erdrich

BORGES AND THE ETERNAL ORANGUTANS by Luis Fernando Verissimo

LIGHTHOUSEEEPING by Jeanette Winterson

APRIL FOOL’S DAY by Josip Novakovich

Non-fictionTHIS WAS NOT OUR WAR: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace by Swanee Hunt

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SOME FAVORITES FOR  2004

(Non-fiction) IN PURSUIT OF LIFE by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema (on the All-Time Favorites list)

THE MASTER by Colm Toibin

THE TYRANT’S NOVEL by Thomas Keneally

SNOW by Orhan Pamuk

THE DOUBLE by Jose Saramago

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SOME FAVORITES FOR 2003:

DANCER by Colum McCann

WINTERING: A NOVEL OF SYLVIA PLATH by Kate Moses

THE SHADOW WITHOUT A NAME by Ignacio Padilla

GENIUS OF THE SEA by Naeem Murr

KARTOGRAPHY by Kamila Shamsie

 

 

 

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