It is a pleasure to recommend to readers a clutch of books published in the last year that we found exemplary. Any such list is subjective, even idiosyncratic, of course, since it is impossible to read every worthy book that beckons. We are nonetheless promiscuous readers whose greatest delight is to happen upon a story or subject we had no idea we were interested in but which, in the hands of a gifted and graceful author, proves compelling and unforgettable. Or, alternatively, to have an author complicate a subject we thought we already knew, challenging us to think harder and more deeply. Here, in alphabetical order by author, are 10 works of fiction and 10 of nonfiction that are among the many works that afforded the greatest pleasure and helped us see the world with fresh eyes.
The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster, Henry Holt
Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in 12 Fish, Richard Flanagan, Grove Press
Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer, Houghton Mifflin
The Crazed, Ha Jin, Pantheon
Man Walks Into a Room, Nicole Krauss, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Iceland, Jim Krusoe, Dalkey Archive Press
Ignorance, Milan Kundera, HarperCollins