his is the best of times and the worst of times for passionate readers. We are living in a Golden Age, as online retailers make millions of books just a click away. Never before have so many works been within such easy reach. But when anything is possible, choice becomes torture. What to pick? Where to start? This one? That one? How about this—and that? What will I like? What's worth my time?
To answer these questions, we turned to the experts, asking 125 top American and British authors to list their 10 favorite works of fiction of all time. The results were published in "The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books." Edited by J. Peder Zane, "The Top Ten" is the ultimate guide to the world's greatest books. As Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon, Peter Carey and others celebrate the books that have meant the most to them, you'll be reminded of books you love and introduced to works awaiting your discovery.
This Website is expanding the book. In addition to posting annotated versions of all 125 lists from "The Top Ten," we are gathering new lists from prominent authors. We are highlighting lists submitted by our readers — maybe even yours! And our blog will include updates on the world of classic books. Through it all we will help you answer that most pressing literary question: What should I read next?
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Please join us in welcoming Martha Southgate to Top Ten Land. Martha is an award-winning author whose work often explores the tension and contradictions experienced by African Americans who live amongst whites.
Claire Messud established her name, as well as a large and captivated following, in 2006 with her critically acclaimed bestseller, The Emperor’s Children.
If she were a pop star, she would churn some more product out quick, fast, in-a-hurry. Instead she lived her life, started one novel, then abandoned it. Now, seven years later, Knopf has published The Woman Upstairs.
If James Salter has received glowing reviews throughout his brilliant career, then his notice in Friday’s New York Times can only be called a white-hot Supernova of praise. Here’s how Malcolm Jones begins his review of Salter’s new novel:
Our newest list comes from Jane Mendelsohn, who soared into prominence in 1996 with her bestselling debut, I Was Amelia Earhart.
Michiko Kakutani praised that work, which was short-listed for the Orange Prize, for using “the bare-boned outlines of the aviator's life … for a poetic meditation on freedom and love and flight.” The New York Times critic also compared it to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel "General in His Labyrinth" for the way it “invokes the spirit of a mythic personage, while standing on its own as a powerfully imagined work of fiction.”