jpederzane's blog

    Sue Miller

    We have a story idea for our newest Top Ten contributor, Sue Miller: Imagine a forty-something writer who, after years devoted to rearing a family, finishes her first book and wakes up one morning to find this review in the New York Times:

    Scott Turow

     Writing his first legal thriller, Presumed Innocence (1986), Scott Turow was pleased to come up with the perfect name for his smart and sophisticated defense attorney: Alejandro “Sandy” Stern.

     

    Lionel Shriver

    Lionel Shriver is one of America’s most topical – and fearless – writers. Like Don DeLillo, she exposes the hidden forces and emperor’s clothes myths that shape our society; though where he often works from a 30,000 foot perch, focused on broad, abstract ideas, Shriver gets down and dirty with the beliefs that drive the daily behavior of ordinary people.

    Maxine Hong Kingston

    Our newest Top Ten list comes from one of America’s most celebrated writers, Maxine Hong Kingston, who has used Chinese-American experiences to depict the human condition through several works of nonfiction and one novel.

    The Top Ten Books by African-American Authors

    After our distinguished contributors – 168 and counting – submit their lists of the greatest works of fiction of all-time, the Top Ten team uses the vast resources at our disposal (usually a pencil and paper) to crunch the data. Awarding 10 points to a first place book and so on down the line to one point for a tenth place pick, we compile “scores” for each book to create All-Time lists.

    Percival Everett

    It is one of the most profound, and entertaining, questions we can ask: what if? The idea of taking that untaken road – which ya can’t cause ya didn’t - allows us to wrestle and play with the paradoxical polarities and of fate and free (that manage, somehow, to curve round and meet in the middle.

    Rereading Knut Hamsun

    By J. Peder Zane

    When it comes to books, my only question is: What's next?

    So much lurking greatness, so little time. So many gaps — "The Man Without Qualities," "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," "Eloise." So much guilt.

    Georges Simenon

    By J. Peder Zane (2005)

    The New York Review of Books is more than a leading journal of ideas. It is also a literary miracle worker. Since 1999 it has brought dead books back to life through its Classic series.

    Future Classics, 2010-19

    Our critics claim we live in the past. But besides the bedrock belief that life is too short to read anything but the best, the staff at Top Ten Books knows that the timeless literature has much to say about own life and times. Still, the classics have to start somewhere and with that spirit in mind we are happy to share a list from our friends at the Literary Hub of the best books of the last decade 2010-19.

    Tom Wolfe, RIP

    We have lost a giant – one of the very best reporters and writers in American history.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Tom Wolfe, the best-selling alchemist of fiction and nonfiction who wrote “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “The Right Stuff” and countless other novels and works of journalism, died of pneumonia in a New York hospital yesterday. He was 88 years old.

    Pages

    New List

    David Mitchell

    1. The Duel by Anton Chekhov (1891).
    2.1984by George Orwell (1948).
    3.Heart of Darknessby Joseph Conrad (1899).
    4.Sense and Sensibilityby Jane Austen (1811).
    5.The Master and Margaritaby Mikhail Bulgakov (1966).
    6.As I Lay Dyingby William Faulkner (1930).
    7.Tom Jonesby Henry Fielding (1749).
    8.Labyrinthsby Jorge Luis Borges (1964).
    9.W, or The Memory of Childhoodby Georges Perec (1975).
    10.The Makioka Sistersby Junichiro Tanizaki (1943–48).
    Wild Card:Lolly Willowesby Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926).



     

    Classic List

    Top Ten African-American Works

    1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952). 
    2. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987). 
    3. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977). 
    4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937). 
    5. Native Son by Richard Wright (1945). 
    6. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959). 
    7. Another Country by James Baldwin (1962). 
    8. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923). 
    9. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (1990). 
    10. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown (1965). 

     





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