Featured List

Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman’s imaginative and clever new novel, Love & Treasure, hinges on a fraught historical event: the Hungarian Gold train which carried a horde of Jewish treasure stolen by the Nazis.

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The Book: The Top Ten

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Stephen King

It’s a Top Ten twofer in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review where Walter Kirn reviews Stephen King’s new novel, Joyland.

Lionel Shriver

Home town hero Lionel Shriver returned to Raleigh last night to discuss her new novel, Big Brother, at Quail Ridge Books. About 50 people – including a couple-three without gray hair – heard her describe her latest sally into our politically charged landscape: a novel hinged on obesity.

Karen Joy Fowler


We hate spoilers in Top Ten Land – we’ll let you find out for yourself if Hamlet delivers his revenge, if Ahab catches that pesky whale and if Humbert and the fire of his loins live happily ever after. We have so much self-restraint, we won’t even tell you about the wild, crazy &%^* Walter White pulled on Breaking Bad last season.

Martha Southgate

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

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.

James Salter

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:

Jane Mendelsohn

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.”


New List

Cathleen Schine

1. Emma by Jane Austen (1816).
2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1855–91).
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869).
4. Phineas Finn: The Irish Member by Anthony Trollope (1869).
5. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1864–65).
6. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (1977).
7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
8. The stories of  Alice Munro (1931– ).
9. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (1943–48).
10. Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell (1954).

Classic List

George Saunders

1. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (1842).
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869).
4. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (1759–67).
5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1600).
6. The stories of Isaac Babel (1894–1940).
7. The stories of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904).
8. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969).
9. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1953).
10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957).