Featured List

Francine Prose

Top Ten contributor Francine Prose is not only a wonderful fiction writer, she is also a superb critic and essayist. All of her skills are on display in her review of Paul Theroux’s new story collection, Mr Bones, in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

Her review begins: “Near the conclusion of John Cheever’s ... read more ...

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The Book: The Top Ten

Susan Minot

Top Ten contributor Susan Minot travels vast distances – whether measured by miles, experience or sensibility – for her first novel in more than a decade, Thirty Girls.

Elizabeth Spencer

Writers are not like wine; most do not improve with age. For many, their first book is their best; others hit their height mid-career. The number who reach their peak – or rediscover it – in old age is vanishingly small.

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is back with an “ultra-contemporary novel” that deploys his gift for empathy to explore love, sadness, sexuality, ethnicity and art across two decades among a group of upper-middle class resident of Connecticut.

Roxana Robinson

Literature allows us to enter another person’s mind. Often, it is the same one – the writer’s, refracted and bent through characters who, nevertheless, often have too much in common.

Andrea Barrett

Top Ten contributor Andrea Barrett is receiving strong reviews for her ninth book, an “elegant new story collection” titled Archangel.

The Physics of Communication

(This is the slightly revised text of the speech I gave at North Carolina State University to kick off its annual Communication Week).

When I was invited to speak at N.C State’s Communication Week I wondered – what do they do the other 51 weeks of the year? Is State, in fact, a monastery where everyone takes an oath of silence? Or maybe it’s just preparing students for marriage.

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New List

Michael Chabon

1. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (1964).
2.Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962).
3. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (1921).
4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813).
6. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1836–47).
7. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
8. Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667).
9. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985).
10. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (1953).

Classic List

Michael Cunningham

1. King Lear by William Shakespeare (1605).
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857).
3. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1855–91).
4. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927).
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925).
6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955).
7. Dubliners by James Joyce (1916).
8. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930).
9. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898).
10. The stories of Flannery O’Connor (for their unerring narrative focus) (1925–64).

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