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by Geoff Dyer
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The winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award have been announced in New York City.
Geoff Dyer, Don DeLillo, and Jonathan Lethem, for all their differences, have one thing in common. Each became bewitched by a movie that spoke so forcefully to him that he watched it again and again until it revealed all of its secrets.
At 8,400 words strong and encompassing 81 titles, this is the only 2012 book preview you will ever need.
It’s about gambling, drinking, prison, and an unlikely but believably rendered relationship between two unlucky men. It’s a hard-boiled existentialist novel, and ultimately unlike any other I’ve read.
For an eighth year, we asked some of our favorite writers, thinkers, and readers to look back, reflect, and share. Their charge was to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date. Grouped together, these ruminations, cheers, squibs, and essays will be a chronicle of reading and good books from every era. We hope you find in them seeds that will help make your year in reading in 2012 a fruitful one.
There were two huge literary new releases in October, but only one could take our top spot.
An e-book original takes the top spot and another debuts. One of the big literary books of the fall also lands on our list.
It's The Pale King's last month at the top. Plus a new Hall of Famer and a pair of intriguing newcomers.
"I always have faith in this idea that if I remain honest and open about my own confusion, the blurriness of my impressions – it's not because I'm short-witted or stupid – the chances are those feelings will be shared by other people."
Two debuts last month: a classic work of poetry and a brand new installment of an epic series.
A favorite author of The Millions returns to the top ten. Plus two new Hall of Famers!
It was as though I'd been drawn to the Phillips de Pury auction house to visually complete the circuit of learning begun by Dyer's revelatory writings. Which is not to say I wound up agreeing with everything Dyer had to say. Far from it.
Like a dragonfly hovering above the surface of a pond, Dyer's criticism skims across a subject rather than diving in. Yet not every critic can incite so many ripples with such a light touch, and not every critic can show such tremendous intelligence while leaving things slighted.