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by John Williams
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I am not the first to say this, but let me say this nonetheless: Thank God for the NYRB series of reissued books.
It is a kind of enchantment, to be lured so completely into the life of this character.
What is the story of Stoner? How does an American book first published in 1965 go on to become a bestseller in the Netherlands in 2013?
I am thankful for each of my mentors and what they've offered me at different points in my life as a writer. I don't want to imagine what I might not have attempted, creatively and professionally, were it not for their support and enthusiasm, their benevolent shadows.
He has a plain-Jane, perfectly mild style that is so satisfying. It’s like a great roasted chicken.
I will say this, it was not my best year for reading. It was a year where I read a lot of really good books but almost no great books.
With four books heading to the Hall of Fame, that means we have four new books landing on the list, ranging from hard-boiled Scandinavian thrillers to historical fiction in 18th century Japan to a 12-year-old literary biography with a twist.
Tinkers debuts and The Corrections graduates. Plus, a controversial new number one.
Franzen stays on top. Sebald to the Hall of Fame. Tolstoy debuts.
David Mitchell graduates to the Hall of Fame, Michael Lewis debuts, and we have a new number one.
"What’s wrong with you, is wrong with your writing," Huneven says. "It really behooves you to find out what that is, so that you can disguise that in your writing. Or compensate it, or cover it up. Or cure it, if you can."
And as we enjoy the last few days of 2009, we invite all of you to take part in A Year in Reading by finishing this sentence in the comments or on your own blog: “The best book I read all year was…”
Plotwise, The Darkroom of Damocles is as riveting a detective story as I read all year, but its purpose is far beyond that of your average noir.
I loved how Antonya Nelson compressed time, and how, with a single phrase, I understood a moment for all of its awkwardness, anxiety, hope, and honesty.