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by Padgett Powell
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If you’re looking for a way to ruin a perfectly good first date, do the following: lean forward in your chair and, gazing urgently across the dinner table into the eyes of the near-perfect stranger sitting opposite, ask them to tell you something true about themselves.
If I were an addict, I would get high and while high, presumably, worry about where I was to get my next fix. Reading is not all that different, I think. As a reader, I am always looking over the binding thinking about the next read, in some instances, longing for it. Some books, like some highs, are better than others. But even with not-so-good books, I will come back to the drug, seeking the next high.
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.
Four books debut on the list: Powell, McCann, Pevear and Volokhonsky, and Bouillier. David Mitchell vaults into the top spot.
Is it really a novel? Or is it a prose-poem? Or is it a work of non-fiction written by deranged, and eccentric genius somewhere out in the deep woods of the South, while slapping a mosquitoes and lamenting, generally, a life lived on the outside?