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August 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Notable Books
This list has been compiled for use by the general reader and by librarians who work with adults. The titles have been selected by the Notable Books Council, ALA Reference and User Services Association, for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. Titles were selected from books published from November 1999 through October 2000 that demonstrate wide general appeal and literary merit.
Atwood, Margaret. The Blind Assassin. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $26 (0-385-47572-1).
Atwood expertly interweaves a science-fiction novella with incidents from octogenarian Iris Chase Griffen’s past and present.
Busch, Frederick. Don’t Tell Anyone. Norton, $25 (0-393-04973-6).
This exemplary collection of 16 stories and one novella—exploring loss, love, and loneliness in American family life—confirms Busch’s reputation as one of America’s finest storytellers.
Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Random, $26.95 (0-679-45004-1).
American idealism and the power of the imagination are exuberantly evoked in this epic novel of larger-than-life comic-book superheroes and their creators.
Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace. Viking, $23.95 (0-670-88731-5).
This spare and disturbing novel about Professor David Lurie’s out-of-control life is set against the stark realities of contemporary South Africa.
Crace, Jim. Being Dead. Farrar, $23.95 (0-374-11013-1).
The story of Celice and Joseph’s love is revealed in flashbacks as they lay dead on a seaside dune.
DeWitt, Helen. The Last Samurai. Hyperion/Talk Miramax, $24.95 (0-7868-6668-3).
Child prodigy Ludo searches for his father, guided by the lessons he’s learned from his obsessive viewing of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.
Kalpakian, Laura. The Delinquent Virgin. Graywolf, paper, $14 (1-55597-295-0).
Rich with eccentric characters, imaginative settings, and a gentle humor, Kalpakian’s stories present a warmhearted view of the human condition.
King, Thomas. Truth and Bright Water. Atlantic Monthly, $24 (0-87113-818-2).
This tragicomic coming-of-age tale portrays rural Native American life and the sometimes-treacherous borders between generations, races, classes, and nations.
Kneale, Matthew. English Passengers. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $25 (0-385-49743-1).
Multiple voices narrate a hilarious and heartbreaking tale of the collision of British eccentrics, inept Manx smugglers, and Aborigines in nineteenth-century Tasmania.
Nelson, Antonya. Living to Tell. Scribner, $24 (0-684-83933-4).
In a graceful novel of manners, the three adult Mabie children return to their parents’ Wichita home to heal an assortment of heartaches.
Ondaatje, Michael. Anil’s Ghost. Knopf, $25 (0-375-41053-8).
With the Sri Lanka civil war as a backdrop, forensic anthropologist Anil Tissera finds herself drawn into a political and personal maelstrom as past and present collide.
Paine, Tom. Scar Vegas. Harcourt, $22 (0-15-100489-7).
Paine’s first story collection presents a trip through the modern world, populated by Haitian refugees, Seattle anarchists, and a cross-dressing marine general.
Smith, Zadie. White Teeth. Random, $24.95 (0-375-50185-1).
This exhilarating debut novel tracks three families negotiating the complex terrain of England’s postcolonial, multicultural society.
Williams, Joy. The Quick and the Dead. Knopf, $25 (0-679-44646-X).
This black comedy of contemporary American life reveals a world in which the difference between being alive and being dead is just a matter of semantics.
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf. Farrar, $25 (0-374-11119-7).
Heany brilliantly re-creates this Anglo-Saxon epic with stirring dialogue, action, and descriptions.
Kunitz, Stanley. Collected Poems. Norton, $27.95 (0-393-05030-0).
The current poet laureate’s joyous verse spans the twentieth century.
Murray, Les. Learning Human: Selected Poems. Farrar, $27 (0-374-26073-7).
Rich, lyrical lines illustrate the nature, people, and history of Australia in a generous sampling of Murray’s complex and earthy poems.
Barzun, Jacques. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present. HarperCollins, $35 (0-06-017586-9).
In clean, bright, and provocative language, a cultural critic and historian discusses trends in art, literature, music, and history over the past five centuries.
Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Simon & Schuster, $26 (0-684-86347-2).
Beneath the ironic language and edgy tone of Eggers’ account of raising his brother after his parents’ deaths is a genuine story of family love.
Fleming, Fergus. Barrow’s Boys. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (0-87113-804-2).
Fleming chronicles the harrowing adventures of nineteenth-century British explorers dispatched by Admiralty officer John Barrow to map uncharted corners of the globe.
Kaplan, Alice Yaeger. The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (0-226-42414-6).
Kaplan grippingly reconstructs a controversial post–World War II trial that sent a prominent French writer to a traitor’s death.
Ridley, Matt. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. HarperCollins, $26 (0-06-019497-9).
With clear explanations of complex biological processes, this is a fascinating tour of the molecular basis of human life and the power of genetic disposition.
Sciolino, Elaine. Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran. Free Press, $26 (0-684-86290-5).
A New York Times journalist offers a balanced and compassionate picture of the private and public lives of Iranian men and women since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Shakespeare, Nicholas. Bruce Chatwin. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $35 (0-385-49829-2).
This richly detailed, comprehensive biography of the enigmatic novelist and travel writer vividly portrays his expansive and complex world.
Thubron, Colin. In Siberia. HarperCollins, $26 (0-06-019543-6).
Thubron journeys across a vast region rich with history and culture, in search of its heart and soul.
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