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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 1997 through October 1998 that demonstrate wide general appeal and literary merit.
Anderson, Scott. Triage. Scribner, $23 (0-684-84695-0).
This superb debut novel, reminiscent of Hemingway’s work, deftly presents the psychological effects of war. Anderson delivers a story filled with guilt, love, and ultimately reconciliation.
Anthony, Patricia. Flanders. Berkley/Ace, $23.95 (0-441-00528-4).
In a series of letters home, Texas sharpshooter Travis Lee describes life in the trenches during World War I and his visions of impending death.
Barrett, Andrea. The Voyage of the Narwhal. Norton, $24.95 (0-393-04632-X).
Rich in historical and natural detail, filled with adventure and romance, this tale of a nineteenth-century Arctic expedition explores the effects of extreme circumstances on character.
Borge, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Tr. by Andrew Hurley. Viking, $35 (0-670-84970-7).
For the first time in English, all the intriguing and ingenious stories by the master of the magical are brought together in a new and lively translation.
Byers, Michael. The Coast of Good Intentions. Houghton/Mariner, paper, $12 (0-395-89170-1).
The lives of ordinary people fill these extraordinary stories, each distinctive, all linked by a strongly evoked setting. Assured, perceptive storytelling makes this an impressive debut.
Danticat, Edwidge. The Farming of Bones. Soho; dist. by Farrar, $23 (1-56947-126-6).
Anabelle, a Haitian servant in the Dominican Republic, recalls the 1937 slaughter of her people and her lover in this lush, sensuous depiction of a forgotten tragedy.
Hornby, Nick. About a Boy. Putnam/Riverhead, $22.95 (1-57322-087-6).
Through hilarious characterizations, Hornby crafts a sharp and insightful journey of two “boys”—Will, 36, and Marcus, 12—teaching each other to become men.
McDermott, Alice. Charming Billy. Farrar, $22 (0-374-12080-3); Delta, paper, $12.95 (0-385-33334-X).
Billy Lynch’s death prompts the unraveling of a lifelong secret in McDermott’s eloquent exploration of deception and its lingering influences on family and friends.
Moore, Lorrie. Birds of America. Knopf, $23 (0-679-44597-8).
In a wise and funny short-story collection, Moore’s protagonists cope with life’s compromises and confusions with honesty and humor.
Roth, Philip. I Married a Communist. Houghton Mifflin, $26 (0-395-93346-3).
Ira Ringold, an idealistic and larger-than-life character, embraces communism and collides with McCarthyism and the rancor of his estranged wife, Eve Frame.
Vakil, Ardashir. Beach Boy. Scribner, $22 (0-684-85299-3).
A vivid voyage into the Bombay boyhood of Cyrus Readymoney, who longs for film, food, and, ultimately, a loving family.
Doty, Mark. Sweet Machine. HarperCollins, $22 (0-06-055370-7); HarperFlamingo, paper, $12 (0-06-095256-3).
The tactile beauty of the world as well as some of its sadness are translated into luminous poetry.
Hall, Donald. Without. Houghton, $22 (0-395-88408-X); paper, $13 (0-395-95765-6).
This poignant, touching collection lovingly chronicles the death of Hall’s wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, and courageously shares his immense grief and fury.
Hughes, Ted. Tales from Ovid. Farrar, $25 (0-374-22841-8); paper, $12 (0-374-52587-0).
In this partnering of poets, Hughes transforms 24 mythic tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses into a powerful re-creation for our time.
Matthews, William. After All: Last Poems. Houghton, $20 (0-395-91340-3).
In the last collection before his death, Matthews provides unrestrained imagery and diverse viewpoints on writing, language, travel, illness, and everyday life.
Ackroyd, Peter. The Life of Thomas More. Doubleday, $30 (0-385-47709-0).
Ackroyd vividly portrays the life and times of the complex statesman and author who was martyred for refusing to follow Henry VIII’s break with Catholicism.
Berg, A. Scott. Lindbergh. Putnam, $30 (0-399-14449-8).
Masterfully written and extensively researched, this beautifully balanced biography depicts one of the twentieth century’s most controversial, famous, and yet private of men.
Branch, Taylor. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–65. Simon & Schuster, $30 (0-684-80819-6); paper, $17 (0-684-84809-0).
In the second volume of his epic trilogy, Branch captures the climatic struggles of the civil rights movement and its leaders at their zenith.
Chernow, Ron. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Random, $30 (0-679-43808-4).
Chernow draws a comprehensive and objective portrait of the founder of Standard Oil, including his business practices, family life, and devotion to philanthropy.
Clapp, Nicholas. The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands. Houghton, $24 (0-395-87596-X); Mariner, paper, $14 (0-395-95786-9).
This is a fascinating first-person account of amateur archaeologists’ quest for the lost, mythic Arabian city of Ubar, using camels, computers, and NASA photos.
Gorney, Cynthia. Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars. Simon & Schuster, $27.50 (0-684-80904-4).
Gorney chronicles Missouri’s 20-year battle over abortion from the perspectives of a pro-choice nurse and a pro-life minister, with a deep respect for both viewpoints.
Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Houghton, $26 (0-395-75924-2).
This is a harrowing account of how King Leopold II of Belgium plundered the Congo and suppressed the human-rights activists who tried to wake the world to the tragedy.
Kinder, Gary. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. Atlantic Monthly; dist. by Publishers Group West, $27.50 (0-87113-464-0).
This true-life treasure hunt begins with the 1857 sinking of a gold-laden steamship and ends 130 years later with its amazing recovery by engineer and inventor Tommy Thompson.
Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind. Simon & Schuster, $25 (0-684-81906-6).
The worlds of mathematics and mental illness come together in a fascinating portrait of John Forbes Nash Jr., whose brilliant career, interrupted by schizophrenia in his 20s, culminated in his winning the Nobel Prize for Economics 30 years later.
Suskind, Ron. A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League. Broadway, $25 (0-7679-0125-8).
Upon graduation, Cedric Jennings, a hard-working black student, escapes from a demoralizing high school only to learn that success requires more than dreams and desire.
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