List for 2001
The Notable Books Council of the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, selected these titles for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers.
F I C T I O N
The Blind Assassin, Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $26.00 (ISBN: 0-8021-1658-2). Atwood expertly interweaves a science-fiction novella with incidents from octogenarian Iris Chase Griffen’s past and present.
Don't Tell Anyone, Norton, $25.00 (ISBN: 0-3930-4973-6). This exemplary collection of sixteen stories and one novella––exploring loss, love, and loneliness in American family life––confirms Busch’s reputation as one of America’s finest storytellers.
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Random, $26.95 (ISBN: 0-6794-5004-1). 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 (ISBN: 0-1402-90640-9). This spare and disturbing novel about Professor David Lurie’s out-of-control life is set against the stark realities of contemporary South Africa.
Being Dead, Farrar Straus and Giroux, $26.96 (ISBN: 0-3741-1013-1). The story of Celice and Joseph’s love is revealed in flashbacks as they lay dead on a seaside dune.
Last Samurai, Hyperion, $24.95 (ISBN: 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
Delinquent Virgin, Graywolf, paper, $14.00, (ISBN: 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.
Truth and Bright Water, Atlantic Monthly, $24.00 (ISBN: 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.
English Passengers, Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $25.00, (ISBN: 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.
Living to Tell, Scribner, $24.00 (ISBN: 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.
Anil's Ghost, Knopf $25.00 (ISBN: 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.
Scar Vegas, Harcourt Brace $22.00 (ISBN: 0-15-1004889-7). Paine’s first story collection presents a trip through the modern world, populated by Haitian refugees, Seattle anarchists, and a cross-dressing marine general.
White Teeth, Random $24.95 (ISBN: 0-375-50185-1). This exhilarating debut novel tracks three families negotiating the complex terrain of England’s postcolonial, multicultural society.
The Quick and the Dead, Knopf $25.00 (ISBN: 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.
N O N F I C T I O N
From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present, HarperCollins, $36.00 (ISBN: 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.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Simon & Schuster $23.00 (ISBN: 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.
Barrow's Boys, Atlantic Monthly, $26.00 (ISBN: 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,
Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach, University of Chicago, $20.00 (ISBN: 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.
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, HarperCollins, $26.00 (ISBN: 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.
Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, Free Press $26.00 (ISBN: 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.
Bruce Chatwin, Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $35.00 (ISBN: 0-385-49829-2). This richly detailed, comprehensive biography of the enigmatic novelist and travel writer vividly portrays his expansive and complex world.
In Siberia, HarperCollins $26.00 (ISBN: 0-06-019543-6). Thubron journeys across a vast region rich with history and culture, in search of its heart and soul.
P O E T R Y
Beowulf: A New Translation, Farrar, $25.00 (ISBN: 0-374-11119-7). Heany brilliantly re-creates this Anglo-Saxon epic with stirring dialogue, action, and descriptions.
Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz, Norton, $27.95 (ISBN: 0-393-05030-0). The current poet laureate’s joyous verse spans the twentieth century.
Learning Human: Selected Poems, Farrar, $27.00 (ISBN: 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.