2002 List

notable books collection for 2002

The 2002 List

Nonfiction   |    Poetry

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.


cover of true history of the kelly gang Carey, Peter, True History of the Kelly Gang, Knopf, $25 (ISBN: 0-375-41084-8)
In an utterly convincing voice, Carey fictionalizes the life of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, who was part Robin Hood and part Jesse James.

cover of among the missing Chaon, Dan, Among the Missing, Ballantine, $22 (ISBN: 0-345-44162-1)
These twelve disquieting stories explore variations on the theme of loss (of friends, loved ones, places, and possibilities) and the loneliness at the heart of life.

cover of samuel johson is indignant Davis, Lydia, Samuel Johnson Is Indignant: Stories, McSweeney's, $16 (ISBN: 0-9703355-9-8)
In a collection of fifty-six short fictions, ranging in length from two lines to twenty pages, Davis wittily creates a world of alienation, confusion, and resignation.

cover of erasure Everett, Percival, Erasure: A Novel, UP New England, $24.95 (ISBN: 1-58465-090-7)
Theolonius "Monk" Ellison exposes the publishing world's hand in stereotyping African Americans for the sake of profit in this daring literary game of poker.

cover of the corrections Franzen, Jonathan, The Corrections: A Novel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 (ISBN: 0-374-12998-3)
All the foibles of three grown children and their aging parents are exposed in this highly readable postmodern family saga.

cover of the pickup Gordimer, Nadine, The Pickup: A Novel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24 (ISBN: 0-374-23210-5)
A liberal white South African woman and her lover, a Muslim illegal immigrant, confront the difficulties arising from their different backgrounds, circumstances, and dreams.

cover of the island MacLeod, Alistair, Island: The Complete Stories, Norton, $24 (ISBN: 0-393-05035-1)
The texture of rural life in the second half of twentieth-century Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, infuses these beautiful stories.

cover of bucking the tiger Olds, Bruce, Bucking the Tiger, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25 (ISBN: 0-374-11727-6)
This fictional collage picturing the life of Doc Holliday--constructed from newspaper clippings, interviews, poetry, and personal narrative--is ultimately a meditation on the Old West.

cover of austerlitz Sebald, W.G., Austerlitz, Random House, $25.95 (ISBN: 0-375-50483-4)
In this moving rumination on history and memory, an architectural historian must reconstruct his past when he discovers his true identity.

cover of death of vishnu Suri, Manil, The Death of Vishnu, Norton, $24.95 (ISBN: 0-393-05042-4)
As Hindu servant Vishnu lies dying and ignored on the landing of a Bombay apartment building, life in all its complexities continues for the residents upstairs.

cover of crooked river burning Winegardner, Mark, Crooked River Burning, Harcourt, $27 (ISBN: 0-15-100294-0)
Set in 1950s and 1960s Cleveland, Ohio, this highly entertaining novel charts the rise and fall of an aging industrial center and profiles its inhabitants, both real and imagined.





cover of american chica Arana, Marie, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, Dial, $23.95 (ISBN: 0-385-31962-2)
Recalling her childhood as the daughter of a Peruvian father and an American mother, Arana demonstrates how these competing cultures complicated yet enriched her life.

cover of aztec treasure house Connell, Evan, Aztec Treasure House: New and Selected Essays, Counterpoint, $28 (ISBN: 1-58243-162-0)
Weaving art and science, these brilliantly crafted essays bring the far corners of history and geography alive in the reader's imagination.

cover of unexpected light Elliot, Jason, An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan, Picador, $30 (ISBN: 0-312-27459-9)
Afghanistan's resilient people occupy center stage in Elliot's personal and vivid journey through this devastated and complex land.

cover of war in time of peace Halberstam, David, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals, Scribner, $28 (ISBN: 0-7432-0212-0)
Clear, cogent, and engaging, Halberstam's masterful account of the making of U.S. foreign policy in the 1990s provides a context for understanding contemporary events.

cover of going up the river Hallinan, Joseph T., Going up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, Random House, $24.95 (ISBN: 0-375-50263-7)
This thorough, clear, and riveting expose offers a powerful examination of the American prison industrial complex.

cover of river town Hessler, Peter, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, HarperCollins, $26 (ISBN: 0-06-019544-4)
Hessler, with compassion, humor, and keen insight into modern Chinese culture, describes his two years teaching in rural Fuling as a Peace Corps volunteer.

cover of seabiscuit Hillenbrand, Laura, Seabiscuit: an American Legend, Random House, $24.95 (ISBN: 0-375-50291-2)
Well paced and rich with period details, this absorbing account follows the rise of an unimpressive colt who became the 1938 Horse of the Year.

cover of breast cancer wars Lerner, Barron H., The Breast Cancer Wars: Hope, Fear & the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century America, Oxford, $30 (ISBN: 0-19-514261-6)
Lerner presents a comprehensive history of breast cancer research and treatment, beginning with the radical mastectomy.

cover of crossing over Martinez, Ruben, Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, Metropolitan, $26 (ISBN: 0-8050-4908-8)
The story of the Chavez family's loss of three sons in a border crossing humanizes the political and economic forces behind the migrant experience.

cover of john adams McCullough, David, John Adams, Simon & Schuster, $35 (ISBN: 0-684-81363-7)
Narrative history at its finest, this is a fascinating and readable biography of the often disregarded second president.

cover of fast food nation Schlosser, Eric, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Houghton, $25 (ISBN: 0-395-97789-4)
Schlosser's scathing investigation reveals the insidious influences of the fast-food industry on America's agriculture industry, business world, popular culture, and diet.

cover of grant Smith, Jean Edward, Grant, Simon & Schuster, $35 (ISBN: 0-684-94926-7)
This lucid, fast-paced account of Grant's military and political career gives a new understanding of the eighteenth president.

cover of the noonday demon Solomon, Andrew, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Scribner, $28 (ISBN: 0-684-85466-X)
The author draws on his own life story and other sources for a deeply moving and provocative exploration of depression.





cover of sailing alone around the room Collins, Billy, Sailing Alone around the Room: New and Selected Poems, Random House, $21.95 (ISBN: 0-375-50380-3)
The U.S. poet laureate illuminates the landscape of the ordinary with humor and intelligence.

cover of what the ice gets Mueller, Melinda, What the Ice Gets: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1916, Van West, $14 (ISBN: 0-9677021-1-9)
Mueller's epic poem of adventure and exploration recalls the beauty and dangers of this legendary voyage.






Notable Books, 2002, committee members: Bonnier Farrier, chair, New York Public Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped; Andrea Copeland, Hunter College Library (NY); Ann M. Dewell, Tulane University Law Library (LA); Iva Freeman, Kendall College Library (IL); David Hellman, San Francisco State University, J. Paul Leonard Library (CA); Nancy Pearl, Seattle (WA) Public Library; Ike Pulver, Cleveland (OH) Public Library; Ginny C. Rollett, Edmonds Library, Seattle (WA); Wayne Roylance, Brooklyn (NY) Public Library; Marian R. Shilstone, Connecticut College, Shain Library; Sarah Barbara Watstein, VCU Libraries, James Branch Cabell Library, Richmond (VA); and Brad Hooper, consultant, Booklist, Chicago, IL.

photo of the members of the notable books council.
From right to left... Ann Dewell, Nancy Pearl, Andrea Copeland, Marian Shilstone, Ginny Rollett, Iva Freeman, A. Issac Pulver, Bonnie Farrier (Chair), Sarah Watstein, Wayne Roylance (Vice Chair), David Hellman.