[Last week on our blog, National Book Critics Circle president John Freeman shared the NBCC's picks for its "Most Recommended" list, along with some of the voters' comments on the titles they picked. Here are some more.]
What is wonderful about this novel is that the narrator can feel the Norwegian landscape her grew up in and what happened there — he feels it as intimately as a blind man reading braille or touching the face of his wife to feel her expression.
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Poet Daisy Fried on her choices:
Language Poetry has a reputation for arcane difficulty, but the poetry of Ron Silliman, a leading Language poet, is alert to the world, full of reality and human experience, and written with the kind of easy precision that refreshes the ear. The Age of Huts (Compleat) brings together segments previously published separately. Each section attacks a different problem with a different technique. The overall ambition of the book to shift language and perception makes it feel like a grand modernist project in contemporary idiom — with a sense of fun.
Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End is written in the first person plural — and amazingly, it works. This is a book about work which is neither dirt-under-the-fingernails socialist realism or bratty-chick-lit-entitlement-novel-with-facile-happy-ending. Ferris writes with great satirical force about how we earn our money in the 21st Century, and, even more important, has enormous empathy for even his most annoying characters.
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt's The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is a book full of information which proposes that a group of people and organizations, not all of them Jewish, work for different reasons, more or less in unison, for interests that are not necessarily identical to those of the United States. It's been attacked as anti-Semitic by people whose arguments generally go like this: "There is no Jewish lobby. Why shouldn't there be a Jewish lobby? It's not that powerful. No one accuses all critics of Israel of anti-Semitism. The authors of The Israel Lobby are anti-Semitic." An important book that ought to be intelligently discussed instead of emotionally, and sophistically, attacked.
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Now we want to hear from YOU, dear readers! Which books do you recommend most, and why?
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post