introducing readers to writers since 1995

March 20, 2004

And the Book Club Organizers Are Off...

by Ron Hogan

The New York Public Library announced its selection of 25 "books to remember" from 2003 yesterday morning. If I'd known about the reception, I might have gotten up early to rub shoulders with the likes of Matthew Pearl, Andrew Meier, Caroline Alexander, Ken Kalfus, and David Von Drehle.

The books on the list were selected for their "literary excellence, aesthetic appeal, uniqueness of concept and command of subject matter." (Aesthetic appeal? What, the dust jacket was pretty? The typeface is nice? What?) Seven librarians start out by reading a ton of book reviews, from which they select 100 or so books to read, and then they hash it out amongst themselves. Relying on the book reviews to get past the first round sounds a little hinky (whose do you use?), but I suppose you have to start somewhere.

This year's NYPL Books to Remember, and where you'll find them in a library using the Dewey catalog system:

Alabanza: New and Selected Poems, 1982–2002
Martín Espada; W.W. Norton; 811 E

All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
Stephen Kinzer; John Wiley & Sons; 955.053 K

Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall
Andrew Meier; W.W. Norton; 914.7048 M

The Bounty: The True Story of Mutiny on the Bounty
Caroline Alexander; Viking; 996.18 A

Brick Lane: A Novel
Monica Ali; Scribner; Fic A

The Coffee Trader: A Novel
David Liss; Random House; Fic L

The Commissariat of Enlightenment: A Novel
Ken Kalfus; Ecco; Fic K

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon; Doubleday; Fic H

The Dante Club: A Novel
Matthew Pearl; Random House; Fic P

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino
Emily W. Leider; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; B Valentino L

Dry: A Memoir
Augusten Burroughs; St. Martin’s Press; B Burroughs

The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
Chandler Burr; Random House; 612.86 B

A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies: Stories
John Murray; HarperCollins; Fic M

The Final Confession of Mabel Stark: A Novel
Robert Hough; Atlantic Monthly Press; Fic H

Robert Hughes; Alfred A. Knopf; B Goya H

I’m Not Scared
Niccolò Ammaniti; Canongate; Fic A

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
William Taubman; W.W. Norton; B Khrushchev T

Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling
Ross King; Walker & Co.; 759.5 K

Mountains Beyond Mountains
Tracy Kidder; Random House; B Farmer K

My Life as a Fake
Peter Carey; Alfred A. Knopf; Fic C
A wildly inventive novel about an audacious hoax and its nightmarish aftermath.

Star of the Sea
Joseph O’Connor; Harcourt; Fic O

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Mary Roach; W.W. Norton; 611 R

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
David Von Drehle; Atlantic Monthly Press; 974.7104 V

The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems
Charles Simic; Harcourt; 811 S

The Way to Paradise
Mario Vargas Llosa; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Fic V


mine were well by matthew mcintosh, super flat times by matthew derby and the pleasure of my company by steve martin! (in some respects a companion to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon mentioned above.

Posted by: drk at March 22, 2004 04:42 PM
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