December 31, 2005

Voices of the Generations

TIME (July 10th, 2006) contemplated which writers were (and which contemporary writers might become) the "voice of a generation" ... then concludes that the voice of a generation is not necessarily the best writer of a generation. TIME writer Lev Grossman also acknowleges that the "list" is largely populated by Western White Guys. Still, it's an interesting list ...

1925 F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
1926 Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises
1951 JD Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
1957 Jack Kerouac - On the Road
1961 Joseph Heller - Catch-22
1969 Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five
1984 Jay McInerney - Bright Lights, Big City
1985 Bret Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero
1991 Douglas Coupland - Generation X

Contemporary candidates (40 and younger)

Jhumpa Lahiri - The Namesake and her short story collection
Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Colson Whitehead - The Intuitionist
Edwidge Danticat - Breath, Eyes, Memory
Dave Eggers - You Shall Know Our Velocity
Arthur Phillips - Prague
Curtis Sittenfeld - Prep
Myla Goldberg - Bee Season
Nicole Krauss - The History of Love
Gary Shteyngart - Absurdistan

Zadie Smith - On Beauty
Monica Ali - Brick Lane
David Mitchell - Black Green Swan
Sam Lipsyte
Kelly Link

"Best American Fiction in Last 25 Years"

In 2006, the New York Times asked authors, critics and editors to identify "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.

These are their selections.

Classic Comic Novels

From cultural critic Roger Kimball, as printed in the WSJ 3/11/06

Leave It to Psmith - PG Wodehouse
Scoop - Evelyn Waugh
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House - Eric Hodgins
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Belles Lettres Papers - Charles Simmons

Best Books 2005

From the New York Times

Fiction author KAFKA ON THE SHORE
By Haruki Murakami.
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95.
This graceful and dreamily cerebral novel, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, tells two stories - that of a boy fleeing an Oedipal prophecy, and that of a witless old man who can talk to cats - and is the work of a powerfully confident writer.
First Chapter
Featured Author author


By Zadie Smith.
Penguin Press, $25.95.
In her vibrant new book, a cultural-politics novel set in a place like Harvard, the author of ''White Teeth'' brings everything to the table: a crisp intellect, a lovely wit and enormous sympathy for the men, women and children who populate her story.
Review author


By Curtis Sittenfeld.
Random House, $21.95. Paper, $13.95.
This calm and memorably incisive first novel, about a scholarship girl who heads east to attend an elite prep school, casts an unshakable spell and has plenty to say about class, sex and character.
First Chapter author


By Ian McEwan.
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26.
As bracing and as carefully constructed as anything McEwan has written, this astringent novel traces a day in the life of an English neurosurgeon who comes face to face with senseless violence.
First Chapter
Featured Author author


By Mary Gaitskill.
Pantheon Books, $23.
This mesmerizingly dark novel from the author of ''Bad Behavior'' and ''Two Girls, Fat and Thin'' is narrated by a former Paris model who is now sick and poor; her ruminations on beauty and cruelty have clarity and an uncanny bite.


America in Iraq

By George Packer.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.
A comprehensive look at the largest foreign policy gamble in a generation, by a New Yorker reporter who traces the full arc of the war, from the pre-invasion debate through the action on the ground.
First Chapter
George Packer Answers Readers' Questions author

An American Master

By Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan.
Alfred A. Knopf, $35.
A sweeping biography, impressively researched and absorbingly written, of the charismatic immigrant who stood at the vortex of mid-20th-century American art.
Slide Show

By Jonathan Harr.
Random House, $24.95.
This gripping narrative, populated by a beguiling cast of scholars, historians, art restorers and aging nobles, records the search for Caravaggio's ''Taking of Christ,'' painted in 1602 and rediscovered in 1990.
First Chapter author

A History of Europe Since 1945
By Tony Judt.
The Penguin Press, $39.95.
Judt's massive, learned, brilliantly detailed account of Europe's recovery from the wreckage of World War II presents a whole continent in panorama even as it sets off detonations of insight on almost every page.

By Joan Didion.
Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95.
A prose master's harrowing yet exhilarating memoir of a year riven by sudden death (her husband's) and mortal illness (their only child's).
A Profile of Joan Didion
Audio: An Interview
Featured Author
An Essay Adapted From 'The Year of Magical Thinking'