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Francine Prose

Top Ten contributor Francine Prose is not only a wonderful fiction writer, she is also a superb critic and essayist. All of her skills are on display in her review of Paul Theroux’s new story collection, Mr Bones, in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

Her review begins: “Near the conclusion of John Cheever’s ... read more ...

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The Book: The Top Ten

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his is the best of times and the worst of times for passionate readers. We are living in a Golden Age, as online retailers make millions of books just a click away. Never before have so many works been within such easy reach. But when anything is possible, choice becomes torture. What to pick? Where to start? This one? That one? How about this—and that? What will I like? What's worth my time?

To answer these questions, we turned to the experts, asking 125 top American and British authors to list their 10 favorite works of fiction of all time. The results were published in "The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books." Edited by J. Peder Zane, "The Top Ten" is the ultimate guide to the world's greatest books. As Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Margaret Drabble, Michael Chabon, Peter Carey and others celebrate the books that have meant the most to them, you'll be reminded of books you love and introduced to works awaiting your discovery.

This Website is expanding the book. In addition to posting annotated versions of all 125 lists from "The Top Ten," we are gathering new lists from prominent authors. We are highlighting lists submitted by our readers — maybe even yours! And our blog will include updates on the wrld of classic books. Through it all we will help you answer that most pressing literary question: What should I read next?

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Francine Prose

Top Ten contributor Francine Prose is not only a wonderful fiction writer, she is also a superb critic and essayist. All of her skills are on display in her review of Paul Theroux’s new story collection, Mr Bones, in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

David Mitchell

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence; a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq; a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list; a teenage runaway who is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena; a cabal of dangerous mystics and their enemies – these are some of the characters in David Mitchell’s acclaimed new novel, The Bone Clocks.

Mary Gordon

“Ever since her stunning debut novel Final Payments in 1978,” Fran Hawthorne writes in The National Journal, “Mary Gordon has been one of the premier fiction writers in the US, although too often pigeonholed as an “Irish Catholic” author.

Lev Grossman

It seems fitting that Lev Grossman would receive a dream review in the New York Times Book Review for the final volume of his fantasy trilogy:

Amy Bloom

Please help us welcome Amy Bloom to Top Ten Land. The celebrated novelist and short story writer is joining us at a high point: She is receiving warm reviews for her second novel, Lucky Us.

 

Sara Gruen

It’s a Top Ten role-reversal - not once, nor twice, but thrice! – in the New York Times Book Review as famous authors don their critic’s caps.

Jonathan Lethem

 

Jonathan Lethem is something better than talented and brilliant – he’s interesting and surprising. This helps explain his latest project, editing and slightly recasting a novel by a talented yet largely unheralded author, Fridays at Enrico’s by Don Carpenter.

Alan Furst

Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa prepare for war.

Stephen King

In our seen it all world, you have to break a few conventions to make a hard-boiled detective novel.

Stephen King does just that in his new novel, Mr. Mercedes. It features a retired cop with a cold case as mesmerizing as a hot dame. In ways that resonate that with today’s headlines of serial killers and random massacres, King’s hero, Bill Hodges, is seeking a mystery man who drove a stolen luxury German automobile into a crowd, killing eight strangers for no apparent reason.

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New List

Michael Chabon

1. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (1964).
2.Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962).
3. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (1921).
4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813).
6. Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1836–47).
7. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
8. Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667).
9. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985).
10. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (1953).

Classic List

Michael Cunningham

1. King Lear by William Shakespeare (1605).
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857).
3. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1855–91).
4. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927).
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925).
6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955).
7. Dubliners by James Joyce (1916).
8. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930).
9. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898).
10. The stories of Flannery O’Connor (for their unerring narrative focus) (1925–64).

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