Robinson & Turow

Congratulations to Top Ten contributor Roxana Robinson, who has been elected President of the Authors Guild. She replaces another contributor, Scott Turow.

“American writing is alive and well. There is no question about the vitality of our literary community or the vitality of the literary impulse in the United States. There will always be authors, there will always books,” Mr. Turow said at the meeting. “We need to continue the struggle in order to protect writing as a livelihood.”

Porter Shreve

Our 160th list (!) comes from Porter Shreve, whose latest novel, his fourth, is a splendid book about books that seems straight out of (or straight into?) Top Ten Land. The novelist Brock Clarke says it is “a remarkable novel about the huge promises fathers and sons, writers and readers, books and characters make to each other,” while the writer Antonya Nelson compares it Michael Cunningham’s homage to Virginia Woolf, The Hours.

Elizabeth Spencer

Writers are not like wine; most do not improve with age. For many, their first book is their best; others hit their height mid-career. The number who reach their peak – or rediscover it – in old age is vanishingly small.

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is back with an “ultra-contemporary novel” that deploys his gift for empathy to explore love, sadness, sexuality, ethnicity and art across two decades among a group of upper-middle class resident of Connecticut.

Paul Auster

Top Ten contributor Paul Auster earns a rave from Sarah Manguso in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review.

Here’s the opening: “Writing multiple novels is generally considered a triumph, writing multiple memoirs a somewhat shameful habit. Still, I’ve never heard anyone sniff about Paul Auster’s autobiographical recidivism; perhaps his 16 acclaimed novels compensate for it. In any case, on the basis of his five memoirs alone, Auster should be recognized as one of the great American prose stylists of our time.

Roxana Robinson

Literature allows us to enter another person’s mind. Often, it is the same one – the writer’s, refracted and bent through characters who, nevertheless, often have too much in common.

Roxana Robinson’s work is an effort to shatter the constraints of consciousness, bringing readers inside the head of radically different characters, from the artist Georgia O’Keeffe in a nonfiction biography to a young heroin addict and his parents in her 2008 novel, Cost.