Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Times's Notable Books of 2008

The New York Times has just listed their 100 "Notable" books of the year -- though they note that their year runs from Dec 2, 2007, when they did the list the last time, to November 26, 2008, which sounds like slightly less than a year to me. And, at this rate, the Times will have to have a Leap Notable Books in 2055.

Among their notable fiction books are Victor Pelevin's The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, a new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in verse by Simon Armitage, Robert Bolano's 2666, and John Updike's The Widows of Eastwick.

(That Updike novel, by the way, almost won him the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award for this year, and did get him a special lifetime-achievement citation for passages such as this:
"She said nothing then, her lovely mouth otherwise engaged, until he came, all over her face. She had gagged, and moved him outside her lips, rubbing his spurting glans across her cheeks and chin, God, she was antique, but here they were. Her face gleamed with his jism in the spotty light of the motel room, there on the far end of East Beach, within sound of the sea." That's how you have to write to be notable to the Times.)

On the nonfiction side, there are actually a couple of books I've read -- Julian Barnes's Nothing to Be Frightened Of and Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic -- along with one I keep thinking I should read, David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague.

But, as usual, nothing published explicitly in a fiction genre made it onto the list -- I'd bet that no books like that were even considered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Updike scene is pretty damn notable. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

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