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Life of Pi: 10th Anniversary Edition by Yann Martel

Life of Pi: 10th Anniversary Edition by Yann Martel

It’s difficult to believe that Yann Martel’s quirky little second book, the boy-meets-talking-tiger tale known as Life of Pi, was first published a decade ago.

Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford

Jane Goes Batty follows up 2010’s Jane Bites Back by the same author. The premise is continued, as well. Regency authoress Jane Austen long ago became a member of the undead and is now living in a small town in upstate New York.

Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford
While Mortals Sleep by Kurt Vonnegut

While Mortals Sleep by Kurt Vonnegut

Late last year when the editors of January Magazine were musing about the ten most anticipated books of 2011, While Mortals Sleep was high on the list. And why? For that stellar, questioning, much missed voice.

A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez
While the tone of A Cup of Friendship is slick and sleek, our reviewer liked the book far less than anticipated.

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi
A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear is like a beautiful, yet slightly repellant poem.

Best Books of 2010: Fiction
Of the thousands of books we talked about in 2010, here is the handful our editors liked best.

The People With No Camel by Roya Movafegh
In her debut novel Roya Movafegh shows the same sort of poetry and sensitivity that have stood her in such good stead as an artist.

The Sugar Mother and Foxybaby both by Elizabeth Jolley
Though Jolley was read widely in Australia, she never gained much of a following in the United States, despite some critical acclaim and, until recently, she had been out of print in the US for many years.

Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema
Bedtime Story is certainly Wiersema’s most ambitious work to date. There are stories within stories here. Themes within themes. The mind boggles sometimes just trying to keep up. But reader shouldn’t worry: Wiersema is skilled enough to get our attention when he wants to.

Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema

Blood Lite II: Overbite edited by Kevin J. Anderson
I am not a big fan of themed collections of short fiction. They often seem to me to be like restaurants positioned in tourist areas: with so much emphasis on location, location, location, the food is often entirely overlooked.

Spooner by Pete Dexter
Dexter is vivacious and his voice is light and bright but he manages at the same time to bring his words home with some weight. Not everyone can manage this neat feat: light and bright and weight.

Sarah Court by Craig Davidson
If your taste in fiction runs to the disturbing, dark and at least partially weird, chances are you’ve heard of ChiZine Publications -- CZP -- a young imprint that is nonetheless producing startlingly beautiful books of starkly, darkly literary quality.

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
In a publishing era when anything that even whiffs of Stieg Larssen seems to draw attention, it’s not surprising that John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2005 novel has been polished up, dusted off and has found its way back to the top of the pile.

Sandra Beck by John Lavery
John Lavery, an accomplished and acclaimed crafter of short stories, makes the transition to the longer fictional form with a novel structured not unlike some of the stories he’s told in the past. Fans will delight, however, because -- of course -- there’s a lot more of it.

Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
Susan Heyboer O’Keefe’s novel is a sequel to Mary Shelley’s classic and original Frankenstein. Heyboer O’Keefe’s novel is as much art as artifice: in many ways it’s a beautiful and stunningly original book.

For a Modest Fee by Freda Jackson
Gender equality -- and otherwise -- on the Canadian prairies is one of the major themes of For a Modest Fee. A doctor’s daughter is forced to pick up the reins he drops when he dies of a heart attack in a remote Alberta town in the summer of 1907.

Extraordinary Renditions by Andrew Ervin
Debut novelist Andrew Ervin’s clear, muscular voice never misses a step in Extraordinary Renditions, three connected stories that converge skillfully into a novel.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Freedom is at once deeply human and astonishingly thought-provoking. In the end, it provides a Tom Wolfeishly good illustration of our times.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Edith’s War by Andrew Smith
It is not widely known that, during the Second World War, thousands of Italians in Britain were interred. Edith’s War tells that story from the viewpoint of a woman in Blitz-plagued Britain.

The Exile: an Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon
One can’t help but wonder who will be the market for The Exile, the first graphic novel from mega-bestselling author Diana Gabaldon.

Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass
Whatever it is you’re expecting from Rick Bass’s most recent book, Nashville Chrome will probably be a surprise.

Philip Roth: Novels 1993-1995
The Library of America continues their publication of Philip Roth novels just as the author is about to add to his oeuvre with the publication of Nemesis which will come out early next month.

Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart
It seems ridiculous to suggest that Jane Urquhart has exceeded herself with Sanctuary Line, out this week in Canada from McClelland & Stewart and next month in the U.S. from MacAdam/Cage. And yet.

Horse, Flower, Bird by Kate Bernheimer
In 2008, I was captivated by a children’s book with a real but ephemeral edge. When the end of the year rolled around, I pegged The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum as one of my favorite books of the year. I wasn't alone: everyone loved that book, many of them for the same reasons I did: it was smart; it was beautiful; it was easy to look at, yet it didn't give it’s real meaning away easily.

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
The Kirkus review is as much as many readers will need to know. When Kirkus said that Our Tragic Universe was a “freewheeling intellectual journey with no destination,” some readers were bound to reply with excitement, others with disdain.

Juliet by Anne Fortier
Emmy Award-winning producer, Anne Fortier (Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia), here takes on one of Shakespeare’s best-loved characters with a rich and resonant result.

With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow
The only thing really surprising about With Friends Like These is how good it is. As our reviewer points out, it could, quite easily, have gone either way.

The Season of Risks by Susan Hubbard
There is something intriguing in the idea of an “ethical vampire novel.” It implies -- no states -- a moral superiority. Were other vampire novels unethical, then?

The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is best known for a staggering pile of well-researched and loved historical novels, Gregory is perhaps best known for 2002’s The Other Boleyn Girl, made into a successful movie in 2008 starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana.

Learning to Lose by David Trueba
David Trueba is only one of a cadre of contemporary Spanish novelists delivering compelling novels of luxurious length.

The Bradbury Report by Steven Polansky
Some critics have said that the science of The Bradbury Report is thin. I didn’t experience that myself but, if I did, it wouldn’t matter: that’s not Polansky’s point.

What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
When a bizarre love tangle causes 17-year-old Wyatt Hillyer’s parents to jump off different bridges within a few hours of each other, the tone of Wyatt’s life seems set. At the same time, so is his immediate course: he must pick up sticks and go to live in a small town with his uncle and aunt and their gorgeous daughter.

Delta Girls by Gayle Brandeis
There’s something spirited and satisfying in Gayle Brandeis’ prose. She pushes at language with a poet’s heart and skill, leaving us breathless and always wishing for more.

Sweet Misfortune by Kevin Alan Milne
There’s a certain dependable niceness about Kevin Alan Milne’s storytelling. You understand that there will be upset and dissent, perhaps some confusion. But no one will spend a year tortured and locked in a mountain cabin and if there’s any blood at all, it won’t be the sort that’s cheaply spilled.

Shadow of the Swords by Kamran Pasha
Like Khaled Hosseini, Kamran Pasha is offering us beautifully written glimpses into a culture those of us in the West have seldom seen depicted in quite this way.

The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner
What sort of impact does war have on the human psyche and experience? That's the territory Donna Milner tackles in her lovely sophomore novel, The Promise of Rain.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books are not in the same universe as The Passage.

The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose
In M.J. Rose’s latest outing, The Hypnotist, the most recent book in her bestselling Reincarnationist series that was also the inspiration for Past Life, the Fox television series that aired this spring.

The Vera Wright Trilogy by Elizabeth Jolley
One of Australia’s best loved authors, Elizabeth Jolley (1924-2007), was widely read and celebrated internationally, but has had limited exposure to American readers.

Doing Dangerously Well by Carole Enahoro
Broadcaster and art historian Carole Enahoro's debut is darkly, wickedly funny and deeply thought-provoking. In that regard -- in many regards -- it is a perfect book.

Shirley Jackson: Novel & Stories
The literary world of Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) was an ephemeral place, and not in a pretty way. To look through Jackson-tinted glasses is to never be quite sure what you’re looking at.

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Ruiz Zafón’s lush and gothic brand of magic realism keeps readers wondering at the breaks between fantasy and reality.

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
Mary Sharratt’s richly imagined new novel hinges on a set of historically documented witch trials that took place in 17th century England.

Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden
Molly Fox’s Birthday takes place over a single day. The title’s Molly Fox -- an actress who loathes the idea of yet another birthday -- has lent her home in Dublin to a playwright while Molly herself is working in London and New York.

Drowning Tucson by Aaron Michael Morales
Dude ranches. Golf courses. Spa culture. Wildlife. Shopping, shopping, shopping. Though Tucson, Arizona might be known for all of these things -- and more -- none of them is what Aaron Michael Morales’ powerful debut novel is about. Not even remotely.

Play Dead by Ryan Brown
Another entrant in the highly competitive zombie wars, former actor (The Young and the Restless) Ryan Brown’s debut effort, Play Dead is competent, sometimes compelling, fairly innovative and even quite funny. In the end, however, it just isn’t as good as it could have been.

Innocent by Scott Turow
Twenty-five years after Presumed Innocent, the master storyteller releases a follow-up novel.

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
In Ogawa’s latest novel to be translated in English a mother and daughter toil away in a sad old Japanese version of a Fawlty Towers of a hotel, without all the comic relief.

The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
Dexter Palmer’s debut novel is, in all ways, a beautiful book. The cover evokes a steampunk version of Metropolis. The pages are beautifully designed and deckled-edged.

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