Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ten best books of social concern by journalists

From Judith Paterson's list of the 10 best books of social concern by journalists, in the American Journalism Review (September 1994):
The Broken Cord
by Michael Dorris (1989)

This bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award introduced the public to the damaging set of birth defects caused by alcohol consumption by pregnant women. Though the effects of maternal drinking constitute the largest preventable cause of birth defects and mental retardation in the United States, at the time the book was written few people had heard of either fetal alcohol syndrome or the less severe fetal alcohol effect. Dorris wraps the facts about the affliction around the tragic story of its impact on his adopted American Indian son.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Five best historical mysteries

David B. Rivkin, Jr., a Washington-based lawyer who has served in the Justice Department, named a five best list of historical mystery novels for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
Alexandria
by Lindsey Davis
St. Martin's/Minotaur, 2009

Set during the first-century reign of the Roman emperor Vespasian, Lindsey Davis's "Alexandria" is an especially captivating entry in the historical-mystery series featuring Vespasian's "informer," sleuth extraordinaire Marcus Didius Falco. This time around, trouble finds Falco even when he is on a family vacation in Alexandria. Shortly after he dines with the head of Alexandria's renowned library, the librarian is found dead. Other mysterious deaths among the city's intelligentsia follow. As he begins digging into the case, the practical-minded Falco casts a sardonic eye on decadent Egyptian life in a city where people "picked pockets, exchanged goods, held assignations, complained about Roman taxes, insulted other sects, insulted their in-laws, cheated and fornicated." The novel offers many memorable elements, including a fine corpse-dissection scene and a monstrous man-eating Nile crocodile that terrorizes the city. One of Davis's virtues is the way she roots her tales in ancient times even as she adds sly modern touches; in "Alexandria" she lampoons today's universities with a hilarious portrayal of academia circa A.D. 75, replete with rancorous board meetings, pretentious intellectual wrangling and petty professional jealousies.
Read about the other books on the list.

Alexandria
is Davis' 19th novel featuring Marcus Didius Falco (born AD41). Read the Page 99 Test for the 18th Falco novel, Saturnalia.

See Davis' top 10 list of Roman books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 26, 2010

Five favorite books of New York stories

Joanna Smith Rakoff is the author of the novel A Fortunate Age, which was a New York Times Editors' Pick, a winner of the Elle Readers' Prize, a selection of Barnes and Noble's First Look Book Club, an IndieNext pick, and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. As a journalist and critic, she's written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post Book World, the Boston Globe, Vogue, Time Out New York, O: The Oprah Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. Her poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals.

She named her five favorite books of New York stories for C.M. Mayo's "Madam Mayo" blog. One title on the list:
The White Rose, Jean Hanff Korelitz.

I’ve written elsewhere about Korelitz’s latest novel, Admission, which is perhaps my favorite novel of 2009. Like Admission, The White Rose is a novel of manners, set primarily on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—and its eastern and northern colonies, the Hamptons and the Berkshires—among the wealthy German Jews and the nouveau riche who aspire to their social status. Though it’s based on the Strauss opera, Der Rosenkavalier, it reads more like a contemporary gloss on Wharton: A childless Columbia professor, Marian Kahn, at 48 has fallen crashingly—- and, she fears, absurdly—- in love with her best friend’s son, 26-year-old Oliver, who has also becomes—- through a series of absurdities—- the object of her closeted cousin Barton’s affections. Complications ensue. Korelitz perfectly captures the fabric of a particular segment of the city and a very specific sort of class yearning.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 69 Test: A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Top 10 portrayals of working life in fiction

Aifric Campbell is the author of The Semantics of Murder and The Loss Adjustor.

For the Guardian, she named a top ten list of favorite jobs in fiction. One item on her list:
Estate agent
The Sportswriter / Independence Day / The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

You will see your estate agent, or "realtor", in completely different light when you get to know Frank Bascombe who has "lived to face down regret". His young son dies, his early literary success evaporates, he gets divorced and observes New Jersey and the human condition with grace and humour, often from behind the wheel of his car. Viciously funny and incredibly moving, I have re-read my copy of The Sportswriter so many times that the pages are falling apart.
Read about the other books/jobs on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The 20 best science fiction books of the noughties

Annalee Newitz and io9 came up with a list of the 20 best science fiction books of the last decade.

One book on the list:
Acacia: The War with the Mein, by David Anthony Durham (Doubleday)

According to the Washington Post:
From the first pages of Acacia, Durham, a respected historical novelist, demonstrates that he is a master of the fantasy epic. He quickly sets out in broad strokes the corrupt world that these unwitting children have been raised to rule. For 22 generations, the Akarans have presided over the empire of Acacia. And for 22 generations, they've sent a yearly shipment of child slaves to mysterious traders beyond their borders, "with no questions asked, no conditions imposed on what they did with them, and no possibility that the children would ever see Acacia again." In exchange, the Akarans get "mist," a drug that guarantees their subjects' "labor and submission." ... Durham sacrifices nothing — not psychological acuity, not political complexity, not lyrical phrases — as he drives the plot of this gripping book forward. The names of people and places sound as if they've been recalled from a dusty past, not cobbled from J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, a far too common practice among fantasy writers. Tropes that sound outlandish — "dream-travel," for one — are credible in Durham's telling. And the story always surprises. Characters that seem poised to take center stage are killed abruptly. Evil often triumphs.
This is the first novel in Durham's planned Acacian Trilogy. The second novel, The Other Lands, has recently been published and the third is on the way.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Acacia (Acacia, Book 1).

The Other Lands
is one of Amazon's top 10 Science Fiction & Fantasy books for 2009.

The Page 69 Test: Acacia: The Other Lands.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Six best books on rethinking of the rules of artistic appropriation

David Shields’s new book, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, is:
an ars poetica for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists who, living in an unbearably artificial world, are breaking ever larger chunks of “reality” into their work. The questions Shields explores—the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real—play out constantly around us, and Reality Hunger is a rigorous, radical reframing of how we might think about this “truthiness”: about literary license, quotation, and appropriation in television, film, performance art, rap, and graffiti, in lyric essays, prose poems, and collage novels.
For The Week magazine, he named six books that inspired the project. One title on the list:
Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy

Rather like Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man in that the art consists of taking someone else’s material and reframing it. Lesy juxtaposes photographs and historical documents from turn-of-the-20th-century Jackson County, Wisc., to create what he calls “an experiment in both history and alchemy”—the alchemy being Lesy’s transformation of American pastoral into a nightmare out of Munch.
Read about the other books on Shields's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ten of the best monsters in literature

At the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best monsters in literature.

One monster on the list:
Cyclops

The best monsters want to eat you. In The Odyssey, the Cyclops is a one-eyed giant with a taste for human flesh. Polyphemus, a monstrous son of Poseidon, is the scariest of all. He imprisons Odysseus and several of his men in his cave, killing and eating a couple of them each day. Odysseus manages to get him drunk and blind him with a red-hot stake.
The Odyssey also made Mullan's list ten of the best shipwrecks in literature.

Read about the other monsters on Mullan's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Benjamin Zephaniah's six best books

Benjamin Zephaniah is a well-known British poet.

He named his six best books for the Daily Express.

One book on his list:
Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution
by Adrian Desmond and James Moore

This is special because while everyone knows about Darwin very few people know about the anti-slavery stance he took in his life. He was years ahead of his time in this respect.
Read about the other titles on Zephaniah's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Five best books about British military deception

Nicholas Rankin is the author of A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars (2009).

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about British military deception.

One title on the list:
'Blinker' Hall
by David Ramsay
Spellmount, 2008

As David Ramsay recounts in this fascinating biography, Britain's Machiavellian director of naval intelligence in World War I, Reginald "Blinker" Hall, was a man whose talent for tricks and bribes made the U.S. ambassador consider him "the one genius that the war has developed." Hall's organization, working out of Room 40 in the Admiralty offices, "tapped the air" for German wireless messages and scanned diplomatic cables. The codebreakers' greatest coup came in 1917 with the interception and deciphering of "the Zimmermann telegram," a secret message from Germany to the Mexican government offering money and the return of the American Southwest if the Mexicans would help wage war on the U.S. The furor that ensued after the message's contents were revealed helped impel the U.S. into the war, thus clinching final victory for the British and their allies.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 19, 2010

Amanda Donohoe's 6 best books

Amanda Donohoe played LA Law’s bisexual lawyer CJ Lamb on TV and has appeared in such movies as The Madness of King George and Liar Liar.

She told Britain's Daily Express about her six best books. One title on the list:
The White Queen
by Philippa Gregory

Gregory is particularly palatable as a writer of historical fiction because she is also a historian. The facts are there but they are embellished in a fabulous way. This is about the War of the Roses and she makes all those complex characters understandable. I wish she’d been around when I was studying for my history O level.
Read about the other books on Donohoe's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 14 best books you missed in the last decade

One title from The Daily Beast's list of the 14 best books you missed in the last decade:
Tokyo Year Zero
by David Peace

David Peace is fast becoming a British Institution. His books are more or less routinely hailed by the London critics. They go on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. And then they're made into acclaimed films and television dramas. But, even over here, his Tokyo Year Zero seems to get treated like a footnote, a minor work. For my money, though, it's his best novel yet: a crime thriller whose beat is the fear and anguish of post-war, post-Hiroshima, post-Nagasaki Japan. The question it asks: Can anything rise from the rubble?
Read about the other books on the list.

See David Peace's Literary Top 10.

Read Ali Karim's interview with David Peace at The Rap Sheet.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Top ten unreliable narrators

Henry Sutton's novels include the critically acclaimed Gorleston and The Housesitter, and the newly released Get Me Out of Here. For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of novels with unreliable narrators.

One book on the list:
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

Never straight with himself, let alone the ladies and gentlemen of the jury to whom he is ultimately addressing his words, Humbert Humbert arrived halfway through the 20th century, intent on justifying his appalling crime. Nabokov's syntactical genius is the one true triumph.
Read about the other novels on Sutton's list.

Lolita also appears among Adam Leith Gollner's top ten fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top 10 list, Monica Ali's ten favorite books, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Six favorite road books: Ted Conover

Ted Conover’s new book is The Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today.

For The Week magazine, he named six favorite road books. One title on the list:
Outside Lies Magic by John R. Stilgoe

What John Berger’s Ways of Seeing did for traditional oil painting, this book does for roads and landscapes: It helps you to understand what you’re looking at, from the layout of towns to the placement of electric lines to the distance between street and dwelling. It’s a reminder that, even in a young country like the United States, we live in the past. And it’s an argument for going outside and opening your eyes.
Read about the other books on Conover's list.

Also see: John Leland's favorite road books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ten of the best unfinished literary works

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best unfinished literary works.

One entry on the list:
Bouvard and P├ęcuchet by Gustave Flaubert

Flaubert's novel concerns two middle-aged Paris clerks who, when Bouvard inherits a small fortune, dedicate themselves to intellectual pursuits. They wander through almost every science and discipline, bungling all the way. Only half the novel was completed.
Read about the other works on the list.

Bouvard and P├ęcuchet
also appears on John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Five books about Black History month

From the Barnes & Noble Review, one of five books "for young readers that bring African-American history alive:"
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary
by Elizabeth Partridge

Aimed at the preteen set, award-winner Partridge takes readers to Selma, Alabama, in 1965, the heart of the early civil-rights movement. Packed with stirring photographs, the book follows a group of courageous children who march with Martin Luther King, Jr. in hopes of gaining blacks the right to vote.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Five best books on Abraham Lincoln

Michael Burlingame, holder of the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is the author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2 vols.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) and The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about Abraham Lincoln.

One title on the list:
Honor's Voice
by Douglas L. Wilson
Knopf, 1998

In "Honor's Voice," Douglas L. Wilson traces "the transformation of Abraham Lincoln," from his entrance into the village of New Salem, Ill., as a 22-year-old "piece of floating driftwood" (as Lincoln described himself) to his marriage to Mary Todd 11 years later. Wilson offers a detailed account of the wrestling match that won Lincoln the respect of his fellow New Salemites and that would become a prominent feature in the legend of his rise. The author is especially good on Lincoln's courtship of Mary Todd and their mysteriously broken engagement: Her betrothed simply realized that he and Mary were incompatible, but in the end he did marry her, mainly out of a sense of honor. Paying careful attention to primary sources, Wilson brings a fresh eye to this comprehensive view of Lincoln's path to maturity. The route was not so smooth as once supposed, but rather was full of setbacks and disappointments.
Read about all five books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 12, 2010

Neil Pearson's six best books

The actor (Bridget Jones's Diary, Fever Pitch) and author Neil Pearson named his six best books for the Daily Express.

One title on the list:
A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway

Like Orson Welles, Hemingway never equalled the beginning of his career except here. A collection of essays about the time he spent in the Paris of the Twenties, the book sighs with love for the city, for the people he knew there and heartbreakingly for the person he used to be. Hemingway committed suicide before the book was published.
Read about the other books on Pearson's list.

A Moveable Feast made Diana Souhami's top ten list of "books about Paris and London lesbians in the early 20th century" and Laura Landro's five best list of books about travel; it is a book to which Russell Banks always returns.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Neil Cross' literary top ten

Neil Cross' latest novel in the UK is Captured. A previous novel, Burial, releases in the US in March. From his literary top ten at Pulp.Net:
Book I Finished Reading but Wanted My Time Back Afterwards

No contest. American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. Corrupted, self-important nonsense smothered in blubber. The skeleton of a fine novella — something with the potential length and stature of Heart of Darkness. As it is, American Psycho continues a steady cultural decline — from controversy, through the alternative canon, to kitsch. The only book in the history of publishing that might conceivably have been improved by a Reader’s Digest Condensed Edition.
Read about the other nine items on Cross' list.

American Psycho appears on Nick Brooks' top ten list of literary murderers and on Chris Power's list of his six top books on the 1980s.

Check out which fictional character who Cross says most resembles him.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Top 10 boxing books

Markus Zusak's novels for younger readers have won numerous awards and one, The Book Thief, has become a worldwide bestseller. One of his books, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, which was originally published in 2001, has been reissued in the UK.

He named his ten favorite boxing books for the Guardian.

One title on the list:
Fat City by Leonard Gardner

I have such a clear memory of one seemingly glib moment in this novel. It's when the young boxer, Ernie Munger, is given instructions between rounds. He nods his head and "listens to none of it". This book is acknowledged by many as one of the great books about boxing, desolation, and just getting by in the disaster areas sitting just left and right of the American dream.
Read about the other books on the list.

Gerald Haslam nominated Fat City as the Great California Novel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Six essential rock fiction reads

For Flavorpill, Tobias Carroll named "six rock-n-roll novels that feature rock stars and wedding bands, local scenes and world tours, and inspiration both creative and personal — a primer of what the rock novel can address."

One book on the list:
Blake Nelson, Girl

Andrea Marr, the narrator of Blake Nelson’s 1994 Girl, dwells on the fringes of Portland’s indie rock scene. Girl follows her through most of high school, paralleling her search for an identity with the evolution of a band formed by her classmates. Much like Meno’s Hairstyles of the Damned, Nelson uses his setting to touch on issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, never losing sight of music’s appeal, but also remaining honest about its limitations for inspiration.
Read about the other novels on the list.

Writers Read: Blake Nelson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ten of the best horrid children in fiction

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best horrid children in literature.

One entry on the list:
The Parsons children

In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four, Parsons is Winston Smith's neighbour, a man utterly loyal to the Party. His paternal affections are rewarded when his children betray him to the authorities for thought-crimes revealed when he talks in his sleep. (They are resentful because he wouldn't take them to a public execution.) He is proud of their infant allegiance to the state.
Read about the other horrid children on the list.

Nineteen Eighty-four is #7 on a list of the 100 best last lines from novels. It disappointed Neil deGrasse upon re-reading. The book made Daniel Johnson's five best list of books about Cold War culture, Robert Collins' top ten list of dystopian novels, Gemma Malley's top 10 list of dystopian novels for teenagers, is one of Norman Tebbit's six best books and one of the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King, and appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best rats in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jackie Collins' six best books

Author and former actor Jackie Collins named a six best books list for The Week magazine.

One title on the list:
The Godfather by Mario Puzo

This is another book I reread every couple of years. Mario Puzo creates a tapestry of Mafia life that’s so rich and brilliant the characters jump off the page and become part of your life. Puzo’s writing is vibrant and timeless. The movie The Godfather is a classic; so is the book that it’s based on.
Read about the other books on Collins' list.

The Godfather also made Collins' 2008 five best list of literary guilty pleasures. George Pelecanos re-read it and was disappointed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Alton Brown's five best cookbooks

Alton Brown, a Food Network host and commentator, and author of Good Eats: The Early Years, named a five best list of cookbooks for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
Ratio
by Michael Ruhlman
Scribner, 2009

"Proportions form the backbone of the craft of cooking," Michael Ruhlman says. "When you know a culinary ratio, it's not like knowing a single recipe, it's instantly knowing a thousand. Here is the ratio for bread: 5 parts flour : 3 parts water." In "Ratio," Ruhlman emphasizes "the simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking," bringing a simple clarity to making everything from sausage to vinaigrette. Forget about teaspoons, ounces, cups and (shudder) fractions; it's all about the "parts." This is a refreshing, illuminating and perhaps even revolutionary look at the relations that make food work.
Read about the other cookbooks on Brown's list.

Also see: T. Susan Chang's 10 best cookbooks of 2009, the Independent's ten best list of children's cookbooks, and Kate Colquhoun's top 10 unusual cookbooks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 5, 2010

Top 10 books written by librarians

The Reading Copy Book Blog posted a top ten list of books written by librarians.

One title on the list:
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

An ex-librarian AND bookseller, Petterson’s novel was one of the NY Times’ books of the year in 2007.
Read about the other books on the list.

Out Stealing Horses was one of the 20 most loaned books in Norway's libraries in 2008.

Read Ray Taras' review of Out Stealing Horses.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top ten literary stepmothers

Sam Baker, author of the novels Fashion Victim, This Year's Model, and The Stepmother's Support Group, named a top ten list of fictional stepmothers for the Guardian.

One character on the list:
Emelia in Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman

William, the five-year-old boy cum "very small 62-year-old man" at the heart of Ayelet Waldman's story is the real hero, but you can't help but be moved by Emelia's struggle to learn to love him, as she copes with the death of her own baby and the resentment of his (now pregnant) mother. Flawed, self-absorbed, grieving and guilt-ridden, Emelia may not be especially likeable – but her battle to love another woman's child lies at the heart of most step-relationships.
Read about the other stepmothers on the list.

Visit Ayelet Waldman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Five books about: the Super Bowl

From The Barnes & Noble Review -- one of five books about the Super Bowl:
The Catch: One Play, Two Dynasties, and the Game That Changed the NFL
by Gary Myers

The 1980s dynasty of the San Francisco 49ers was founded on one incredible catch (see the book cover at left) with 51 seconds left in a game against the Dallas Cowboys -- who experienced their own long reign of dominance put to a sudden end by the same play. Making this moment his keystone in a study of a changing game, Myers brings to light the long-term effects of the catch on players, teams, and the whole world of pro football.
Read about the other four books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Five best novels set in the British-colonial East

Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong and graduated from Harvard College. A former features editor at Elle and Mirabella magazines, she currently lives in Hong Kong.

Her new novel The Piano Teacher, is now available in paperback.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of novels set in the British-colonial East. One title on the list:
Sea of Poppies
by Amitay Ghosh
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008

Amitay Ghosh uses a vast and vibrant canvas for "Sea of Poppies," the first in a trilogy that is still being written. Set in the years before the Opium Wars in the mid-19th century, when Britain was making a fortune from poppy crops in India, the story opens in the port city of Calcutta and brings together characters that include a low-caste giant who runs away with a widow; a mulatto sailor with "skin the color of old ivory"; and Paulette, a French orphan. These people will meet as they gradually make their way to the Ibis, a triple-masted schooner that is being prepped to take indentured workers to Mauritius, off the African coast. Ghosh revels in the joy of language—"as chuckmuck a rascal as ever you'll see: eyes as bright as muggerbees, smile like a xeraphim"—but he is also a splendid storyteller. In the last pages, the Ibis is being tossed by a mighty storm, the characters growing desperate. I was desperate, too, for the next book.
Read about the other books on Lee's list.

Janice Y. K. Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Piano Teacher.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 1, 2010

John Bowe's six favorite books on love

John Bowe is the editor of the new book, Us: Americans Talk About Love.

For The Week magazine, he named his six favorite books on the subject. One classic on the list:
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

When it comes to love, we think we’re playing chess; really, we’re riding bumper cars. The way Flaubert explores the limits of cherished notions like “romance” and “freedom” couldn’t be more modern, touching, or scary. Emma Bovary’s plight forces us to ask, “Is there anything going on here greater than our own vanity?”
Read about the other books on Bowe's list.

Madame Bovary
is also on Valerie Martin's list of six novels about doomed marriages, Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best bad lawyers in literature. It tops Peter Carey's list of the top ten works of literature and was second on a top ten works of literature list selected by leading writers from Britain, America and Australia in 2007.

--Marshal Zeringue