A Year in Reading: Margaret Atwood

December 6, 2010 | 4 books mentioned 2


I’m bad at picking such things as the favorite book I read this year. There are so many. What to choose? An already well known book such as The Known World, by Edward P. Jones, or a lesser-known one, such as Alberto Manguel’s All Men Are Liars? Or some poetry, like Robert Bringhurst’s Selected Poems? Or perhaps Lisa Moore’s February, or Alice Munro’s latest collection, Too Much Happiness?

coverNo: best to avoid living authors. The others hear about it and think you don’t like them. So my choice is Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, the urspring of the modern thriller. I read this book with one eye and a flashlight when I was too young to appreciate it, so I was pleased to revisit it as an adult, and pleased also to discover why it hasn’t been out of print since its first publication in 1860.

An intricate story told from the point of view of many characters, including a tombstone; a mystery to be solved; a sinister but compelling villain; a noble and athletic young hero; and a resolute and courageous female protagonist – all this and landscapes too. And a madhouse. And a boathouse! What pleasures!

More from a Year in Reading 2010

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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’s most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, is now available in paperback. For more on Ms. Atwood, please visit www.owtoad.com.