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A Year in Reading: Margaret Atwood

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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?

No: 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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The Booker’s Dozen: The 2010 Booker Longlist

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With the unveiling of the Booker Prize longlist, the 2010 literary Prize season is officially underway. As is typically the case, the list offers a mix of exciting new names, relative unknowns and beloved standbys. The instant favorites to win for most readers will be David Mitchell, Peter Carey, and, though he is something of a newly minted literary superstar, Tom McCarthy. Several of the books named appeared on our “most anticipated” lists for the first and second halves of 2010.

All the Booker Prize longlisters are below (with excerpts where available):

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (excerpt)
Room by Emma Donoghue (excerpt)
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore (excerpt)
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (excerpt)
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy (excerpt)
C by Tom McCarthy
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (excerpt)
February by Lisa Moore (excerpt)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (excerpt)
Trespass by Rose Tremain (excerpt [scroll down])
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (excerpt)
The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

Surprise Me!