Books of the year | Books | The GuardianFor boys of a certain big-collared vintage, Evel Knievel was the epitome of awesome, an action figure come to life and then changed back into an action figure, a plastic hero on his plastic motorcycle. He was also a drunk, a womanizer, a fink, a liar, a criminal, and, as Montville writes, "some crazy son of a bitch. So much of what Knievel said about himself and what others said about him was untrue, it's hard to know which parts were Bob, which parts were Evel, and which parts were the product of pure imagination. And so Montville is left to navigate through the fiction and clutter to find the truth about the man so many of us kept on our shelves. Here it is: Knievel might have been an abusive, lousy, blackhearted creep, but no one ever doubted the size of his stones. There were jumps on which he believed he was going to die, but he still fired up his engines, waved to the cheering crowds, and roared off into the dust. He'd rather have died in a fire or on the river rocks than hear anyone call him Bob ever again.
Best books of 2011
Choosing our 10 Best Books of the Year was not an arbitrary process, but neither was it a scientific one. How could it be, when the editors here, like all readers, respond subjectively to any work of fiction or nonfiction? The one guideline for the 10 was that they had to have been reviewed in our pages sometime in the past 12 months. By Chad Harbach. At a small college on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, the baseball team sees its fortunes rise and then rise some more with the arrival of a supremely gifted shortstop.
This has been the year of the paperback, with old books seeing off new ones, says John Dugdale. From quirky skits to heart-breaking memoir, it's been a great year. By Nicholas Lezard. The authors of some of the year's most acclaimed books — Ali Smith, Patrick Ness and Sarah Hall — join us as we look back on some highlights of the year. Best books of Bestselling books of - commentary. Published: AM.
Choosing is hard enough. Whittling that number to 10 is even harder, though the process is always interesting. And as is so often the case with lists, the numbers contain subsets that are interesting in themselves, suggesting coincidences, trends and patterns within. This year marks the eighth year the Book Review has whittled down the 10 Best Books of the year from its traditional list of the Notable Books. Each year, within the smaller field lies another interesting set of numbers, and in looking at the 80 winners of the last eight years, other coincidences, trends and patterns emerge. Not Lost Of the 41 winning novels, five have been novels in translation.
Favourite Books of 2011
We all love numbers, rankings, and lists; herald the best of anything, and we're seduced. At PW, we get to pick the books published this year that stayed with us, that we talked up, handed around, and of course argued about among ourselves. The reviews staff was generally crazy for Eugenides's The Marriage Plot , and Ann Patchett's bestselling State of Wonder got on for being just terrific, while Tina Fey Bossypants is our celebrity who can write. We paid tribute to the big guns taking on the big guns: Robert Massie's Catherine the Great , Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat , and Christopher Hitchens being himself in Arguably , his collected essays. Like many of the heroines of the Victorian novels she favors, Madeline Hanna, Brown University class of English major, must choose between men: the hungry wanderer Mitchell Grammaticus or the brilliant but troubled Leonard Bankhead. Madeline goes with the latter, sidelining her own intellectual pursuits in favor of riding a manic depressive's roller-coaster through the dawn of semiotics, post-structuralism, identity politics, and psychopharmacology. A coming-of-age novel that's as unapologetically erudite as it is funny, fun, and profound.