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Best of 2013: Books

Chuck Twardy

1. Bleeding Edge (By Thomas Pynchon) A dizzying dive into “the Deep Web,” in the days and weeks surrounding 9/11 in New York City, as fraud investigator Maxine Tarnow learns all about paranoia.

2. Tenth of December: Stories (By George Saunders) A selection of sci-fi-inflected short stories about people dealing with the peculiar pressures of life in a hyper-commercialized world. Saunders is wickedly ironic and at times oddly affirming.

3. The Unwinding (By George Packer) It traces the disintegration of the postwar American social order through the interwoven tales of the celebrated and the small-time, and yet somehow manages to imagine possibilities for a rewinding.

4. The Bully Pulpit (By Doris Kearns Goodwin) An examination of the presidencies of friends-turned-rivals Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, and how each worked with a press eager to bring about progressive reforms of capitalism in its laissez-faire heyday.

5. TransAtlantic (By Colum McCann) Volleying back and forth across the pond and through the decades, McCann follows the destinies of an Irish woman’s descendants and the historical figures who touch her life and theirs.


Commenting Policy

  • An offhand touch and the plot's peculiar circumstances help lighten the sometimes dark story.

  • The author's new collection is creepy, titillating and impossible to put down.

  • Art history as a continual unfolding of ideas and forms is just one of the author's concerns.

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