Vogue's Top Ten Books of 2012..
Have you read or plan to read any of these?
Set on a North Dakota reservation in the 1980s, Louise Erdrich’s National Book Award–winning The Round House (Harper)
is a classic Western tale of injustice avenged, grounded in the
unforgettable perspective of thirteen-year-old Native American boy
coming of age—and into an understanding of what men are capable of.
Some authors announce their retirements to the media. Not Alice Munro: Dear Life
(Knopf), her most personal-feeling collection to date, includes a
valedictory coda that encapsulates the master short-story writer’s
enduring themes—thwarted mothers, resentful daughters, and dreams of
Italy’s Alice Munro, the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante,
follows the mutually defining friendship between two ambitious young
women growing up in a soul-killing 1950s Neapolitan village in the first
installment of her projected trilogy, My Brilliant Friend (Europa).
The son of a hapless pair of bank robbers heads north and takes up with a Kaczynski-like fugitive in Richard Ford’s greatest novel to date, Canada (Ecco), an eerily lyrical—think Terrence Malick’s film Badlands—tale of American dreams gone irrevocably wrong.
Tracing the rise and fall of a 1960s experiment in utopian living—and one boy’s loss of innocence—Lauren Groff’s Arcadia (Voice) evokes a sense of floating rage and failed American idealism that feels devastatingly twenty-first century.
Shoah director Claude Lanzmann’s fittingly grand-scale The Patagonian Hare (Knopf)
looks back at the experiences that influenced his epic
documentary—including his turbulent, formative relationships with
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, the latter seventeen years
Lanzmann’s senior, and his longtime lover.
A rarified childhood on the Upper West Side becomes an emotional house of cards in n + 1 cofounder Marco Roth’s The Scientists: A Family Romance
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which explores the author’s attempts—in
part by scouring the totem-like books his medical researcher father gave
him—to understand his father and the circumstances surrounding his
death, which followed a long struggle with AIDS.
A library card is a key to the palace gate in Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
(Grove), which moves from the author’s tragicomic—emphasis on
tragic—childhood with her ferociously religious adoptive parents, to her
conflicted reunion, decades after she became a famous author, with her
This year’s great culinary memoir, Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef (Random
House) describes the evolution of the Red Rooster owner and executive
chef’s approach to food, informed by his incredible family story and
full of Proustian taste memories: the Berbere spice blend of his native
Ethiopia, the roast chicken of his adoptive Swedish grandmother.
“The wanting was a wilderness, and I had to find my own way out of the woods,” writes Cheryl Strayed in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Knopf),
her account of the 1,100-mile solo hike she took in her twenties,
encumbered by a giant backpack, fueled by grief over her mother’s sudden
death, and recalled in the kind of mordant, hard-won voice that knows
broke and blistered and keeps going.
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