Book critics pick their favorites for Spring 2008

I’m number 134 on the Library hold list for Beginner’s Greek by James Collins — but I’m not worried. Not only does the Library have 52 copies, I know I’m in good company with 174 other Seattle readers (of which I am confident the 133 ahead of me are all super fast readers), as well as the 800-some reviewers in the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), who just included Beginner’s Greek in a list of their favorite 10 novels for spring. In fact, the NBCC’s list looks remarkably similar to my current reading stack and hold list. Here are their top three:
1. Lush Life by Richard Price
2. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

Beginner’s Greek, which my co-workers Susan and Hannah deemed “a male Jane Austen novel,” is tied for fourth place by the critics. Check out the list of recommended novels, nonfiction and poetry in CRITICAL MASS: The National Book Critics Circle Announces the Spring 2008 NBCC Good Reads List. Many of the books are ones already (and probably deservedly) getting a lot of buzz. It’s interesting to read other blog posts about this list, too, since everyone is a critic, especially when it comes to criticizing critics.

What are some of your recent favorite books? We’d love to hear what you’re eagerly awaiting on your Library hold list — as well as what you’ve read and would like to recommend to others.

4 thoughts on “Book critics pick their favorites for Spring 2008”

  1. I really love that top three, in that they are each authors I’ve enjoyed in the past, but each for entirely different reasons. In particular I’m a big fan of both Millhauser and Price, and yet the parts of myself that like these two writers feel almost entirely sequestered from each other: Gritty social realism w/ moral heft, and sly magical whimsy. And darned if I’m not way down on the reserve lists for both!

  2. A new memoir by Honor Moore that I didn’t know about?? I’m putting it on hold right now! Thanks, Linda, for bringing this list to my attention.

  3. “Beginner’s Greek” is worth the wait and compulsively readable! It’s a perfect summer book. So hopefully those ahead of you will read it fast!

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