The year end book lists are coming out. Here are 4 varied lists.
It’s hard to articulate just how much — and why — “The Goldfinch” held such power for me as a reader. Always a sucker for a good boy-and-his-mom story, I probably was taken in at first by the cruelly beautiful passages in which 13-year-old Theo Decker tells of the accident that killed his beloved mother and set his fate. But even when the scene shifts — first Theo goes to live with his schoolmate’s picture-perfect (except it isn’t) family on Park Avenue, then to Las Vegas with his father and his trashy wife, then back to a New York antiques shop — I remained mesmerized.
“Sea of Hooks” by Lindsay Hill tops the list.
On a small scale, Hill, a onetime banker and now a poet with six published books, has written a fragmented portrait of a man’s troubled childhood and lost adulthood — a spiritual biography that’s both tragic and comic, and provides moments of pure reading pleasure on every single page, not to mention a wallop of pathos. On a larger scale, it’s a moving and unforgettable novel.
Jill Lepore’s luminous story of the life of Benjamin Franklin’s sister is stitched together from fragments and scraps. There is no record of anything Jane Franklin might have thought or felt in her youth. Her brother does not mention her in his autobiography. Yet she emerges here as witty, curious and resilient in the face of unimaginable grief, largely from listless, sickly or lost children.
Forbes’ list of the 10 best books was alphabetical. “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” by Nick Bilton is one.
The founders of Twitter are idealists who talk about changing the way the world communicates, but the social network’s history is as rife with infighting, jealousy and backstabbing as any other company’s. From the Jack Dorsey creation myth to forgotten co-founder Noah Glass, Bilton takes a 360-degree view of Twitter’s path from afterthought to IPO.