Posts tagged ‘Tenth of December’

December 15, 2013

Books of the Year 2013

by Andre

Books_of_2013We’ve expanded our trawl of the literary pages for the books of 2013 to come up with a definitive list of the 10 favourites (click on the image for a clearer view of the books – all available at the Riverside, of course). Here’s our top 10 poll of polls based on the books with the most nominations from critics and fellow authors in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, The Spectator, Financial Times, New York Times, Metro, The Independent, Daily Mail and Sunday Times.

1 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“…a deliciously compellingly dazzling jewel about beauty, fate and life.” – Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard

2 Margaret Thatcher – The Authorised Biography: Volume 1 – Not For Turning
“…an exceptional political biography with dozens of incidental pleasures — it is full of Dickensian walk-on parts and deliciously redolent of its period.” – Philip Hensher, Spectator

3 Tenth of December by George Saunders
“The stories are clever and moving, and the title story is the best piece of fiction I’ve read this year.” – Roddy Doyle, Guardian

4 The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
“…an extraordinary story of literary accomplishment, passionate war-mongering and sexual incorrigibility.” – John Preston, Spectator

5 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
“I read… The Luminaries three times in my capacity as Man Booker judge, and each time round it yielded new riches.” – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

6 Love, Nina: Despatches From Family Life by Nina Stibbe
“…no book this year made me laugh more.” – John Lanchester, Guardian

7 Harvest by Jim Crace
“…easily the best-written novel of the year.” – Philip Hensher, Spectator

8 Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee
“…charts a life that travelled the full 360 degrees on the wheel of fortune.” – Helen Simpson, Guardian

9 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
“…her most challenging, complex and compelling novel yet.” – Ian Rankin, Guardian

10 Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin by Damian McBride
“Bankrupt of morals and bankrupt of style, it is a nonpareil of peevishness, and self-delusion shines from it like a Christmas star.” – Hilary Mantel, Guardian

Several of these titles were, in fact, level pegging but at the top The Goldfinch did just edge out Charles Moore’s richly rewarding – and surprisingly funny – account of Thatcher up until the 1982 Falklands victory. The P-Fitz biography did well to make the top 10 as it was only released in November. Stoner by John Williams got plenty of picks as a favourite of 2013, even though it first appeared in 1965. And bubbling under: The Circle by Dave Eggers, The Childhood of Jesus by J M Coetzee and All That Is by James Salter (“no question, the best novel I read this year,” said Richard Ford of the senior American author).

Advertisements
December 7, 2013

Tenth of December: George Saunders

by Andre

Paperback now available – £8.99

George Saunders TENTH OF DECEMBERHoping to read Tenth of December by George Saunders in a handy paperback format on 10 December, 2013? Well, if you call at the Riverside you can indeed enjoy this moment of literary synchronicity; or at the very least get hold of this acclaimed collection before all your well-read friends. We’re happy to report that the publisher has supplied us with the paperback edition ahead of its official January 2014 release date. Given the half-dozen mentions for Tenth of December in the end-of-year newspaper round-ups, it means we can satisfy the many curious readers who’ll be seeking out George Saunders this month. The hardback has slipped out of print and a certain retailer, perhaps distracted by developing its drone technology, is still listing the Tenth of December paperback as being on sale on 2 January, 2014.

Frankly, you can’t wait until then for this book, which has cemented Saunders’s reputation as the finest American writer of short stories at work today. Saunders can be funny, surreal, bleak and humane on the same page. Take his 1998 story Sea Oak which features a male stripper who’s working in an aviation-themed restaurant, while also trying to deal with the reanimated corpse of his Aunt Bernie and her concerted efforts to restore the American Dream for her penurious family.

Saunders’s Royal Festival Hall event this summer ended up being a master class about one particular story he read from (Victory Lap, which opens the new collection) that had nascent authors in the audience scribbling away feverishly. George made it look easy, but it’s really not. As Zadie Smith puts it on the cover of the paperback edition – did we mention it’s already on our shelves? – of Tenth of December: “Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny with a prose style this fine.”