American Library Association Notable Books 2001

Article excerpt

RUSA Notable Books Council

This list has been compiled for use by the general reader and by librarians who work with adults. The titles have been selected by the Notable Books Council, ALA Reference and User Services Association, for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. Titles were selected from books published from November 1999 through October 2000 that demonstrate wide general appeal and literary merit.

Fiction

Atwood, Margaret. The Blind Assassin. New York: Random House/Nan A. Talese, 2000. $26 (0-385-47572-1).

Atwood expertly interweaves a science-fiction novella with incidents from octogenarian Iris Chase Griffen's past and present.

Busch, Frederick. Don't Tell Anyone. New York: Norton, 2000. $25 (0-393-04973-6).

This exemplary collection of sixteen stories and one novella--exploring loss, love, and loneliness in American family life--confirms Busch's reputation as one of America's finest storytellers.

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. New York: Random House, 2000. $26.95 (0-679-45004-1).

American idealism, and the power of the imagination are exuberantly evoked in this epic novel of larger-than-life comic-book superheroes and their creators.

Coetzee, J. M. Disgrace. New York: Viking, 2000. $23.95 (0-670-88731-5).

This spare and disturbing novel about Professor David Lurie's out-of-control life is set against the stark realities of contemporary South Africa.

Crace, Jim. Being Dead. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux; 2000. $23.95 (0-374-11013-1).

The story of Celice and Joseph's love is revealed in flashbacks as they lay dead on a seaside dune.

DeWitt, Helen. The Last Samurai. New York: Hyperion/Talk Miramax, 2000. $24.95 (0-78686668-3).

Child prodigy Ludo searches for his father, guided by the lessons he's learned from his obsessive viewing of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

Kalpakian, Laura. The Delinquent Virgin. St. Paul, Minn.: Graywolf, 1999. paper, $14 (1-55597-295-0).

Rich with eccentric characters, imaginative settings, and a gentle humor, Kalpakian's stories present a warmhearted view of the human condition.

King, Thomas. Truth and Bright Water. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1999. $24 (0-87113-818-2).

This tragicomic coming-of-age tale portrays rural Native American life and the sometimes-treacherous borders between generations, races, classes, and nations.

Kneale, Matthew. English Passengers. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2000. $25 (0-385-49743-1).

Multiple voices narrate a hilarious and heartbreaking tale of the collision of British eccentrics, inept Manx smugglers, and Aborigines in nineteenth-century Tasmania.

Nelson, Antonya. Living to Tell. New York: Scribner, 2000. $24 (0-684-83933-4).

In a graceful novel of manners, the three adult Mabie children return to their parents' Wichita home to heal an assortment of heartaches.

Ondaatje, Michael. Anil's Ghost. New York: Knopf, 2000. $25 (0-375-41053-8).

With the Sri Lanka civil war as a backdrop, forensic anthropologist Anil Tissera finds herself drawn into a political and personal maelstrom as past and present collide.

Paine, Tom. Scar Vegas. New York: Harcourt, 2000. $22 (0-15-100489-7).

Paine's first story collection presents a trip through the modern world, populated by Haitian refugees, Seattle anarchists, and a cross-dressing marine general.

Smith, Zadie. White Teeth. …