LJ Best Books 2017

It's time again for LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry and literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.   SEE WHO MADE THE LIST

What the Authors of LJ’s Top Ten Best Books of 2011 Are Doing Next

Bolton, Andrew & others (text) & Sølve Sundsbø (photogs.). Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Metropolitan Museum of Art, dist. by Yale Univ. ISBN 9780300169782. $45.
Tragically, we will see no more of Alexander McQueen’s savage beauty, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute goes on. The institute, which launched the sellout exhibition for which this book served as catalog, will next host the exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. Presented from May 10 to August 19, with a May 7 gala benefit with Jeff Bezos as honorary chair, the exhibit explores stylistic similarities between the two great Italian designers. As with Savage Beauty, the catalog will be written by curators Bolton and Harold Koda.

Horwitz, Tony. Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War. Holt. ISBN 9780805091533. $29.
Horwitz may have just said good-bye to two months of touring, but he’ll be back on the road come January. His tour schedule includes libraries and museums, his favorite gig being the Smithsonian Institution, where, he says, I’ve been asked to talk about a 19th-century painting at the National Portrait Gallery that makes John Brown look like a demented cross between Boo Radley and Ted Kaczynski. ‚ĶAfter that, I hope to put John Brown’s body to rest and disinter some other piece of history to write a book about. Some looming projects: a magazine piece on the road to emancipation in the Civil War and a possible monthly column on American history. Everyone who wants to see this column, say aye.

Jones, Tayari. Silver Sparrow. Algonquin. ISBN 9781565129900. $19.95.
Jones has a paperback tour starting in May, but meanwhile she’s up at Harvard as a Radcliffe Fellow, researching a new novel called Dear History and pounding away on her 1919 Royal typewriter. In addition, an NEA grant guarantees her a bit more relief from her teaching responsibilities; look for her shortly at the Jersey City Public Library as she continues to write.

Murakami, Haruki. 1Q84. Knopf. ISBN 9780307593313. $30.50.
When I was in college, Seiji Ozawa was conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and I went every Saturday night. So you can imagine how thrilled I am to hear that the great Nobel contender is writing a new book, Absolutely on Music: The Conversaton with Seiji Ozawa. It will be out inJapan next October, but no word yet on a U.S, publication.

Obreht, Téa. The Tiger’s Wife. Random. ISBN 9780385343831. $29.
The publisher bought the rights for Obreht’s second novel last March, just as her National Book Award nominee was starting to show its glorious stripes. No publication date has been set, but meanwhile Obreht will be touring to promote the paperback edition in January and on February 7 will appear at St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York when Tiger launches the Huffington Post Book Club. Then on February 9, you can catch her at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Eat, Drink & Be Literary series with The New Yorker‘s Deborah Treisman. March means touring to promote the book’s German edition, then let’s hope she can get back to work on her novel.

Otsuka, Julie. The Buddha in the Attic. Knopf. ISBN 9780307700001. $22.
Otsuka, whose National Book Award nominee has done so much to help us understand the history of Japanese immigrants to this country, is now working on something completely different. It involves swimming and dementia (an intriguing combination) and could be set in contemporary New York City. Explains Otsuka, My story ‚ÄòDiem Perdidi,’ which appears in the current issue of Granta (the horror issue) and deals with my mother’s memory loss, will probably be a part of the new book.

Phillips, Arthur. The Tragedy of Arthur. Random. ISBN 9781400066476. $26.
As Phillips proves with each radically different novel, he’s a man of many talents. And just to prove it again, he recently wrote an episode of the television show Damages and sold a pilot to HBO. Rumor has it that he’s sold the film rights for a couple of his novels as well. None of which is keeping him from working on another surprising new work of fiction or prepping for the paperback release of The Tragedy of Arthur in February.

Pinker, Steven. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Viking. ISBN 9780670022953. $40.
Here’s a surprise. The Harvard professor who gave us this richly researched, densely detailed meditation on human violence will be writing a short book next. It’s a grammar for the 21st century, recalling Strunk and White’s immortal Elements of Style as it addresses changes in usage‚ particularly those wrought by technology.

Tillyard, Stella. Tides of War. Holt. ISBN 9780805094572. $27.
Tillyard is just digging in to write a new novel called The Border Guards, which is set in the Italian port city of Trieste between 1936 and 1990. Since she has lived in Italy and still has a house there, the narrative should flow like honey. Though Tillyard has switched time and place, it’s no surprise, she says, that The Border Guards explores some of the same themes as my earlier work: the search for love and identity in a time of war, the experience of immigration. and the impact of empire. It’s a book about Europe too, and whatEurope was and still could be. Heady themes, but of course there’s a love story, featuring Bruno and Anna.

Tóibín, Colm. The Empty Family: Stories. Scribner. ISBN 9781439138328. $24.
The good news: Tóibín has just published a memoir called A Guest at the Feast as part of Penguin Shorts, a digital series of exclusive short works. The bad news: this appears to be only an across-the-Atlantic deal, but here’s the link to the British web site if you are interested. I’ll investigate further.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.