The New York Times and The Washington Post choose the Best Books of 2013

December 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm (Best of 2013, books)

This past Tuesday night, the Usual Suspects held their end-of -year wrap-up meeting. This was an exhilarating experience – meat and drink for this book lover and, I believe, all the others who had the good fortune to be present for the occasion. I’m working on a blog post that will provide the highlights of  the meeting. It will take some time – I do so want to do it justice! – so in the meanwhile, I’ll present links to various Best Books sites:

The ever reliable New York Times posted a notable books list that could serve as a guide to good reading for next several months – or even years. From this group, the Top Ten Books of 2013 were chosen. (Kudos to the editors for including Kate Atkinson’s stunning Life After Life in this highly select company.) life_after_life_cover_p_2013

Of course there was overlap between the Times list and the Washington Post’s selections. I was not quite as enthused about the Post’s roster – fiction and nonfiction – as I was about the Times selections. And I confess I’m perplexed by the inclusion of Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs among the Ten Best Books. True, the novel had its memorable moments, but to me it seemed mainly a book length tirade held together – barely –  by a rather contrived plot. Oh well – so much for my little rant. And I almost forgot: I am certainly grateful to the Post for alerting me to The Transylvania Trilogy by Miklos Banffy. This magisterial work was written in Hungarian and published between 1934 and 1940, but it was not translated into English until 1999. I’m inching my way through it and will almost certainly never finish the whole thing, but from what I’ve read of They Were Counted, the first installment, it’s a real gem. oldbanffyIn a piece in The Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore calls Banffy “the Tolstoy of Transylvania.”

Count Miklós Bánffy de Losoncz

Count Miklós Bánffy de Losoncz

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There’s more of Best of 2013 to come, when time permits….

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