Staff favorites from among the most highly rated books in this issue.

EXCELLENT

Against the Day

By Thomas Pynchon

A history, of sorts, of "progress."

Los Angeles Times

EXCELLENT/CLASSIC

"A book this long that amazes even 50% of the time is amazing."

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EXCELLENT

I'll Steal You Away

By Niccolo Ammaniti, translated by Jonathan Hunt A rural Italian coming of age story.

Providence Journal

EXCELLENT

"Ammaniti profoundly comprehends the young, the once-young, the perpetually young, and the belatedly young."

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EXCELLENT

Only Revolutions,

By Mark Z. Danielewski

A book as much about its design and structure as its story.

Washington Post

EXCELLENT/CLASSIC

"... needs to be studied, its patterns and symbolism deciphered, its historical cross-references pondered."

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EXCELLENT

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Inside Iraq's Green Zone

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

The myopia of living in relative saftey.

Houston Chronicle

EXCELLENT

"... more vital than the rash of 'Bush Lied, People Died' tomes ..."

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EXCELLENT

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

A Memoir

By Bill Bryson

The universal absurdity of childhood.

Christian Science Monitor

EXCELLENT

"Bill Bryson is a very funny man who loved his 'normal' 1950s Iowa boyhood."

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EXCELLENT

What Is the What

The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng

By Dave Eggers

A Sudanese Lost Boy's life, recovered.

Time

EXCELLENT/CLASSIC

"[A] moving, frightening, improbably beautiful book."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

EXCELLENT

Black Girl/White Girl

By Joyce Carol Oates

When racial tensions run high.

Chicago Tribune

EXCELLENT

"Oates packs more insights into human nature into one scene than most novelists can convey in an entire book."

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EXCELLENT

Sharp Objects

By Gillian Flynn

A journalist returns home to cover a murder.

Denver Post

EXCELLENT

"... a clever look at small-town America and how violence can affect such a closeted society."

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EXCELLENT

Fragile Things

Short Fictions and Wonders

By Neil Gaiman

Blending sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

Baltimore Sun

EXCELLENT

"... demands that the reader try yet another, then another, like alien canapes at...

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