Over at Books & Culture, John Wilson offers his books of the year. I love John’s methodology: the best books are those that first come to mind after a year of reading. Here are a couple of the more interesting titles:
Apricot Jam: And Other Stories. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. + Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar. Viktor Shklovsky. Two Russian masters. Solzhenitsyn’s late stories come in pairs (“binaries,” he called them) that play off each other. A bonus story, the ninth, was translated by AIS’s son Stephen. Shklovsky’s book was published in the USSR in 1970, when he was 76, and is available (at last!) in English translation, thanks to Shushan Avagyan and the Dalkey Archive Press. It’s a look at how literature works, and literature’s relation to life. Both books draw on a lifetime of memory, experience, and hard-won wisdom.
Scenes from Village Life. Amos Oz. + This Road Will Take Us Closer to the Moon. Linda McCullough Moore. Two collections of linked stories, the first a dark, uncanny report from Israel , the second a life in condensed form (leaving the blank spaces blank). Even better when read together. (Warning: the last story from Oz, a coda of sorts, left me nonplussed. Maybe I missed the point.)
Read the whole list here.