Reading in the New Year

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Welcome to 2011! What do we call this decade, anyway? Who will win the Super Bowl? What will become of health care reform? How many New York City snowplows does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Some questions are impossible to answer. But we asked our favorite writers an easy one: What book will you read on New Year’s Day? Here are their answers—it’s the Rumpus’s third annual Reading in the New Year:

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2666, by Roberto Bolaño – Doug Dorst

THE ACCIDENT, by Ismail Kadare – Michelle Richmond

THE AIR WE BREATHE, by Andrea Barrett – Robert Boswell

ANNA KARENINA, by Leo Tolstoy – Robin Romm

THE APPOINTMENT, by Herta Müller – Laura van den Berg

AT HOME: A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE, by Bill Bryson – Mary Roach

BLOOD HORSES: NOTES OF A SPORTSWRITER’S SON, by John Jeremiah Sullivan – Maud Newton

BOTH WAYS IS THE ONLY WAY I WANT IT, by Maile Meloy – Cornelia Nixon

THE BURNING PLAIN, by Juan Rulfo – Joshua Furst

THE CALL OF THE WILD, by Jack London – David Vann

THE COLLECTED STORIES, by William Trevor – Margo Rabb

CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, by Tom Franklin – Skip Horack

DEATH ON THE INSTALLMENT PLAN, by Louis Celine – Darcie Dennigan

THE EASY WAY TO STOP DRINKING, by Allen Carr – Kim Addonizio

THE END, by Salvatore Scibona – Brock Clarke

THE EVOLUTION OF BRUNO LITTLEMORE, by Benjamin Hale – Lan Samantha Chang

FOREIGN BODIES, by Cynthia Ozick – Margot Livesey

A FOREIGNER CARRYING IN THE CROOK OF HIS ARM A TINY BABY, by Amitava Kumar – Karan Mahajan

THE GOSPEL OF ANARCHY, by Justin Taylor – Jami Attenberg

GRYPHON: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES, by Charles Baxter – Peter Ho Davies

HOW TO LIVE, OR A LIFE OF MONTAIGNE, by Sarah Bakewell – Carl Phillips

HUNGER, by Knut Hamsun – Lucy Corin

IN A STRANGE ROOM, by Damon Galgut – Paul Yoon

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE, by Julie Orringer – Edward Schwarzschild

JUST KIDS, by Patti Smith – Marilyn Chin

LADY LAZARUS, by Andrew Foster Altschul – Will Allison

LIKE YOU’D UNDERSTAND ANYWAY, by Jim Shepard – Lisa Dierbeck

LUCKY JIM, by Kingsley Amis – Lauren Grodstein

MADAME BOVARY, by Gustave Flaubert (transl. by Lydia Davis) – Daniel Handler

THE MORAL OBLIGATION TO BE INTELLIGENT, by Lionel Trilling – Andrew Winer

MR. PEANUT, by Adam Ross – Keith Scribner

OBABAKOAK: STORIES FROM A VILLAGE, by Bernardo Atxaga – Matthew Iribarne

“One of the 600 books I have being written for me…” – James Frey

PLEASURE, by Gary Young – Jennifer Richter

THE POSSESSED: ADVENTURES WITH RUSSIAN BOOKS AND THE PEOPLE WHO READ THEM, by Elif Batuman – Padma Viswanathan

THE PROFESSOR AND OTHER WRITINGS, by Terry Castle – Peter Rock

THE REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE LADY, by Elizabeth Stuckey-French – Porter Shreve

ROOM, by Emma Donoghue – Daniel Stolar

THE SPOT, by David Means – Daniel Orozco

TELL ME A RIDDLE, by Tillie Olsen – Melanie Rae Thon

TITUS GROAN, by Mervyn Peake – Edward Carey

TRAVELS IN SIBERIA, by Ian Frazier – David Goodwillie

THE TWIN, by Gerbrand Bakker (transl. by David Colmer) – Lydia Davis

THE UNIVERSE IN MINIATURE IN MINIATURE, by Patrick Somerville – Hannah Tinti

THE VICE CONSUL, by Marguerite Duras – Rebecca Solnit

A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan – Matthew Pitt

WIDOW, by Michelle Latiolais – Elizabeth Tallent

WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE, by Marcel Proust – Mark Slouka

WORLD’S FAIR, by E. L. Doctorow – Andrew Altschul

YOUR FACE TOMORROW: FEVER AND SPEAR, by Javier Marías – Matthew Zapruder

YOU THINK THAT’S BAD, by Jim Shepard – Stephen Elliott


Andrew Altschul was the founding Books Editor at The Rumpus. He is an O. Henry Prize-winning short story writer and the author of the novels Deus Ex Machina and Lady Lazarus. Currently, he directs the Center for Literary Arts at San Jose State University. More from this author →