The Top Five
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A Life
By Michael Burlingame
Measured, psychologically astute, authoritative when it can be, Michael Burlingame’s exhaustive narrative (2,024 pages!) is unafraid of ambiguity and indeterminacy. This is the life of Lincoln for our times.
THE CHILDREN’S BOOK: A Novel
By A. S. Byatt
Byatt has wrought a richly detailed, decade-spanning, at once Olympian and pointillist masterpiece. To read this gorgeous bolt of fiction is to fully enter a world.
THE THIRD REICH TRILOGY (Concluding With The Third Reich at War)
By Richard J. Evans
Evans’s cool, crisply argued three-volume chronicle will be for a generation the definitive general history of Nazi Germany in English.
IT’S BEGINNING TO HURT: Stories
By James Lasdun
This collection of short stories illuminates the everyday agonies of the mind, its anxieties, obsessions, doubts, and yearnings. Lasdun pins each observation to the page with grace and exactitude.
MRS. WOOLF AND THE SERVANTS: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury
By Alison Light