1. Letters To Felice, Franz Kafka
Kafka was a total stalker. His missives here are riveting and inadvertently hilarious.
2. Happy All The Time, Laurie Colwin
In this Manhattan comedy of manners, Colwin wrings magic from ordinary lives.
3. The Patrick Melrose Novels, Edward St. Aubyn
Sharply serrated portraits of dysfunction in an aristocratic British family so depraved, they make the Lannisters look like the Brady Bunch.
4. Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald
An off-the-charts brilliant book that deconstructs the Beatles song by song.
5. Catherwood, Marly Youmans
A heart-stopping novel about a mother lost in the woods with her 1-year-old. It’s insanity that no one’s made a movie out of this.
6. Actual Air, David Berman
He’s an indie musician — frontman for the Silver Jews — and an indie poet, too, with offbeat verse that snaps and sparks with life.
7. Pobby and Dingan, Ben Rice
A seriously moving novel about an Australian girl who can’t find her imaginary friends.
8. Winner of the National Book Award, Jincy Willett
All of Willett’s novels are sardonic and bitingly funny, but this one — about twin sisters, relationships, and books — is the best.
9. The Interrogative Mood, Padgett Powell
Why is every sentence in this odd little book a question? And how did Powell make it a genuinely great read?
10. Marbles, Ellen Forney
This graphic memoir — a chronicle of Forney’s bipolar disorder — vividly explores the line between creativity and mental illness.