A reading list for 2010

Looking ahead, here's a list of some of the most anticipated titles of the first quarter of the new year.

By

FICTION
NOAH’S COMPASS
by Anne Tyler
(Knopf Doubleday, 288 pp., $25.95)
In Anne Tyler’s 18th novel, the unexceptional Liam Pennywell, a widowed schoolteacher, loses his job one day and wakes up in a hospital the next, with no recollection of the experience. Post-injury, he struggles with memory loss and learns to love. (Scheduled to be published in January.)

THE UNNAMED
by Joshua Ferris
(Little, Brown, 313 pp., $24.99)
A mysterious sporadic disorder causes successful lawyer Tim Farnsworth to start walking – and he doesn’t stop until the disorder vanishes, as randomly as it appeared. Meanwhile, his beloved wife, Jane, combats alcoholism and illness while trying to keep Tim in one piece. (January)

POINT OMEGA
by Don DeLillo
(Simon & Schuster, 128 pp., $24)
Filmmaker Jim Finley tracks down Richard Elster, a former war adviser living alone in the desert, to make a single-take, single-character documentary on Elster’s experience. Elster’s daughter Jessie appears weeks later, and the three bond until something disastrous happens. (February)

Recommended: Books

THE LOST BOOKS OF THE ODYSSEY
by Zachary Mason
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 256 pp., $24)
A humorous reimagining of Homer’s epic poem, Mason’s debut novel is a satirical look at Odysseus’ life after he returns from the war, offering alternate endings and original takes on the classic story. For lovers of humor and Hellenism. (February)

RUBY’S SPOON
by Anna Lawrence Pietroni
(Random House, 336 pp., $26)
When fascinating, white-haired Isa Fly suddenly appears in the English town of Cradle Cross, 13-year-old Ruby is drawn to her. But Cradle Cross is facing financial peril, and the reasons for Isa’s abrupt arrival are called into question when town valuables begin to disappear. (February)

THE ASK
by Sam Lipsyte
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pp., $25)
Lipsyte’s latest novel is a dark riff on contemporary America. Newly unemployed Milo Burke is solicited by a third-rate university to court funding from a potential donor, who turns out to be a former classmate with a shady assignment for Milo. (March)

THE SURRENDERED
by Chang-rae Lee
(Penguin Group, 480 pp., $26.95)
After the Korean War, war orphan June Han and GI Hector Brennan met in a missionary orphanage and vied for the attention of beautiful Sylvie Tanner. Thirty years after the war, the three reunite and must confront their histories, dark secrets, and the memory of what ties them together. (March)

THE DOUBLE COMFORT
SAFARI CLUB
by Alexander McCall Smith
(Knopf Doubleday, 256 pp., $23.95)
The latest in McCall Smith’s “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, in which Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi journey to a Botswana safari lodge where several guests have mysteriously perished. (April)

THE CHANGELING
by Kenzaburo Oe and Deborah Boehm
(Grove/Atlantic, 480 pp., $26)
Tokyo film director Goro Hanawa commits suicide and leaves a series of tapes to his brother-in-law Kogito, laying out plans for a possible film. Kogito becomes obsessed with the tapes and discovers a haunting connection in Goro’s past. (March)

THE GOLDEN MILE
by Martin Cruz Smith
(Simon & Schuster, 352 pp., $25.99)
The seventh book in the Arkady Renko series. When the Moscow police don’t believe Maya’s story that her baby was stolen, she enlists a young man to help her scour a dubious neighborhood. Meanwhile, Arkady gets involved in an intriguing case in the same area. (March)

NONFICTION

DARING YOUNG MEN
by Richard Reeves
(Simon & Schuster, 336 pp., $28)
The story of the American pilots behind the year-long Berlin Airlift. They delivered food, medicine, and fuel to the 2 million citizens of Soviet-blockaded West Berlin in 1948, buying the Allies enough time to create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (January)

OUR TIMES: THE AGE OF ELIZABETH II
by A.N. Wilson
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 496 pp., $30)
This third volume in Wilson’s trilogy of modern British history recounts the sweeping changes in Britain and the world over the past 56 years. Wilson opines on everything from the Profumo affair and the Vietnam War to Princess Diana and England’s membership in the European Union. (January)

STAR: HOW WARREN BEATTY
SEDUCED AMERICA
by Peter Biskind
(Simon & Schuster, 640 pp., $30)
Hollywood legend Warren Beatty is famous for his work and his womanizing: Biskind examines both, describing how Beatty used his success and star power to become one of the most famous celebrities of his generation. (January)

INTO THE STORY
by David Maraniss
(Simon & Schuster, 304 pp., $26)
A collection of 32 stories from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maraniss, known for incisive tales about why people do what they do. Maraniss discusses Bill Clinton, the Virginia Tech shootings, Vince Lombardi, and Barack Obama. (January)

THE STRONG HORSE: POWER, POLITICS, AND THE CLASH OF ARAB CIVILIZATIONS
by Lee Smith
(Knopf Doubleday, 250 pp., $26)
Journalist Lee Smith moved to Cairo to learn why September 11 happened – and came back saying that the conflict is within the Arab world itself. He offers the “Strong Horse Doctrine,” which says that Arabs follow strength, power, and violence, and challenges America to be that Strong Horse. (January)

TITIAN: The Last Days
by Mark Hudson
(Walker & Co., 320 pp., $27)
As the life of Italian Renaissance painter Titian waned, his studio was ransacked and his groundbreaking final works taken. Here those paintings are reviewed in the context of his life story. (January)

CONSPIRATA
by Robert Harris
(Simon & Schuster, 320 pp., $26)
Faithful followers of Harris’s “Cicero” trilogy will devour the third installment of this eloquent historical saga, set in the twilight years of the Roman Republic. (February)

GOOD ARABS
by Hillel Cohen
(University of California Press, 296 pp., $27.50)
Cohen unpacks recently released Israeli government files in this explosive narrative, exposing extensive collaboration between Israel and Palestine from 1948 to 1967. (January)

COUNTRY DRIVING
by Peter Hessler
(HarperCollins, 416 pp., $27.99)
Travel with The New Yorker’s Beijing correspondent on a multiyear journey across China to examine the conflict of modernization and tradition in the world’s most populous country. (February)

A WALL IN PALESTINE
by Rene Backmann
(Picador, 272 pp., $17)
French journalist Backmann calls the West Bank barrier a land grab rather than a terrorism barrier, using extensive interviews with politicians and civilians on both sides to make his impassioned point. (February)

FAITH, INTERRUPTED
by Eric Lax (Knopf, 288 pp., $26)
Lax, the son of an Episcopal priest, was inspired by religious conviction to join the Peace Corps as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. These are his dialogues with his father and his college buddy George, who enlisted but later became a priest himself. (April)

JENNIEMAE & JAMES:
A memoir IN BLACK & WHITE
by Brooke Newman
(Random House, 288 pp., $24)
The daughter of author James New­man (“The World of Math­ematics,” 1956) tells the story of his improbable friendship with their housekeeper, Jenniemae Harrington, in this moving memoir. (March)

MARK TWAIN:
MAN IN WHITE
by Michael Shelden
(Random House, 528 pp., $30)
The final years of Mark Twain’s life are usually viewed as quiet and slow. Shelden shows them to be energetic, describing Twain as a troublemaker who pretended to perish at sea and went after Mary Baker Eddy and the king of Belgium. (April)

THE BEST SPIRITUAL WRITING 2010
Edited by Philip Zaleski
(Penguin, 272 pp., $16)
Explore essays, reflections, and poetry from a host of well-known authors in the 12th edition of the “Best Spiritual Writing” series, edited by Philip Zaleski, author of “Prayer: A History” (2006). (January)

LONELYHEARTS:
THE SCREWBALL WORLD OF NATHANAEL WEST AND EILEEN MCKENNEY
by Marion Meade
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 416 pp., $28)
Biographer Meade reintroduces the world to novelist/playwright West (“The Day of the Locust”) and his wife, McKenney, whose sister Ruth penned “My Sister Eileen” – a novel that later became Leonard Bernstein’s 1953 musical, “Wonderful Town.” (March)

IN THE LAND
OF BELIEVERS
by Gina Welch
(Metropolitan, 352 pp., $25)
Welch, a secular Jew, becomes a member of an evangelical Christian church in Virginia for two years in order to explore evangelicalism. She shares her reactions to everything from a mission trip to Alaska to the death of Jerry Falwell. (March)

COURAGE and CONSEQUENCE
by Karl Rove
(Threshold Editions, 608 pp., $30)
Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, relates the story of his controversial, high-profile career in this eagerly anticipated memoir. (March)

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