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Best Book of 2008: The Alphabet

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout on why Ron Silliman's The Alphabet is the best book of 2008.

Best Book of 1901: The Octopus

Rob Magnuson Smith

Rob Magnuson Smith on why Frank Norris' The Octopus is the best book of 1901.

Best Story of 1965: ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender on why Flannery O’Connor's ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’ is the best story of 1965.

Best Book of 2003: The Curious Life of Robert Hooke

Daisy Hildyard

Daisy Hildyard on why Lisa Jardine's The Curious Life of Robert Hooke is the best book of 2003.

Best Book of 2015: After The Dance

Dimitry Elias Léger

Dimitry Elias Léger on why Jan Gaye's After the Dance is the best book of 2015.

Best Book of 1981: Lanark

Lorna Gibb

Lorna Gibb on why Alasdair Gray's Lanark is the best book of 1981.

Best Book of 2017: Shadowbahn

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem on why Steve Erickson's Shadowbahn is the best book of a year to come.

Best Book of 1984: Amalgamemnon

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh on why Christine Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon is the best book of 1984.

Best Book of 2006: The Re-Emergence of Global Finance

Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough on why Gary Burn's The Re-Emergence of Global Finance is the best book of 2006.

Best Book of 1955: Pedro Páramo

Louise Stern

Louise Stern on why Pedro Páramo is the best book of 1955.

Best Book of 1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

Callan Wink

Why Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is the best book of 1970.

Specialist

Diane Williams

‘An hour passed. Why not say twenty years?’

Patrick deWitt and Neel Mukherjee in Conversation

Patrick deWitt & Neel Mukherjee

Neel Mukherjee and Patrick deWitt discuss their books Undermajordomo Minor and The Lives of Others, subconscious influence, the power of the exclamation mark and love.

Bad Luck, Britain

Fredrik Sjöberg

‘It was a wonderful day of high summer in the Stockholm archipelago.’

Barnby Dun

Colin Grant

‘Restored nature would be a phantom of its former self. The experience would be akin to visiting a wildlife park.’

Night Watch

Tim Dee

‘A nightjar is a dusty carpet whose pattern has absorbed into it every tread.’

Five Things Right Now: Noelle Kocot

Noelle Kocot

‘This is not only poetic, to think of the Creator as a big bird, but also quite mysterious.’

Bezoar

Guadalupe Nettel

‘This was the morning I discovered the anatomy of a hair.’ New fiction by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from the Spanish by Rahul Bery.

Sex Life

Daisy Hildyard

‘The sexual activity was dense and rapid everywhere that he was not.’

Five Parties

Ned Beauman

‘The second year, I noticed before anyone else that the Coelophysis was trying to escape.’

Introduction: What Have We Done

Sigrid Rausing

‘There is an apocalyptic feeling in the air. I write the day after the news that the IS have blown up parts of the ancient site of Palmyra.’

The Invitation

Barry Lopez

‘The effort to know a place deeply is, ultimately, an expression of the human desire to belong, to fit somewhere.’

George and Elizabeth

Ben Marcus

‘She could see, or was starting to, that someone out there was seeing him, watching him.’

Whale Fall

Rebecca Giggs

‘The whale as landfill. It was a metaphor, and then it wasn’t.’

Lady Neptune

Ann Beattie

‘The word money popped up like a bit of the ocean’s detritus riding in on a wave, but her lips formed the words ‘Merry Christmas’.’

Nature Morte

Helge Skodvin & Audrey Niffenegger

‘The ghost in the machine is gone for good.’

The Legacy

Fred Pearce

‘It created not just a climate of fear, but also a landscape of secrets.’

Travesty

Ange Mlinko

‘the victim of a mythological punishment.’

Upriver

Kathleen Jamie

‘I liked the way she travelled: with her iPod in one pocket, her traditional Yup’ik woman’s knife, or ulu, in the other.’

Mouse Trails

Noelle Kocot

‘What I am equipped to do is different / Than what I have been called for.’

The Hand’s Breadth Murders

Adam Nicolson & Gus Palmer

‘It is what happens in a place where revenge is the only justice.’

The Middle Ages: Approaching the Question of a Terminal Date

David Szalay

‘What is left? What is he to wrap himself in, now that everything has floated off into space?’

Come Again/Woods

Maureen N. McLane

‘They party in the woods / as if they were meant for pleasure / not timber.’

To the Ocean

Deb Olin Unferth

‘At the desk they said they encouraged guests not to walk, but she was determined’

Hunters in the Snow

Andrew Motion

‘The hunters have all failed, / the three hunters and their forlorn dogs / now arriving home from the mountain / which thunders above their village’

Fragments

Roger Deakin & Robert Macfarlane

‘Entering a wood is to enter an element as different as the sea.’