Welcome to the second annual edition of Public Picks, a selection of the books and art that most interested and excited our editorial staff over the past year. As in last year’s Picks, we aimed for a list that combines the best of the best with more idiosyncratic works that you may have missed.
With admiring nods to widely praised works like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and the second volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, to Oscar-winning films like Twelve Years a Slave and The Great Beauty, then, here are our picks: a dozen titles each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and art and media that appeared in the US between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014, joined this year by a top 10 list of graphic works from the same period. We hope you’ll find many new favorites among them.
• César Aira, The Hare, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (New Directions)
• Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (Nan A. Talese)
• J. M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus (Viking)
• Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Europa)
• Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Marian Wood / Putnam)
• Gaute Heivoll, Before I Burn, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Graywolf)
• Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge (The Penguin Press)
• Eric Lundgren, The Facades (Overlook)
• Lorrie Moore, Bark (Knopf)
• Minae Mizumura, A True Novel, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter (Other Press)
• Josep Pla, The Gray Notebook, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush (New York Review Books Classics)
• Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird (Riverhead)