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The Times’ epic 100 Notable Books list was published online last week and the list includes both surprises and snubs.
Patti Smith’s Just Kids—which just won the National Book Award—is not among the official 100, but the memoir does appear in Janet Maslin’s editor’s picks, along with Wendy K. Moffat’s A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster (also not on the “official” list). Richard Bozorth reviewed Moffat’s biography this summer.
Michael Cunningham’s latest, By Nightfall, was also snubbed along with Kay Ryan’s The Best of It: New and Selected Poems—though Ryan is on Dwight Garner’s list. Read Steven Rydman’s review.
Here’s the list of eight queer-relevant* books extracted from the Times’ Notable 100 list. Eight out of 100 ain’t so bad, right?
1. HITCH-22: A Memoir. By Christopher Hitchens. (Twelve, $26.99.)
Hitchens writes about this boyhood bisexual experiences in boarding school. Thom Nickels wrote about Hitchens earlier this year.
2. THE HONOR CODE: How Moral Revolutions Happen. By Kwame Anthony Appiah. (Norton, $25.95.)
Appiah is openly gay. His partner, Henry Finder, is the Editorial Director of the New Yorker magazine.
3. SECRET HISTORIAN: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade. By Justin Spring. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $32.50.)
Spring’s monograph on Paul Cadmus was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. This biography was also nominated for a National Book Award. Read Reginald Harris’ review.
4. THE TALENTED MISS HIGHSMITH: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith. By Joan Schenkar. (St. Martin’s, $40.)
A 2010 Lambda Literary Award-winning biography. Read Charles Green’s review.
5. FINISHING THE HAT: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. By Stephen Sondheim. (Knopf, $39.95.)
“Far and beyond the most adroit and comprehensive look at the man and his music that has ever been written.” Read Michael Klein’s review.
6. FOREIGN BODIES. By Cynthia Ozick. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.)
Ozick may be straight, but her novel pays homage to one not-so-straight Henry James.
7. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST. By Stieg Larsson. (Knopf, $27.95.)
Two words: Lisbeth Salander.
8. ROOM. By Emma Donoghue. (Little, Brown, $24.99.)
Donoghue’s Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize. The author is no stranger to Lambda.
*If we missed a book written by an LGBT author, or one that features prominent LGBT characters or themes, please let us know in the comments section below.