Celebrity Picks: Jennifer Egan's Favorite Reads of 2017

Chris Schluep on November 10, 2017

Jennifer Egan_hr225If there is a more beloved writer than Jennifer Egan, I don't know who she is. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author has produced her first work of historical fiction with Manhattan Beach, a novel populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men.

So are there any gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, or union men in the books she liked this year? See her picks below, and look here for the latest celebrity favorites.

Jennifer Egan's favorite reads of 2017

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Stoner by John Williams
First published in 1965, this novel is a love story in which literature is the love object. William Stoner, born to hardscrabble, emotionally withdrawn farming parents, goes to college to learn new agricultural techniques. In a required literature class, he undergoes a conversion, and never returns to the farm. Stoner is full of disappointment and tragedy, but underlying all of it is a searing faith in the power of literature to transform and redeem human life.

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Saunders has somehow managed to write a historical novel that hews deeply and movingly to archival fact while also being an all-out crazy spectacle of his own invention. Abraham Lincoln’s visit to his young son’s grave becomes the locus of a whirl of dialogue from around the cemetery: a puzzling, hilarious vortex of invention that only George Saunders could pull off. The novel made me feel intimate with Lincoln, and that particular moment of history, in a way I never had before.

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Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Female friendship has become a literary focus in recent years, but Zadie Smith’s take on the subject is my favorite. Tracing the evolution of a childhood friendship into adulthood, she bracingly portrays the compromises and bargains we all eventually make. Smith's idiosyncratic gaze and keen, supple prose transform and elevate everything she touches.

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