New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2010
The New York Times publishes a list of “100 Notable Books” each year (see the complete list for 2017). The fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books are selected annually by the editors of “The New York Times Book Review.” The list represents the most notable books reviewed by the Times during the the prior 12 months. We share the authors of African descent who made the “Notables” list.
4 Noteable Books by Authors of African Descent in 2010
How To Read The Air
by Dinaw Mengestu
From the prizewinning international literary star: the searing and powerful story of one man’s search for redemption. Dinaw Mengestu’s first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his mother and father’s trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents’ youth to his life in the America of today, a story—real or invented—that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.Watch a Video
The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen
by Kwame Anthony Appiah
In this landmark work, a leading philosopher demonstrates the revolutionary power of honor in ending human suffering. Long neglected as an engine of reform, honor strikingly emerges at the center of our modern world in Kwame Anthony Appiah’s The Honor Code. Over the last few centuries, new democratic movements have led to the emancipation of women, slaves, and the oppressed. But what drove these modern changes, Appiah argues, was not imposing legislation from above, but harnessing the ancient power of honor from within. In gripping detail, he explores the end of the duel in aristocratic England, the tumultuous struggles over footbinding in nineteenth-century China, and the uprising of ordinary people against Atlantic slavery. Finally, he confronts the horrors of "honor killing" in contemporary Pakistan, where rape victims are murdered by their relatives. He argues that honor, used to justify the practice, can also be the most effective weapon against it. Intertwining philosophy and historical narrative, Appiah has created a remarkably dramatic work, which demonstrates that honor is the driving force in the struggle against man’s inhumanity to man.
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays
by Zadie Smith
A sparkling collection of Zadie Smith?s nonfiction over the past decade.
Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary.
Split into four sections??Reading,? ?Being,? ?Seeing,? and ?Feeling??Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smith?s unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both personal and cultural, with wonderfully engaging essays?some published here for the first time?on diverse topics including literature, movies, going to the Oscars, British comedy, family, feminism, Obama, Katharine Hepburn, and Anna Magnani.
In her investigations Smith also reveals much of herself. Her literary criticism shares the wealth of her experiences as a reader and exposes the tremendous influence diverse writers?E. M. Forster, Zora Neale Hurston, George Eliot, and others?have had on her writing life and her self-understanding. Smith also speaks directly to writers as a craftsman, offering precious practical lessons on process. Here and throughout, readers will learn of the wide-ranging experiences?in novels, travel, philosophy, politics, and beyond?that have nourished Smith?s rich life of the mind. Her probing analysis offers tremendous food for thought, encouraging readers to attend to the slippery questions of identity, art, love, and vocation that so often go neglected.
Changing My Mind announces Zadie Smith as one of our most important contemporary essayists, a writer with the rare ability to turn the world on its side with both fact and fiction. Changing My Mind is a gift to readers, writers, and all who want to look at life more expansively.
White Egrets: Poems
by Derek Walcott
A DAZZLING NEW COLLECTION FROM ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POETS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
In White Egrets, Derek Walcott treats the characteristic subjects of his career—the Caribbean’s complex colonial legacy, his love of the Western literary tradition, the wisdom that comes through the passing of time, the always strange joys of new love, and the sometimes terrifying beauty of the natural world—with an intensity and drive that recall his greatest work. Through the mesmerizing repetition of theme and imagery, Walcott creates an almost surflike cadence, broadening the possibilities of rhyme and meter, poetic form and language. White Egrets is a moving new collection from one of the most important poets of the twentieth century—a celebration of the life and language of the West Indies. It is also a triumphant paean to beauty, love, art, and—perhaps most surprisingly—getting older.