New York Times : The 10 Best Books of 2005
The editors' choices include books by Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, George Packer and Joan Didion.
- KAFKA ON THE SHORE
By Haruki Murakami
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95.
This graceful and dreamily cerebral novel, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, tells two stories - that of a boy fleeing an Oedipal prophecy, and that of a witless old man who can talk to cats - and is the work of a powerfully confident writer. （村上春樹『海辺のカフカ』）
- ON BEAUTY
By Zadie Smith
Penguin Press, $25.95.
In her vibrant new book, a cultural-politics novel set in a place like Harvard, the author of ''White Teeth'' brings everything to the table: a crisp intellect, a lovely wit and enormous sympathy for the men, women and children who populate her story.
By Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House, $21.95. Paper, $13.95
This calm and memorably incisive first novel, about a scholarship girl who heads east to attend an elite prep school, casts an unshakable spell and has plenty to say about class, sex and character.
By Ian McEwan
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26
As bracing and as carefully constructed as anything McEwan has written, this astringent novel traces a day in the life of an English neurosurgeon who comes face to face with senseless violence.
By Mary Gaitskill
Pantheon Books, $23
This mesmerizingly dark novel from the author of ''Bad Behavior'' and ''Two Girls, Fat and Thin'' is narrated by a former Paris model who is now sick and poor; her ruminations on beauty and cruelty have clarity and an uncanny bite.
- THE ASSASSINS' GATE
America in Iraq
By George Packer
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26
A comprehensive look at the largest foreign policy gamble in a generation, by a New Yorker reporter who traces the full arc of the war, from the pre-invasion debate through the action on the ground.
- DE KOONING
An American Master
By Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
Alfred A. Knopf, $35
A sweeping biography, impressively researched and absorbingly written, of the charismatic immigrant who stood at the vortex of mid-20th-century American art.
- THE LOST PAINTING
By Jonathan Harr
Random House, $24.95
This gripping narrative, populated by a beguiling cast of scholars, historians, art restorers and aging nobles, records the search for Caravaggio's ''Taking of Christ,'' painted in 1602 and rediscovered in 1990.
A History of Europe Since 1945
By Tony Judt
The Penguin Press, $39.95
Judt's massive, learned, brilliantly detailed account of Europe's recovery from the wreckage of World War II presents a whole continent in panorama even as it sets off detonations of insight on almost every page.
- THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING
By Joan Didion
Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95
A prose master's harrowing yet exhilarating memoir of a year riven by sudden death (her husband's) and mortal illness (their only child's).