"As a fiction judge for the 2008 National Book Awards I had to consider 271 books, so I've been since claiming that I'd only be reading nonfiction for the next year. Not a total lie. . . . I was thrilled to see The Suicide Index by Joan Wickersham as a finalist in the nonfiction category because I'd been telling anyone who asked for a recommendation that my favorite book of the year was that memoir. Novels I recently adored are Indignation by Philip Roth, The English Major by Jim Harrison, Testimony by Anita Shreve, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. In the past few days I have devoured two fascinating, word-perfect and bittersweet memoirs, An Exact Replica of A Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken and Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel.''
ELINOR LIPMAN, author of My Latest Grievance