Believe the Hype

"Tenth of December" by George Saunders

It seems that everyone is talking about George Saunders and his latest story collection "Tenth of December." A writer for the New York Times Magazine labels it "the best book you'll read this year." That's a bold claim in January when a whole year of books lies ahead. How can you pick the best book of any given year? I might have a most-loved book, or one that taught me the most, a most imaginative, or the most promising new author. So who knows about the "best book?" But I can predict that many of the characters in these outstanding stories will stay with me through the year and beyond.

Saunders writes in a deceptively straightforward style. His stories are unusual and fairly dark. Readers meet a kidnapper, a troubled veteran navigating a now-unfamiliar world, a killer learning about free will, and a sick man unable to face his decline. The characters are surprisingly sympathetic. Saunders weaves a strong thread of hope through his often shocking stories, leaving the reader slightly dazed but feeling better about this strange world. If you haven't read George Saunders yet, try this collection and see where it ranks in your 2013 book list.

--Jennifer A., Headquarters


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