Who better to choose the best books of the year than the Indies?
BOOK OF THE YEAR – ADULT FICTION
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel, by Jan Philipp Sendker (Other Press)
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel, by Jess Walter (Harper)
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel, by Ben Fountain (Ecco)
The Dog Stars: A Novel, by Peter Heller (Knopf)
The Orphan Master’s Son: A Novel, by Adam Johnson (Random House)
The Round House: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich (Harper)
From Richard Nash’s piece in the VQR, What Is the Business of Literature?
"Books not only are part and parcel of consumer capitalism, they virtually began it. They are part of the fuel that drives it. The growth of the chain model in books offered the twentieth-century public the opportunity to decry the groceryfication of the bookstore, utterly belying the reality, as Striphas outlines in The Late Age of Print—by quoting Rachel Bowlby—that the bookstore is in fact the model for the supermarket:
In the history of shop design, it is bookstores, strangely enough, that were the precursors of supermarkets. They, alone of all types of shop, made use of shelves that were not behind counters, with the goods arranged for casual browsing, and for what was not yet called self-service. Also, when brand name goods and their accompanying packages were non-existent or rare in the sale of food, books had covers that were designed at once to protect the contents and to entice the purchaser; they were proprietary products with identifiable authors and new titles.
There are other examples of significant innovation being driven by the publishers—Penguin founder Allen Lane’s 1937 paperback vending machine for better commuter distribution being among the most charming—but the point is that books aren’t sitting grumpily in economy class on the airplane to the future. They’re in the cockpit.”