Vanessa M. Gezari, journalist and University of Michigan professor
Tenth of December, by George Saunders
Thoughts on the book: In January, The New York Times raved: “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year.” I didn’t believe it. A few weeks ago, I picked up his latest collection and was immediately hooked. The first story, about a kidnapping attempt, is weird, gripping, and beautiful. So is the one about a futuristic lab where mood-altering drugs are tested on prisoners, and the one about a middle-class family man for whom the care, feeding, and grisly display of immigrant women has become a status symbol. Achingly sad and laugh-out-loud funny, these stories are as tender as they are sharp. I’ve never read anything like them.