As the year draws to a close, we look back at the year’s reviews and the books that really stayed with us. Here are 10 of our favorites — first, five nonfiction titles, followed by five fiction. Any of them would make a great holiday present — or a gift to yourself.
THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, by Elena Ferrante
(Credit: Europa Editions)
Not every literary novelist takes Twitter by storm with her own hashtag. But this was the year of #FerranteFever, when the pseudonymous Italian author — whose real identity is unknown even to her American translator — published the final volume of her Neapolitan series, which has been steadily winning over readers since the release of “My Brilliant Friend” in 2012. At the center of the books are two women, Elena and Lila, who grew up together in a poor, violent neighborhood of Naples in the 1950s; as the years and the volumes go by their lives diverge, but their complicated friendship remains the focus, passing through every imaginable phase of passionate identification, resentment, disconnection, disdain and love. Read a review. (Europa Editions, $18)