You really must read . . .

From The Guardian:

Paperbacks The Booker prizewinner, Barack Obama's memoir or an introduction to the meaning of life – which books stood out for you in 2008?

Steven Bailey
Bognor Regis

Barack Obama's grandly titled The Audacity of Hope (Canongate) was first published in 2006. But he's now taken on a new importance. The book acts both as a personal statement – his reflections on faith, family and race – and as a considered analysis of the political system. Will his high-minded ideals be compromised by the messy practicalities of the American political process?

Sam Banik

Judt's Reappraisals (Heinemann), about our collective cultural amnesia, is an excellent anthology of essays on writers, humanists and Marxist intellectuals. Judt is enlightening on the political milieu of European nations, America's last half-century and Israel. Steve Toltz's Booker-shortlisted debut, A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton), is an elegantly written novel about a family of émigrés in Australia.

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