100 Notable Books of 2011: The NYTBR Issue of 4 December 2011

Thank goodness self was only interested in which Asian or Asian American writers were on the list, or her arm would be broken from typing.  As it turned out, she was able to get over the list rather quickly.

Without further ado, here are the Asian and/or Asian American authors included in the New York Times Book Review’s “100 Notable Books of 2011” (Not representative of all the books published in the whole wide world in 2011- duuuh! Only the ones in English, or translated into English, AND reviewed in the pages of The New York Times or the NYTBR in 2011):

Fiction and Poetry

(Of course there were poetry collections in the list, but none were by Asians or Asian Americans — Maaajor GRRRR!)


Which is not to say there are no books about Asia or Asian Americans.  Here’s one, written by Joseph Lelyveld:  Great Soul:  Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India.

As far as self can make out from the one or two sentences that follow each “Notable” book, these are the fiction settings:

  • contemporary Los Angeles
  • Ceylon/ England (Of course, this one is the setting for the new Michael Ondaatje novel)
  • Albany (William Kennedy’s, of course)
  • a Maine diner
  • Rome
  • a Central American jungle
  • the American Midwest
  • New Jersey
  • New York City (twice)
  • Budapest
  • 1980s Germany
  • Bosnia
  • the Everglades (Of course, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia)
  • the Balkans
  • the Idaho panhandle

This year, it would appear (and self will just go ahead and make a big leap, here, even though she is operating on next to no information other than what’s contained in two sentences in the list of “Notable Books of 2011,” but what’s a lack of knowledge compared to the complete and utter tragedy of not being able to blog about something as compelling as the fictional settings of the “Notable Books of 2011”) that none of the Notable Books —  NONE —  are set in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Or Boston.  Two of self’s favorite American urban places.

She doesn’t know why Chicago should be left out of the wailing, for that’s a very cool American city as well, so let’s just go ahead and ask why none of the Notable Books are set in Chicago.

If any dear blog readers can dis-abuse self of the notion that NONE of the NYTBR’s Notable Books of 2011 are set in either:  a) the San Francisco Bay Area; or b) the greater Boston Metropolitan area; or c) in Chicago and environs, please feel free to enlighten self by leaving a comment.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.