Booksellers' Choice

Mojo Books & Music staff

The Recognitions: William Gaddis's sprawling, dense, difficult, unsung 1,000-pager from 1993 about forgery, art, religion and everything else took me much of the year to trudge through, but couldn't have been more rewarding. It's an angry book that invokes the gods just to obliterate them and examine the ashes. —Robert Simmons (pictured right)

The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Robert Coover's 2002 novel is the most insane book I've ever read. Follow the memory of the greatest actor of all time as he stumbles into adventures and mishaps in every film genre. Avoid if you despise pornography and esoteric opera terms. —Shawn Goldberg

Cathedral: Beyond skimming through Short Cuts when I was too young to appreciate it, Raymond Carver stayed on my "to read" list for years. Carver's short stories — as in this 1989 collection — leave me breathless and raw, happy and hurting, disturbed and relieved. Then after a brief period of recovery, I go back for more. —Melanie Cade