Adelle Waldman

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

First, a word about this list: It's honestly just a fluke that my best books rundown for 2013 is so gender-biased. I didn't deliberately set out this year to read so many terrific books by women.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Before I read Adelle Waldman's brilliant debut novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., I had about as much interest in reading about the hip, young literary types who've colonized Brooklyn as I do in watching Duck Dynasty, that reality show about a family of bearded Luddites who live in the Louisiana swamps. Both clans are ingrown and smug, each, in their own way, disdainful of the American mainstream.

Adelle Waldman's debut novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., is fiction — but only just. It's a detailed, realistic depiction of the lives of the literary 30-somethings who frequent the "faux-dives and mysteriously hip restaurants" currently gentrifying Brooklyn, written from the perspective of Nate, a young Brooklyn writer with a book deal who dates mostly editorial assistants and Barnard graduates. So of course, I — as a recent Barnard graduate, now editorial assistant — read this book in four hours, hoping to discover all my boyfriend's secret thoughts.