What to read in January

From political skulduggery to scientific discovery to the Zen of parking, the month's best fiction will make you laugh and think.

Published January 24, 2002 10:19PM (EST)

The doldrums of January, especially a January following such a tumultuous fall, can seem deadly indeed, and nothing provides a better escape than a really good book. Somehow, it's just not a time for weighty works of searching realism. Instead, we found ourselves beguiled by an ingenious fantasy about a literary detective, a droll yarn about a man who turns Gotham upside down just by staying put, a hot and heavy novel about a Rennaissance painter, the boisterous saga of a Falstaffian political boss and a story collection extolling the seductive pull of scientific curiosity. There's more pure fun on this month's book list than we've indulged in for quite a while, but we can't help thinking we've earned it. We suspect you have as well, so dig in.

Our first pick: William Kennedy returns with a grandly entertaining novel about a 1920s political boss

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