Best of Pages

updated 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Independence Day Richard Ford
Ford's genius for illuminating life's ordinary moments shines in this story about a man who learns the value of commitment as he tries to wrest love from his estranged teenage son. (Knopf)

Krik? Krak! Edwidge DantiCat
In vivid, tactile prose, Danticat writes powerfully of her native Haiti; of the dreamers and blasted dreams; of the people trying futilely to escape and those they leave behind. (Soho)

Stormy Weather Carl Hiaasen
With his curious combination of low satire and high sentiment, Hiaasen whips up gales of laughter in his novel's raucous, post-hurricane scenario. (Knopf)

The Love Letter Cathleen Schine
An anonymous missive changes the life of a charmingly self-centered bookstore proprietor in this giddy May-October romance. (Houghton Mifflin)

Come to Grief Dick Francis
After a string of also-rans, the former jockey puts fearless private eye Sid Halley back in the saddle for a ripping race to the winner's circle. (Putnam)

Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America Carolyn See
Drugs and drink, hangovers and the consequences of excess permeate this unflinching yet exuberant memoir about one woman's fractured family and how some made it out alive. (Random House)

A Civil Action Jonathan Harr
When too many citizens of a small Massachusetts town fall victim to leukemia, an activist lawyer goes after corporate big guns suspected of poisoning the local water in this nonaction David and Goliath face-off that reads like a thriller. (Random House)

Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog Mark Leyner
Whether analyzing two brothers who killed their parents for being too kind or sampling Testosteroni, the pasta for men, humorist Leyner leads readers on a snowmobile ride through a blizzard of imaginative absurdity. (Harmony)

A Good Life Ben Bradlee
With humor, grace and an appealing dollop of modesty, the former Washington Post editor writes about his event-packed life as JFK's confidant and Richard Nixon's enemy. (Simon & Schuster)

The Blue Afternoon William Boyd
Boyd casts a spell in this exotic story of the clandestine love affair between a surgeon and the wife of an Army officer who eventually lose each other in Manila at the turn of the century. (Knopf)

The Liars' Club Mary Karr
A poet turns to prose in a searing and sometimes horrifying account of a broken childhood in the Texas outback. (Viking)

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