The following is a selection from the many books reviewed in Book World this year: Novels
Autumn, by A.G. Mojtabai (Houghton Mifflin, $9.95). A brief, luminous, unexpectedly humorous novel about a man in his sixties fighting his way back into the world after his wife has died of a stroke.
Bech Is Back, by John Updike (Knopf, $13.95). Another appearance by Henry Bech, Updike's Jewish novelist alter ego, in a romp through the world of publishing.
Bodily Harm, by Margaret Atwood (Simon and Schuster, $14.50). A journalist from Toronto on assignment on a small Caribbean island finds herself in the middle of an insurrection.
A Boy's Own Story, by Edmund White (Dutton, $13.95). Growing up wealthy, Midwestern and homosexual in the '50s.
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (HBJ, $11.95). A novel in the form of letters by two sisters from a poor rural background.
The Dean's December, by Saul Bellow (Harper & Row, $12.95). An academic administrator from Chicago spends a month in Bucharest with his wife, who is visiting her dying mother.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler (Knopf, $13.50). Family life in Baltimore.
Family Happiness, by Laurie Colwin (Knopf, $12.95). A delightful novel about a woman from a wealthy Jewish family in Manhattan who is tempted to stray.
George Mills, by Stanley Elkin (Dutton, $15.95). In a rich prose that plucks laughter from despair, we follow the many incarnations of George Mills over a millennium.
Mantissa, by John Fowles (Little, Brown, $13.95). A spirited and erotic meditation on the relationship of the author and his muse.
A Lifetime Burning, by Ellen Douglas (Random House, $13.95). This novel in the form of a confessional diary explores the history of a long marriage, and the distances between the sexes.
Monsignor Quixote, by Graham Greene (Simon and Schuster, $12.95). A modern retelling of Don Quixote with a descendant of the original Quixote in the title role.
The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin, $13.95). A handyman and inventor from Massachusetts moves his family from an America he feels is crumbling and settles them in Honduras.
The Rebel Angels, by Robertson Davies (Viking, $13.95). A love triangle at a large Canadian university.
Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo, by Ntozake Shange (St. Martin's, $10.95). The story of three sisters from South Carolina, told in a spare, original voice.
Waiting for the Barbarians, by J.M. Coetzee (Penguin paperback, $3.95). A surreal fable of racial brutality and injustice. History
The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible. Volume I, Civilization and Capitalism 15th- 18th Century, by Fernand Braudel (Harper & Row, $30). The doyen of French historians looks at material objects.
Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1949-1953, by Robert J. Donovan (Norton, $19.95). After his triumphant election, President Truman confronts communist challenges in Europe and Asia.
The Vineyard of Liberty, by James MacGregor Burns (Knopf, $22.95). The American republic, from its founding to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the first of a projected multi-volume history of the American experience.
Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris, June 6-August 25th, 1944, by John Keegan (Viking, $17.95). A romantic, very English, compulsively readable account of the D-Day campaign. Public Affairs
The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency, by James Bamford (Houghton Mifflin, $16.95). The first try of an uncoding of the National Security Agency.
Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency, by Hamilton Jordan (Putnam, $16.95). How the hostage crisis derailed a re-election campaign.
The Education of David Stockman and Other Americans, by William Greider (Dutton, $5.95). The Reagan administration encounters the federal budget.
The Fate of the Earth, by Jonathan Schell (Knopf, $11.95). A frightening account of nuclear war.
Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President, by Jimmy Carter (Bantam, $22.50). The history of the Carter administration as written by its prime mover.
Years of Upheaval, by Henry Kissinger (Little, Brown, $24.95). The second volume of the diplomatist's memoir.
Bad Money, by L.J. Davis (St. Martin's, $12.95). The mysteries, and risks, of banking in Eurodollars. Popular Fiction
Family Trade, by James Carroll (Little, Brown, $14.95). Adventure and intrigue in a family of spies.
Goodbye, Mickey Mouse, by Len Deighton (Knopf, $14.95). World War II, in the air and in the bedroom.
Second Heaven, by Judith Guest (Viking, $14.95). A lawyer, a divorcee and a 16-year-old boy give strength to one another.
Someone Else's Money, by Michael M. Thomas. (Simon and Schuster, $14.95). The interlocking worlds of big money and high culture provide thrill and laughter.
Space, by James Michener (Random House, $17.95) Blasting off into the last frontier. Short Fiction
Beyond the Pale and Other Stories, by William Trevor (Viking, $12.95). Eleven splendid, skillful stories by the Anglo-Irish writer.
The Best-Loved Stories of Jesse Stuart (McGraw- Hill, $14.95). A selection from the hundreds of stories Stuart has written about the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.
Levitations: Five Fictions, by Cynthia Ozick (Knopf, $11.50). Stunningly forceful, original and intelligent stories which mix the real and the magical.
The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer (Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.95). Four dozen stories from the Nobel laureate.
Collected Stories, by V.S. Pritchett (Random House, $20). Twenty-nine stories from Sir Victor.
The Burning House, by Ann Beattie (Random House, $12.95). A new collection from the gifted chronicler of the children of John Cheever's characters. Bylines
Washington Post staff members published the following books in 1982:
Reagan, by Lou Cannon (Putnam, $18.95). A portrait of the president.
Washington: Houses of the Capital, photographs by Derry Moore; text by Henry Mitchell (Viking, $40). Upstairs, downstairs and all around the town.
Israel Now: Portrait of a Troubled Land, by Lawrence Meyer (Delacorte, $16.95). Charting the complexities of a nation.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, by Judith Martin (Atheneum, $19.95). Which fork to use, which hat to wear.
Fool's Mercy, by Henry Allen (Houghton Mifflin, $12.95). A Washington thriller.
On the Air, by Tom Shales (Summit, $15.50). Bad-boy quips and other remarks from The Post's television critic.
Gilbert: A Comedy of Manners, by Judith Martin (Atheneum, $14.95). Up from Harvard.
Scientific Temperaments, by Philip Hilts (Simon and Schuster, $15.95). Three profiles of brilliant researchers.
How Life Imitates the World Series: An Inquiry into the Game, by Thomas Boswell (Doubleday, $14.95). A poetic look at baseball from one of its great chroniclers. Biography and Autobiography
The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. I: The Path to Power, by Robert A. Caro (Knopf, $19.95). How LBJ roared out of Texas.
Thomas Eakins,, by Lloyd Goodrich (Harvard, $60). The life and art, beautifully told and illustrated, of the 19th-century Philadelphia painter.
Last Stands: Notes From Memory, by Hilary Masters (Godine, $14.95). The poet Edgar Lee Masters' son pays loving tribute to his forebears.
Robert Lowell: A Biography, by Ian Hamilton (Random House, $19.95). A fascinating account of a writer hailed as America's best poet in his own time but whose life was clouded by mental illness.
James Joyce: New and Revised Edition, by Richard Ellmann (Oxford, $35). The definitive life of the author of Ulysses. One of the best literary biographies of this century.
Cain, by Roy Hoopes (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $25). A detailed life of the author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Idemnity.
Mozart, by Wolfgang Hildesheimer (Farrar Straus Giroux, $22.50). Annals of a short but brilliant career.
A Man's Life, by Roger Wilkins (Simon and Schuster, $17.95). A journalist writes about being black in white America.
Edie: An American Biography, by Jean Stein, edited with George Plimpton (Knopf, $16.95). The short, meteoric, and very druggy career of the blue-blood who starred in Andy Warhol films.
Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir, by Eileen Simpson (Random House, $15.50). An elegant memoir of poet John Berryman's friends and rivals.
Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., by Stephen B. Oates (Harper & Row, $19.95). An eloquent and moving account of the civil rights leader.
Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins, by Roy Wilkins with Tom Mathews (Viking, $16.95). The life of the civil rights advocate and longtime NAACP president.
Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, by Richard Norton Smith (Simon and Schuster, $22.50). An informed and detailed biography of the New York governor who was twice a presidential candidate.
The Torch in My Ear, by Elias Canetti (Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.50). The second volume of the Nobel laureate's autobiography finds him in Vienna and Berlin.
Growing Up, by Russell Baker (Congdon & Weed, $15). A Virginia boy grows up during the Depression.
Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, by Judith Thurman (St. Martin's, $19.95). The strange journey of Isak Dinesen from Denmark to Africa and back again. General Nonfiction
How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America, by Rick Fields (Shambhala, $12.95). The early pioneers of Buddhism and their effect on American intellectual life.
American Journey, by Richard Reeves (Simon and Schuster, $15.95). A modern trip along de Tocqueville's route.
Martin's Hundred, by Ivor Noel Hume (Knopf, $17.95). Archeology unlocks the secrets of an early Virginia settlement.
Mountain in the Clouds: A Search for the Wild Salmon, by Bruce Brown (Simon and Schuster, $12.95). The mad dash upstream and its consequences.
Late Innings: A Baseball Companion, by Roger Angell (Simon and Schuster, $17.50). Angell weaves "the web of baseball" with consummate skill once more.
Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by Susan Sheehan (Houghton Mifflin, $14.95). Schizophrenia -- in and out of a New York state hospital. Mysteries
Twice Shy, by Dick Francis (Putnam, $13.95). Horse racing and the computer business constitute the two worlds of the latest from the queen-mum's ex-jockey.
End Game, by Michael Gilbert (Harper & Row, $13.50). The grandmaster of the literate English mystery writes about a Scotland Yard secret operation.
Cinnamon Skin, by John D. MacDonald (Harper & Row, $13.95). The 20th adventure of Travis McGee sets off on the scent of a calculating murderer.
Cat Chaser, by Elmore Leonard (Arbor House, $13.50). Another stunner from Motor City's best thriller writer.
Light Thickens, by Ngaio Marsh (Little, Brown, $13.95). In this posthumously published novel, Roderick Alleyn, CID, Scotland Yard, returns to the world of theater.
The Skull Beneath the Skin, by P.D. James (Scribner, $13.95). The queen of crime brings back Cordelia Gray. Criticism
Cross Sections From a Decade of Change, by Elizabeth Janeway (Morrow, $14.95). Cultural criticism from an eminent feminist.
Recollected Essays, 1965-1980 ($15; paperback, $7.50) and The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural ($16.50; paperback, $8.50), by Wendell Berry (North Point Press). Thoughtful essays on living, farming and reading.
Terrorists and Novelists, by Diane Johnson (Knopf, $14.50). A collection of literary journalism.
Visions from San Francisco Bay, Czeslaw Milosz (Farrar Straus Giroux, $14.95). Thirty-two interrelated essays by the Nobel laureate in which he tries to come to terms with his exile in our country. Letters
Stravinsky: Selected Correspondence, Volume I, edited by Robert Craft (Knopf, $27.50). An intimate look at the composer, his marriages, his work and life.
The Letters of Gustave Flaubert, 1857-1880, edited by Francis Steegmuller (Belknap/Harvard, $15). Flaubert after Madame Bovary.
The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson, Volume I, edited by Cecil Y. Lang and Edgar F. Shannon Jr. (Harvard University Press, $30). Letters interwoven with personal descriptions of the complex Victorian poet.
Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals, edited by Leslie A. Marchand (Belknap/Harvard University Press, $17.50). The exotic background of Byron's romantic poetry. Children's Books
The Two-Thousand-Pound Goldfish, by Betsy Byars (Harper & Row, $9.95; ages 10-up). The story of a little boy's need for love in the face of his mother's political militancy.
They Came From Aargh!; The Great Gum Drop Robbery; The Battle of Zormla; The Flight of Bembel Rudzuk, by Russell Hoban; illustrated by Colin McNaughton (Philomel, $6.95 each; ages 6-10). Four delightful picture books starring Mummosaurus and the Hungry Three.
Ming Lo Moves the Mountain, by Arnold Lobel (Greenwillow, $9.50; ages 4-8). A humorous, subtle, original story, pleasingly illustrated.
Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi, by Tomie de Paola (Holiday House, $14.95; ages 5-9). A glowing work of love that appeared on the 800th anniversary of the gentle saint's birth.
The Sun's Asleep Behind the Hill, by Mirra Ginsburg; illustrated by Paul O Zelinsky (Greenwillow, $9.50; ages 3-6). This tale adapted from an Armenian song is illustrated with atmospheric, tautly observed paintings.
Herbert Rowbarge, by Natalie Babbitt (Farrar Straus Giroux, $9.95; ages 14-up). Two generations of twins, and an amusement park called the Pleasure Dome.
A String of Chances, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum, $10.95; Ages 11-up). A crucial summer full of love and heartache for 16-year-old Evie Hutchins.
Ernest and Celestine and Bravo, Ernest and Celestine! by Gabrielle Vincent (Greenwillow, $9.50 each; ages 2-6). Charming and beautifully illustrated stories about Ernest, a lovable brown bear, and his adopted mousedaughter. Poetry
Selected Poems, by Galway Kinnell (Houghton Mifflin, $12.50). Hard, clear verse that holds death up to life.
The Chinese Insomniacs, by Josephine Jacobsen (University of Pennsylvania Press, $9.95; paperback, $4.95). Formal, mature poems that stare unblinkingly at the evil at the heart of things.
Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief: New and Selected Poems, by Maxine Kumin (Viking, $15.95; Penguin paperback, $7.95). Poems at once personal and historical from the recent Poetry Consultant at the Library of Congress.
Monolithos: Poems 1962 and 1982 (Knopf, $11.50), by Jack Gilbert. Poems with a classical lucidity and control, by a man who 20 years ago exiled himself to a Greek isle after his first book of poems made a big literary splash.
Antarctic Traveller, by Katha Pollitt (Knopf, $11.50; paperback, $5.95). Carefully formed, passionate poems of interior voyages in an urban world.
Hundreds of Fireflies, by Brad Leithauser (Knopf, $11.50; paperback, $5.95). Exuberant, witty, versatile poems by a young poet to watch. Science Fiction
The Sword of the Lictor, by Gene Wolfe (Timescape, $15.50). Volume three of Wolfe's monumental tetralogy, The Book of the New Sun.
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, by Philip K. Dick (Timescape/Pocket, $15.50). A novel based on the story of Bishop James Pike, by the late author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Foundation's Edge, by Isaac Asimov (Doubleday, $14.95). A sequel to the famous Asimov Foundation stories, published in the '40s.
Eye of Cat, by Roger Zelazny (Timescape/Simon and Schuster, $13.95). The future story of a Navajo Indian who has filled Earth's zoos with animals from other solar systems.
The Blind Men and the Elephant, by Russell M. Griffin (Timescape, $2.95). A finely written, humorous, largely realistic novel about an "Elephant Man."