By Ken Tucker
January 23, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Unlike virtually all of the other lists that dictate my life, the only one I don’t mind seeing grow is the list of books I want to read. In 2004 I’m eagerly awaiting dozens of titles, starting with the reliably interesting HANIF KUREISHI’s The Body, a novel about an old man whose brain is surgically placed in a younger person’s frame. Other favorite writers producing must-read novels this year: the wonderful, stalwart JOHN UPDIKE and RACHEL CUSK (whose complex, cerebral books have yet to find the audience they deserve). A dark new Harry Bosch mystery from MICHAEL CONNELLY is a sure treat, and his upcoming The Narrows seems likely to keep me up at night this spring. So does Brooklyn denizen ROBERT SULLIVAN’s nonfiction Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants, another kind of horror story. For comic relief, I’m turning to DAVID SEDARIS’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim — he’s never disappointed me yet. Nor has Atlantic Monthly contributor ANDREW TODHUNTER. In A Meal Observed he sits down to a four-course feast at a posh Paris restaurant and delves into all the elements that go into a classic French meal. Another nonfiction book I’m looking forward to: LAUREN SLATER’s Opening Skinner’s Box, a look at great psych experiments. Her essays have made me cringe — they’re so shockingly personal — but I’ve been riveted by her witty explorations of everything from lying to Prozac. And late in the year arrives a children’s book by The New Yorker’s effervescent ADAM GOPNIK. In his delectable Paris to the Moon he wrote memorably and delicately about children — no mean feat — and I’m fascinated to see what he will write for them.