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Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012

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Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012

Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Here at WEEKEND EDITION, we've been looking back at some of the best books of 2012. Our final contributor, reviewer Parul Sehgal, chose to highlight not just her favorite books of the year but the gutsy and odd women who stalked those pages.

PARUL SEHGAL: For this year, I chose my favorite heroines from fiction and non-fiction. And in life and in literature, I tend to like nosey women.

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SEHGAL: The book I want to talk about today is "Address Book" by Sophie Calle. The story is basically 1983, Sophie Calle's a French artist. She found an address book lying on the street. And she decided to call up as many people who would speak to her and ask about the owner of the address book whose name was inscribed in the front - this mysterious Pierre D.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SEHGAL: She published these descriptions in a French newspaper every day. And, you know, some people were delighted. Pierre D. was outraged and threatened to sue. And finally, only sort of calmed down when he insisted that the paper publish a nude photograph of Sophie Calle. Sophie Calle, by all accounts that I've been able to see, was rather delighted and said go ahead. But they did agree that the book itself would not be published until after his death.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SEHGAL: Sophie Calle is one of my favorite heroines of this year and possibly of all time. She's trouble. Originally, we're supposed to be interested in Pierre D., but slowly - or at least the way I read it - Sophie becomes the person that we're completely fascinated by - repulsed by - because this project is a violation. But at the same time, we can't stop watching. She's completely unique.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Parul Sehgal is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. You can find the rest of her list of the best heroines of 2012 at npr.org.

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