Monday, December 20, 2010

Best Reads of 2010

I always do a Top Ten Books I Read This Year list; below are the honorable mention books that were in contention but didn't quite make it this year.  There were so many good ones, I didn't want to leave any out.
  • Ethics and infinity-Levinas
  • Florida poems-McGrath
  • People of the book-Brooks
  • In the palm of darkness-Montero
  • In the lake of the woods-O'Brien
  • God of the hive-King (I love all of her Mary Russell books; this was my favorite from this year).  Apparently she didn't quite comprehend the honor I gave her by including her in this list.  I got this sniffy tweet from @Mary_Russell: "I suppose Honourable Mention is a compliment, so thank you."
  • Jack of Kinrowan-deLint (I love everything he writes)
  • Angel Time-Rice
  • World according to Bertie-Smith (I love everything he writes too, all of the Botswana books, the Isabel Dalhousie books, and the Bertie books)
  • South of Broad-Conroy (another of my favorite authors)
Here are the actual Top Ten, in the order that I read them, not preference:

Bel Canto-Ann Patchett.  A house full of dignitaries is taken captive by guerillas.  The opera singer who was to entertain them is the central character in this beautiful evocation of music's effect on the soul.

Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer-Jonathan L. Howard. Definitely not horror, but not quite humor either, though very funny.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Sorry if this one is a little predictable, seeing as it was on the bestseller lists and all.  I just can't resist this kind of story about nice people being nice to each other.

Thirteenth tale-Diane Setterfield. This is the perfect gothic novel; I don't even like gothic novels, but I loved this book!

Instance of the fingerpost-Iain Pears. The best fiction about rhetoric I've ever read.

Borrowed time-Paul Monette. This memoir, written near the beginning of the AIDS era, was sad, sad, sad, but still haunts me. 

Devil to play-Jasper Rees. How could I resist the story of someone who decided to pick up the horn again after many years of not playing? 

Hunger games trilogy-Suzanne Collins. Another predictable entry, I suppose.  I've been a fan of Collins since her Underworld books; these create an even more realistic world, but they were too dark, tense, and violent for me to choose them as the absolute best I read this year.

Yearling/Cross Creek-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  I'm cheating again by choosing two books, but it's my list, so I'm allowed.  I had to read Rawlings for a class; I'd always resisted reading her because, I guess, I thought she was one of those writers who targeted kids who love animals.  Boy was I wrong.  Not only does she write about Florida better than anyone else I know, I feel like I would have loved to have her as a friend.

Finn-Jon Clinch.  This book just won't let me go.  I lay in bed at night and imagine I'm on the banks of the Mississippi in Finn's house, watching the river traffic.

Have you read them?  Do you like them?  Or am I way off?
One thing this list shows is that I'm way behind on my to-read list; very few of these were actually published this year.  Blame graduate school!

No comments:

Post a Comment