What a great year of reading 2010 was! I read 79 books, which is the most I've managed in recent years. Of those, 5 were young adult (YA) titles, 6 were non-fiction, and eight of them could be classified in the genre I coined... trashy underwater fiction. Of course, the more books you read, the harder it gets to narrow down the list to just ten. Plus, I was reading some of the best books of the year, right up to the final days of 2010. It seemed prudent to hold off until January before finalizing the list. Here it is:
1. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet - David Mitchell
Union Atlantic - Adam Haslett
The Three Weissmans of Westport – Cathleen Schine
A Visit From the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
Skippy Dies - Paul Murray
Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes - Stephen Sondheim
Kraken - China Mieville
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloop
As is my tradition, only the first book is ranked. All others are listed in the order read. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman was a strong contender, but got edged out by Egan's Goon Squad, another novel of linked stories. Likewise, Allegra Goodman's delightful The Cookbook Collector was edged out by Cathleen Schine's equally Austenesque Weissmans. Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil was a strong contender in my heart, but I just didn't want to deal with the fallout if I named it.
Other high-profile books that didn't make the cut included Room by Emma Donaghue, Solar by Ian McEwan, The Passage by Justin Cronin, Great House by Nicole Krauss, By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham, The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, C by Thomas McCarthy, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson. This was a year of great and diverse literature!
So these were my favorites in the past year, and I'm about to post the review of a contender for next year's list. The hits just keep on coming!