Friday, December 10, 2010

top 10 of of '10- novels!

Novels were the hardest- not narrowing down- because I'm still actually amazed that I read 10 novels that came out in 2010,  (I guess grad school actually helps with that). But I was concerned with ranking them. In reality, I wanted a 3 way tie for first. But here goes, my top ten novels of 2010. 

10. Dead in the Family- Charlaine Harris
Okay, these aren't great books. But I love True Blood so much, and miss it so dearly when it's not on TV, that I read the books during the huge gaps between. 

9. Super Sad True Love Story- Gary Shteyngart
a loaner from a friend at St Andrews, it's a bit wacky, but I like any world where you can college major in "Images" and minor in "Assertiveness."

I love David Mitchell. Everyone told me this was a reinvention and it was. But give me remote islands and Japanese culture: sold. 

7. The New Yorker Stories- Ann Beattie
Actually short stories of hers that appeared in The New Yorker from 1974-2006. (I'm including it, since I read many of them actually in the New Yorker.)

6. Room- Emma Donahue
A lovely kindle read. I love stories about children. And the challenges of confined space.

5. The Infinities- John Banville
After this, and The Sea, I will read anything by John Banville. You bring in those Greek myths, John. 

4. A Visit From the Good Squad- Jennifer Egan
I didn't think a mixed-media novel could work, but Jenny Egan is just that good. Novel in short stories, you rock my world. Especially the one about Sasha's uncle in Italy. 

3. The Imperfectionists- Tom Rachman
I actually think this book is damn near perfect. I've since heard some less than flattering stories about its author, but I will love that book forever. I would love to write a book that slim and funny and wonderful. 

2. Freedom- Jonathan Franzen
I literally switched the order around 5 times. I feel like I have a good reason to bring this book up in conversation every day. I mean, I'm going to write my phd thesis on it, so I think that will tell you a bit about the level of love. Franzen's ability to perfectly observe neuroses is unmatched. I wouldn't want to be friends with anyone in this book, but I loved every one of them. 

1. The Passage- Justin Cronin
I love this book not just for what it is, but what it represents, and the promise of more to come. Success in writing is pretty elusive, and most of the time seems kind of arbitrary. Justin is the big shining example of the opposite. That critical, financial, and popular success can all land on the same-- really nice, really talented, really awesome-- person. His daughter (one of my all-time favorite babysitting kids) dared my professor to write a book that wasn't boring-- a book about a girl who saves the world. Instead, he wrote three. I can't wait for The Twelve to come out! 

Have a great weekend! I'm off to Edinburgh to celebrate the birth of Iona!

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