I never do a “best of” list, mainly because I have trouble remembering what I read; however, there’s where a blog comes in handy! Here are some books that made an impression on me in 2010.
Shadow Tag, Louise Erdrich—for several reasons, one of the most moving and deeply disturbing books I read this year.
The Little Stranger, Sarah Walters—a nearly perfect story of a haunting, and a social commentary about British class wars in the 1950s.
The Manual of Detection, Jedediah Berry—strange and delightful fantasy.
20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill—a short story collection filled with shivers and wonders.
Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente—probably, simply the best fantasy novel I read in 2010.
A Madness of Angels, Kate Griffin—and my favorite fantasy of 2010.
The Glister, John Burnside—this book was ultimately unsuccessful for me, but it is worth looking at for his stunning prose as he tells the story of a toxic town and the neighboring chemical plant.
Half-Made World, Felix Gilman—book one of a two-volume story, a deep, twisted and rich meditation on the nature of the frontier.
Of course I loved The City and The City by China Meiville, and I understand why The Windup Girl, even though flawed, won all the awards it did.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Alan Bradley mysteries and the Jacqueline Winspear books with Maisie Dobbs as her heroine.
I read a lot of Kage Baker, especially the Immortals series, during 2010, and the more I read, the less I enjoyed. I’m still not sure why that happened. I think it might just be that In the Garden of Iden is a hard act to follow.
In 2010 I read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I couldn’t let a list of books that moved me go by without mentioning this. My impulse is to say wait for the movie, because Tom Hanks and the cinematography will impart a seriousness the book lacks. On the other hand, why deny yourself the popcorn-throwing, bad-movie, laugh-out-loud badness of it all? Pick it up used, and be prepared to read the most ludicrous parts out loud to folks—it’s fun for the whole family!