Friday, February 26, 2010

Best of 2010, Update 11

I've read four books since the last Top 10 update and the fourth one, Lies My Mother Never Told Me deserves to crack the list - and I suspect it will be there for a long time. Lies My Mother Never Told Me is the new Kaylie Jones memoir in which she tells what it was like to grow up as the daughter of James and Gloria Jones. James Jones, as most of you know, is the author of three classic WWII novels: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line and Whistle. This is a fascinating read on several different levels.

Top 10 after 22 possibilities:

1. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (novel)
2. Lies My Mother Never Told Me - Kaylie Jones (memoir)
3. Man of Constant Sorrow - Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean (biography)
4. The Opposite Field - Jesse Katz (memoir)

5. The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim (novel)

6. A Fair Maiden - Joyce Carol Oates - (novel)
7. Game Change - John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (political nonfiction)
8. Homer & Langley - E.L. Doctorow - 4.0 (novel)
9. Blind Submission - Debra Ginsberg (2006 novel)
10. T Is for Trespass - Sue Grafton (novel)


  1. I've never read any James Jones, but I love memoirs about writers. It's not a "Daddy Dearest" is it?

  2. No, Kaylie really loved and respected her father and his work ethic, despite his heavy drinking. Her problem was with her mother, a cruel alcoholic with a dislike for her only daughter that she hid from everyone but Kaylie. Her mother was a raving alcoholic for decades and combined that problem with dementia in her last years, so you can imagine what it must have been like for Kaylie and her adopted brother.

    You really should read some James Jones at some point, especially his three WWII books. I've read them all twice and will probably read them again at some point. They were a little "rough" for the time they were written and Jones had to fight with his editors a lot to keep the language and attitudes realistic.