Thursday, August 12, 2010

Best of 2010, Update 24

I think it's time for another update while these last five books are still fresh on my mind.

To be considered this time are three novels and two nonfiction titles: The Perfect Reader (Maggie Pouncey), The Fabulous Clipjoint (Fredric Brown), The White Garden (Stephanie Barron), Composed: A Memoir (Rosanne Cash),  and The Peep Diaries (Hal Niedzviecki).

This time around, only one of the three fiction titles deserve to crack the list: The White Garden moves in at a nice number 4 slot.  So now, of 59 fiction titles, these are my 10 favorites:

1. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (novel)
2. Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes (Vietnam War novel)
3. The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim (novel)
4. The White Garden - Stephanie Barron (literary alternate history)
5. Shadow of the Swords - Kamran Pasha (novel about the Third Crusade)
6. Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier (historical fiction)
7. Drood - Dan Simmons (historical fiction)
8. The Secret Speech - Tom Rob Smith (historical thriller)
9. Far Cry - John Harvey (police procedural)
10. Home, Away - Jeff Gillenkirk (baseball novel)

And the nonfiction list, from a total of 20 read, changes a bit with Composed moving in comfortably at number 6:

1. Lies My Mother Never Told Me - Kaylie Jones (memoir)
2. War - Sebastian Junger (about the daily lives of our soldiers in Afghanistan)
3. Man of Constant Sorrow - Ralph Stanley & Eddie Dean (biography)
4. Losing My Cool - Thomas Chatterton Williams (memoir)
5. Jane's Fame - Claire Harman (on the evolution of Jane Austen's reputation)
6. Composed: A Memoir - Rosanne Cash (memoir)
7. The Opposite Field - Jesse Katz - (memoir)
8. The Tennis Partner - Abraham Verghese (1998 memoir)
9. Game Change - John Heilemann & Mark Halperin (political nonfiction)
10. Damp Squid - Jeremy Butterfield (on the evolution of the English language)  

That makes these the best 20 books of the 79 I've read so far this year, with almost five months still for otherss to make the final lists.


  1. It's a good one, Susan, and at number 6 it has a shot at holding on for the final list - but I'm starting to read more nonfiction now than in the first part of the year, so it might be close. Just starting a brand new Roger Maris bio tonight or tomorrow...