Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best of 2010, Update 25

It's been five books since my last update and, since the end of August comes in just a couple of days, this will represent my Top 10 lists exactly two-thirds of the way through 2010.

To be considered again this time are three novels and two nonfiction titles:The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno (Ellen Bryson), Percival's Planet (Michael Byers), Beatrice and Virgil (Yann Martel), Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero (Tom Claven, Danny Peary) and Identical Strangers (Elyse Schein, Paula Bernstein) .

And, just as last time, only one of the three fiction titles cracks the list: Beatrice and Virgil jumps into the shaky number 8 slot.  So now, of 62 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. Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martel (novel with a punch)
9. The Secret Speech - Tom Rob Smith (historical thriller)
10. Far Cry - John Harvey (police procedural)
And the nonfiction list, from a total of 22 read, changes a bit with Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero moving into what should prove to be a pretty secure number 5 slot and Identical Strangers entering at an extremely shaky number 10:

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. Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero (biography)
6. Jane's Fame - Claire Harman (on the evolution of Jane Austen's reputation)
7. Composed: A Memoir - Rosanne Cash (memoir)
8. The Opposite Field - Jesse Katz - (memoir)
9. The Tennis Partner - Abraham Verghese (1998 memoir)
10.Idential Strangers (memoir)  

And there you have the best 20 books of the 84 I've read so far this year - with only four months for others to make the final lists.


  1. Interesting list, Sam. You've made me want to go out and try them ...!

  2. I left Cutting For Stone behind in the US. Thwack!

  3. There are some good ones, particularly up toward the top of both lists, Warden. It's been a pretty good reading year for me so far.

  4. Is "thwack" the sound your head makes when you slap it really, really hard? :-)