Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best of 2010, Update 21

I have six new books to consider since my last update of twelve days ago - 6 books in 12 days is a pretty fast pace for me and I'm wondering how it happened. I decided to update my thoughts on this perpetual "Best of 2010" list while I wait for the big jam session to begin out by the Days Inn swimming pool. It has finally cooled off in Owensboro, Kentucky, and out-of-towners here for ROMP 2010 are determined to make the most of it.

Up for consideration this time are 5 novels and 1 memoir: A Bad Day for Pretty (Sophie Littlefield), The Devil Amongst the Lawyers (Sharyn McCrumb), The Poacher's Son (Paul Doiron), The Third Rail (Michael Harvey), Mexico City Noir (12 authors), and Unfinished Business (Lee Kravitz). I am to the point that changes to the list are coming less often than before and only 2 of the 6 new books have cracked the list.

So, after due consideration, this is what the fiction list looks like after 47 fiction books read:

1. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (novel)
2. Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes (Vietnam War novel)
3. The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim (novel)
4. Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier (historical fiction)
5. Drood - Dan Simmons (historical fiction)
6. The Secret Speech - Tom Rob Smith (historical thriller)
7. Far Cry - John Harvey (police procedural)
8. The Devil Amongst the Lawyers - Sharyn McCrumb (Ballad Novel)
9. A Fair Maiden - Joyce Carol Oates (novel)
10. Johnny Porno - Charlie Stella (noir crime fiction)

And the nonfiction list from a total of 15 read so far this year is:
1. Lies My Mother Never Told Me - Kaylie Jones (memoir)
2. Man of Constant Sorrow - Ralph Stanley & Eddie Dean (biography)
3. Losing My Cool - Thomas Chatterton Williams (memoir)
4. Jane's Fame - Claire Harman (on the evolution of Jane Austen's reputation)
5. The Opposite Field - Jesse Katz - (memoir)
6. The Tennis Partner - Abraham Verghese (1998 memoir)
7. Game Change - John Heilemann & Mark Halperin (political nonfiction)
8. Damp Squid - Jeremy Butterfield (on the evolution of the English language)
9. Unfinished Business - Lee Kravitz (memoir)
10. Top of the Order - Sean Manning, Ed. (baseball essays)
So that's six books and two changes:The Devil Amongst the Lawyers enters the fiction list at number 8, squeezing The Samaritan's Secret off the list, and Unfinished Business enters the nonfiction list at number 9, eliminating A Time to Betray. So these are the best 20 books of the 62 books I've read as of it's time for some bluegrass.


  1. I had to put Matterhorn aside for a variety of reasons, but hope to get back to it soon. I'll have to go read your review of The Secret Speech because I heard more negative reviews than good reviews. I really liked Child 44, so it was disappointing to hear that about the sequel.

    Also, Sam, I sent you an email. I hope it doesn't go to spam!

  2. Matterhorn is a good fictional account of war, Trish, but it was topped by Sebastian Junger's nonfiction book called "War." That one is going to go very near the top of my nonfiction list next time I update it. I'll be doing a review of it next week.