My favourite books of 2010

I read about 150 books during 2010. A good chunk of these were read on my holiday at the start of the year (including re-reading Lord of the Rings). Picking out the best ones was difficult, as I read some very good books. Setting an arbitrary limit of ten, here are the ones I loved most, in alphabetical order:

  • The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker – I think Nicholson Baker is one of the most inventive and fascinating writers working today. This book interleaves fiction with theories on poetry and some good jokes. At one point Baker makes a fascinating observation, that the collection may not be the best format for poetry.
  • The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber – this book is not yet published, but I read a draft. It's a historical novel in verse which tells a story of adventure and subterfuge. Its format as poetry actually adds to the pacing. It deserves to find a wide audience. 
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis – previously blogged about here.
  • The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby – blogged about here. I need to revisit this soon.
  • Advice for Strays by Justine Kilkerr – see here.
  • How I escaped my certain fate / Stewart lee – see here.
  • i play the drums in a band called okay by Toby Litt – see here.
  • Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway was republished this year. Her book uses an interesting structure to tell a serious story. Despite the dark ending, you get a feeling that Sarah really enjoyed writing this.
  • Are you experienced by William Sutcliffe – I read a lot of books about India in preparation for my trip. I learned very little from most of them, particularly the serious tomes written by English and American journalists. This book questions the idea of travelling and makes some very good points. I was surprised by how thought-provoking I found it.
  • The New Journalism by Thomas Wolfe  - I read this around the same time as I read Reality Hunger. The introduction to Wolfe's book the most interesting writing on fiction I've read in some time. He seems to have been ahead of Shields on many points. However, Wolfe did turn to fiction after working on this book, and I hope to find some time to look into why. 

I would normally do a list of the films I enjoyed too, but I only saw 7 movies in the cinema this year. Most of them were entertaining without being particularly memorable. At the end of the year I find myself unable to pick one out as a favourite.

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