Best Fiction of 2010

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year (except for the cold) and yesterday was a particularly nice day – I got to stay close to home, had dinner with my dad, talked to most of my family and my husband’s family, relaxed and watched some football, and I didn’t even have to cook or clean.

But even better than Thanksgiving, the end of the year is Top Book Lists time!  And as I’m working on my wish list, I’m thankful for the New York Times Notable 100 books of 2010.

Over the years I’ve found a lot of great books off the Top 100 list — and often I’ve disagreed vehemently with their picks – a “Notable” example was the year they picked Prep as one of their Top Ten books of the year.  This year, the controversial pick I’m sure will be Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.

On this year’s Notable 100, under fiction, the only book I’ve read completely was A Visit From the Goon Squad, which I loved.  I’m currently reading The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, which I’m enjoying very much.  I started Something Red, by Jennifer Gilmore, but put it down.  It just didn’t grab me.

This year’s list gives me plenty to add to the TBR pile:

  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • To the End of the Land by David Grossman
  • Wild Child by TC Boyle (one of my favorite authors)
  • Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Sheynart
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss
  • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann
  • The Long Song by Andrea Levy
  • Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
  • Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

David Nicholl’s One Day also made the list.  I keep hearing good things about this book, but to be honest I read Starter for Ten and didn’t like it.  So I’ll probably pass on this one unless you tell me it’s wonderful.   Another one I’ll pass on is The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.  You all know how I felt about Dragon Tattoo.

How does this list compare with Amazon’s Top Books list?  Of their list of the year’s Top Ten fiction and literature, about half can be found on the NYT Notables list:

  • Matterhorn
  • Freedom
  • To the End of the Land
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
  • The Imperfectionists
  • The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
  • Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
  • One Day
  • Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

On the Man Booker Prize “Short list” for 2010 are:

  • Room
  • Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
  • The Long Song
  • C by Tom McCarthy
  • In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut

Now, for my own “Top Books of the Year” list. These are books published in 2010, not the best books I’ve read in 2010.  Since most of the books I read this year were NOT published in 2010, I only came up with eight.  I don’t claim these are all literary, just that they were the books I enjoyed most.  In no particular order:

  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  • The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
  • Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
  • Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
  • Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

So much to read!  I would love to hear from you:   What were your top books of the year?  Do you agree or disagree with Amazon or the NY Times?  And which book lists or awards do you find most helpful for finding great new books?

  5 comments for “Best Fiction of 2010

  1. November 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    In a few weeks, The Broke and the Bookish blog will be hosting this Top Ten list. I hope you will add your list to the links then.

    I’ve not yet made mine….

  2. November 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Regarding your list, I wasn’t too fond of “Juliet, Naked”. It was cute but I wouldn’t put it at the top of any list of mine. Granted, I barely read any books published in 2010 so perhaps my take on things is a little skewed, but… hmm…

    As for the Amazon and NYT lists: I tend not to trust these lists too much because they’re heavily based on what books the reviewers have access to (typically the most hyped books of the year, not necessarily the best… “Super Sad True Love Story”, for example, was okay but not amazing). And yet: I’m delighted to see “To the End of the Land” on these lists. A really good (difficult!) book. I quite recommend it.

  3. November 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Because you asked…I loved One Day (if you’re wavering, you’re welcome to read my review, for what it’s worth).

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