Monday, November 29, 2010

The end-of-year booklists

Every year I am somewhat surprised and dismayed to find that I have read barely any books on the "best of the year" booklists. One reason is that I don't restrict my reading at all to the current year's releases. I also may have different standards than the book reviewers.

Check out some of the lists for 2010:
Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Fiction
Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Nonfiction
Library Journal Top Ten
The New York Times Ten Best Books
The New York Times 100 Notable Books
Publishers Weekly Best Books

What do you think of the selections? Have you read any? I haven't--except for Let's Take the Long Way Home, by Gail Caldwell (a PW pick for best nonfiction).

Notable novels that I want to get around to reading:
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

Notable works of nonfiction that I'm interested in reading:
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, by Mark Twain
Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory, by Peter Hessler
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent

Graphic by Sarah Illenberger for The New York Times

1 comment:

  1. I have been reading a lot more this year, but I wholeheartedly agree with your statement about not restricting my reading to the current year's releases. I read books that are of interest to me, which is not necessarily what everyone else is reading. I finished reading Dracula a couple of weeks ago, for example, and right now I'm reading Disruptive Divas: Feminism, Identity & Popular Music, which features a chapter on the problems of agency and resistance in Tori Amos's "Crucify" -- very interesting.

    The only book that I have been considering reading from those lists (that I recognize) is Room because I like Emma Donoghue's writing. There seem to be mixed feelings about it, though, especially regarding the annoying narrator (apparently this gets better once you make it to chapter three... if you make it). I see that Hornet's Nest book everywhere, but I am not really sure I'd be interested in it.

    There are a couple of Canadian books that won prizes this year that I am interested in reading. They are Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall and The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud.