Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books of the Year 2010

Carl nicked this off Paul who nicked it off Norm, and he tagged me along with about a hundred others, and as he obliged me I'll oblige him. I haven't read 10 in any category, at least not that I'd recommend, so my lists trail off.

Top 10 non-fiction
  1. Bertrand M Patenaude Stalin's Nemesis 
  2. James Horrox A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement [which I will review at Contested Terrain in the new year]
  3. Roger Hewitt White Backlash and the Politics of Multiculturalism [not finished it yet, but strongly recommend it]
  4. Benny Morris Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict
  5. Gillian Evans Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain [a lot better than it sounds from the title!]
Top 10 Fiction
  1. Javier Cercas Soldiers of Salamis [thanks Richard]
  2. Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna [thanks Ruth]
  3. Jose Saramago Baltasar and Blimunda [thanks Francisco]
  4. Sebastian Barry A Long, Long Way
  5. Jonathan Wilson The Hiding Room
  6. George Pelecanos Drama City
Give it a miss
  1. Milan Kundera Immortality
  2. JG Ballard Millenium People
  3. Daniel Pennac The Scapegoat
There is no established rule about who to tag, and the year is fast drawing to a close, and Carl tagged millions of us, so I'll tag a whole lot of you and see what happens: Martin, Noga, Darren, Flesh, Kellie, Matt, Peter, George.  

Update: Noga's list (and other discussion points!) here.

16 comments:

raincoatoptimism said...

I'll definitely have to read that Horrox book, can't wait for your review. Shame about the Ballard. If there's anything you fancy on my booklist we ought to do some sort of bookswap some time - like a library without the cuts and closures :)

bob said...

Good idea! I certainly want some of the things on your list (Malik, Rosenberg, Cesarani) but I'm not sure what I'm willing to part from on my list.

Graeme said...

You didn't like Immortality? Granted, I probably read it about ten years ago and don't really remember any details about it, but I thought it was one of Kundera's better books.

bob said...

I read a few Kundera books in my mid/late teens and loved them, especially The Unbeareable Lightness of Being. It was therefore a terrible dissapointment to find his Immortality pretentious, silly and pointless, althou it had a few moments of sheer brilliance.,

James Bloodworth said...

Hitch 22 was bloody good!

bob said...

Hitch 22 is on my to read list, which reminds me that I read a large chunk of For the Sake of Argument in 2010, and it is absolutely fantastic.

James Bloodworth said...

I think I'll do one of these lists myself. Read some great books this year. Another Hitchens was Love, Poverty and War that I read while in Cuba. Some brilliant essays in that.

raincoatoptimism said...

James/Bob:

I read Martin Amis' autobiographical book 'Experience' not so long ago (I forgot to add it to my list) and it has a great few pages on Christopher and him, references to drinking games and their time together at the New Statesman. If you haven't already you should check that out.

Bob;

The Malik book is fantastic, you'll like it a lot, it might not all be new information for you, but it's very well written and recollected.

Will said...

fat stalinist (turned fashist) pig cunT

if still politically active the piggy eyed cunT wood be in the EDL (if he isn't already) nowadays of course.

disgusting fuckking scum.

Darren said...

Will,

as you're around - happy New Year, btw - do you know if any of Reijo Mäki novels have been published in English?

You're my go-to-guy when it's matters relating to Finland.

Sarah AB said...

I also thought Millennium People wasn't all that great. Bret Easton Ellis' Imperial Bedrooms was another disappointing one for me this year.

I haven't read From Fatwa to Jihad but I did enjoy Strange Fruit.

I'm not sure if it's THE best, but the book which immediately sprang to mind as one I particularly enjoyed this year was Theodore Dreiser's American Tragedy.

George S said...

Bob, When you say George, did you mean me? Just that when I click on it it takes me to Peter, over at Fat Man On a Keyboard...

Happy New Year by the way,

bob said...

George, I did indeed mean you! I'll change the link - and happy new year to you.

James/Carl, Love, Poverty and War is a superb Hitchens collection - some really great pieces. Cuba seems a good place to read it too.

Sarah, I started off thinking I was going to love Millenium People, but then got incredibly bored. I have never read any other Ballard, and know I should, but am slightly put off now.

Noga, thanks for your great list. Will reply to that and one state stuff in next couple of days

kellie said...

Thanks for the invite Bob, and I will do that thing, just as soon as I can peel myself off the floor...

Michael Ezra said...

In my opinion, the best book of 2010 (non fiction), one that should be read by everyone, is the following:

Frank Dikotter, Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 (Bloombsbury, 2010).

kellie said...

A very late response here.