Saturday, January 1, 2011

Favorite Books of 2010

I'm going to take a little break from the Africa posts to list my favorite books of 2010. Not all of these were published recently, but they were all read and enjoyed by me in the last year.

  1. Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment. This old couple and their dog won my heart. Simply charming.
  2. Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo. A big, challenging thriller centered around the dark side of the aid game in Africa.
  3. For Rouenna by Sigrid Nunez. So much is said here and yet the pages are few. A Vietnam book for people who don't like Vietnam books.
  4. The Year of Living Dangerously by C.J. Koch. A really great book that has been overshadowed by the film. Deals obliquely with the germs of genocide and makes sense of acts that are impossible to justify.
  5. Lit by Mary Karr. She's largely responsible for the memoir craze, and this last addition shows why.
  6. The Hungry Tide by Amitov Ghosh. A good story set in an exotic, fascinating location, the Sunderban archipelago.
  7. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. Beautiful and haunting from start to finish.
  8. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Plays with form, but there's substance here, too.
  9. American Rust by Philipp Meyer. A good old-fashioned sort of book, in the tradition of the great American novel.
  10. Notes from No Man's Land by Eula Biss. A collection of smart essays.
Oh, and two classics that held up:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Watership Down by Richard Adams

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