Monday, December 6, 2010

Favourite Reads of 2010: Maylin's Picks. . .

Over the next few days we'll be posting various (and varied) lists of great reading suggestions from librarians and library wholesalers. Today we'll start with my list, which like any book rep's, will be a bit out of sync.  Some terrific books that were published in 2010 I actually read in manuscript or galley form back in 2009, just as I've been lucky enough to dip into some goodies coming our way next year.  So those won't be included in this list.  I'm also not including any books read for my NYRB Challenge as I'll post my top 10 of those when I finish (soon, soon, I hope).  One of the highlights this year was definitely discovering the work of Javier Marais - I ended up reading five of his books this year, including the fantastic Your Face Tomorrow trilogy.  Here then, in alphabetical author order are my top ten favourite reads of 2010:

 Room by Emma Donoghue.  Rosalyn gave me an early galley of this and I read it in two sittings, completely captivated by the story and the voice of young Jack.

The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm, translated by Katarina Tucker.  An endlessly fascinating mystery as two young girls try to solve a murder in a small town but get sucked into a web of adult lies and game playing.

To The End of the Land by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen.  A sweeping, romantic, lustful, tragic and unforgettable story about war and its everlasting wounds.

Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War by David Haycock.  A wonderful study of painters Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Richard Nevinson and Stanley Spencer and how the First World War impacted on their lives and work.

Fame by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Carol Janeway.  The perfect hilarious antidote if you are tired of being bombarded by narcissistic social media.

Your Face Tomorrow Trilogy by Javier Marias, translated by Margaret Jull Costa. Part spy story, part love obsession, this was a fully engrossing, all absorbing read. I loved his style and circular narratives and this is definitely a work that can be read over and over again.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.  Glorious storytelling by one of my favourite writers. Still think it should have won the Booker.

 The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O'Hagan. Dogs should narrate more novels when they are this astute, witty and clever. The Russian bedbugs also had me in stitches.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman.  A warm and very funny look at the lives of several oddball characters working on an English newspaper in Rome.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.  I don't read as much children's literature as I should, given that it's such a rich field, but I just loved the characters and inventiveness of this Newbery Award winner.

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