Best Reads during 2010

I have a blank book I’ve been using to record every book I’ve finished reading since 1995.   I note the date and the title and author.  I star the ones I particularly like. This week I just happened to look through the entries for this recently-passed year:  97 books–a fairly respectable number.  I thought I’d put in a list of my top 20, in no particular order.  Here’s the first installment of ten or so:

Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo:  Haunting, lyric, and unforgettable.  I’d started a couple of drafts of something that tried to play with the sense of timeframe the way this novel does.

Slowness, by Milan Kundera: I believe I may well becoming a fanatic of strange Czech fiction, as evidenced by other entries below…

Say, Poem, by Adam Robinson: the long title poem is a wonderful send-up of poetry readings, complete with between-times banter and paper shuffling.

We Take Me Apart, by Molly Gaudry: I bought her book but hadn’t read it when I met her in Baltimore for a reading tour.  Once I heard her read, it was the first thing I picked up as soon as I got home.  The suitcase wasn’t unpacked until I finished it.

Best European Fiction 2010: The first installment of an annual series published by Dalkey Archive.  There’s great stuff in here.  I’m halfway through with Best European Fiction 2011 and you can bet that it’ll be on next year’s list.

Foreskin’s Lament, by Shalom Auslander: A gift from my good friend Kristen.  I had no idea what to expect, and with a title like that…  Wonderfully witty, very funny, problematic, and a fascinating read.

The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel), by Macedonio Fernandez: Boy howdy, is this one a wild ride.  Experimental and grand in scope.  A novel, an anti-novel, an author’s haranguing of the reader, the book’s material is more than halfway taken up with a series of prologues to the the novel the author is going to write.  Here’s hoping more Fernandez gets translated soon…

The Golden Age, by Michal Ajvaz: See:  Strange Czech Fiction.  A strange sort of travel narrative that reminds one of Gulliver’s Travels and Lost.

A Philosophy of Evil, by Lars Svendsen: Wonderfully readable philosophy on why people do things that are bad.  I picked this up on impulse in a DC bookstore back in October and I found myself reading it with a couple of pencils always within reach, ready for underlining and margin notes.

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, by Luis Sepulveda: The clarity of detail in this novella is fascinating.  Sepulveda is able to evoke a sense of place and setting like few can.

The next ten in a future post!  I’d be interested in hearing of others’ top 10 (or 20) lists!

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~ by dblomenb on January 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “Best Reads during 2010”

  1. Dave — please blog more. That is all. — Jon

  2. You always make me feel so woefully under-Czeched. And also, yes, please blog more.

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