Friday, December 31, 2010

The Top Ten Books Of 2010

I have tried to choose a list of books for my favourites of 2010 that were either published (in hardback or paperback) in 2010, or were fairly recent, so although I have read some other stunning books, such as If This Is A Man by Primo Levi, those are not included on the list.

1) The Terror - Dan Simmons 10* : The crew of the HMS Terror are trapped in the Arctic ice, and on the ice, something terrible and primeval stalks them and brutally kills them.  Simmons combines history, horror and mythology in a gripping and exciting tale.

2) Kraken - China Meiville 10* : The impossible theft of a giant squid specimen from a London museum triggers a bizarre magical holy war, Kraken is his best novel since Iron Council and Meiville shows yet again that he is the best sci-fi / fantasy / Kafka-esque / Orwellian writer there is.

3) Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes 10* : A brutal, no pus filled wound spared account of a series of battles fought over the same few hills deep in the Vietnam war.

4) Orbus - Neal Asher 9* : Asher at the top of his game, huge spaceships, huge laser cannon wielding crab monsters, explosions, gore, chaos and fun.

5) Zoo City - Lauren Beukes 9* : In a twisted South Africa, criminals are burdened/gifted with animal partners who pass on semi-magical powers to their owners.  Beukes warped cyber-anima-sci-fi is as good as Burning Chrome.

6) Eunoia - Christian Bok 9* : Dazzling twisted word and letter play, it's not a novel, but it is playful and quite brilliant.

7) The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larson 9* : The last part of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy presents the reader with numerous twists as the leading characters seek redemption or revenge.

8) All My Friends Are Superheroes - Andrew Kaufman 8* : How terrible to be the only normal person in a world filled with augmented humans, not that all the powers described in Kaufman's world are exactly useful, a humorous and touching love story.

9) Under The Dome - Stephen King 8* : A brick of a book, and probably the best King novel for years.  A small American town becomes trapped under a force field, and within, society rapidly crumbles.

10) Swiftly - Adam Roberts 8* : The armies of England and France fight a bitter war, each side supported by the tiny or giant creatures from Gulliver's Travels.  Roberts' genre crossing novel is ingeneous, amusing and a great tale.

Also worth a read.....Khayelitsha - Steven Otter, The Underground Man - Mick Jackson, Penguins Stopped Play - Harry Thompson, Dark Shadows Falling - Joe Simpson.

From the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list I managed 26 novels this year of which the most enjoyable were A Kestrel For A Knave, Dracula, Cannery Row, Legend, 1984, Bridge Over The Drina, The Last Of The Mohicans, If This Is A Man and The Grapes Of Wrath. I also managed to read War And Peace, that's a long book, really it is.

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