Favorite Books Of 2010

I read a fair number of books this year, here are the ones I most enjoyed (in no particular order).

Brave New World - An engaging story set in a possible future. Well written, engaging and thoughtful.

A Confederacy of Dunces - A most odd protagonist bumbles along causing chaos in his wake, yet somehow it makes sense.

Ghostopolis - Written for pre-teens but the story is so imaginative it's appealing to all. A few plot problems, but forgivable. The illustrations of this graphic novel are excellent - dramatic, expressive, art.

More Information Than You Require - Hodgman's humor doesn't work for everyone, but if it does this book is a treat. The audiobook is read by Hodgman and includes many guests, which elevates the material and makes it a fantastic performance piece.

Snowcrash - A full story with action, intrigue, inventive technology and strong characters. My first cyberpunk book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Neuromancer - The grand daddy of cyberpunk and rightfully so. Fast-moving story, sparce and precise writing, intriguing characters, novel concepts and depth. Not a breezy read, Gibson expects you to pay attention and rewards you for doing so.

Peace Like a River - Take the expressiveness of poetry and tell a big story. Just delicious to read.

Straight Man - If I told you the plot it would sound dull. Kind of like if I summarized the movie "As Good As It Gets". Russo takes a mundane story and makes it fun and funny; I laughed a lot.

The Corrections - I almost aborted this book. Franzen aptly and deeply paints his characters, with all their destructive quirks. Enid's relentless, guilt-inducing nagging repulsed me. Yet the writing is brilliant and reveals real humanity, even if it's often ugly. There is a lot of truth in this book, about how we live in this age and what we care about.

Heart of Darkness - Not the most accessible story, but it serves as a canvas to explore what drives people and where it takes them. It's hard for me to stay tuned into these older styles of writing, yet Conrad several times nails an expression so perfectly that I was in awe.

Les Miserables - I listened to the abridged version and was enthralled. Stripped down to the main story it's amazing how strong and exciting it is. This is a classic that anyone can, and everyone should, read. You'll be entertained and it will stick with you a long time.

A Briefer History of Time - An excellent introduction to modern physics. The explanations are clear, and many are the best I've read. "A Brief History of Time" was good, this update is better. The concepts are often strange, counter-intuitive and difficult to grasp. But even if you understand only a little you'll have new wonder for the tiny subatomic world and the enormous sprawl of the universe. And it's only 176 pages.

A Walk in the Woods - Bryson tells his tale of hiking the Appalachian trail so well, you'll feel like you were there. And plenty of humor, thanks to his buddy Katz.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Another Bryson. This time it's his childhood recollections of growing up in 1950s. Magical and entertaining.

I enjoyed putting this list together and being reminded of how much I enjoyed reading these books. I've got a pretty long list of books I want to read but feel free to make suggestions or comment on the books above.


dug said...

you read three of my favoritest books ever this year.

we're like, twins.

KanyonKris said...

More like genetically engineered twins. I've been drawing from your book list.