It’s that time of year again. This year I’m changing the Top Ten list to only include books that were first published since the year 2000. I just don’t think these newly hatched chicks should have to compete against the big old roosters and hens of past centuries. I wouldn’t want to have to compete against ‘War and Peace’, ‘Middlemarch’, ‘Don Quixote’, and Jane Austen. After my Top Ten list, I will list a few of the fiction works from previous centuries that I enjoyed the most and that affected me most deeply this year.
The year 2010 was a year of the short story for me. Not only two short story collections but also four novels which are made up of interrelated short stories made my Top Ten list this year. One of the biggest trends of 2010 was in fact these novels consisting of linked short stories. Only four ‘novel’ novels made the Top Ten list this year.
Here is the list.
1. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010) A novel of linked stories about people working for an English-speaking newspaper in Italy.
2. Ether by Evgenia Citkowitz – (2010) From Hollywood and New York, a collection of stories with a sharp edge.
3. Trespass by Rose Tremain – (2010) A wicked novel about buying a house in southern France.
4. Summertime by J. M. Coetzee (2009) a novel of stories about a writer named John Coetzee
5. Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr (2010) – A story collection so original and moving it was unlike anything else I read this year.
6. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010) a novel of connected stories about the rock-and-roll life.
7. Fame by Daniel Kehlmann (2009) A playful novel in 9 episodes (stories) about fame.
8. Carry Me Down by M. J. Hyland (2006) A moving novel about an eleven year old boy and his family in Ireland.
9. Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds (2007) A graphic novel about a writers’ retreat in rural England.
10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (2010) a novel of a modern hapless United States family from Minnesota to Virginia
. . . . .
As I promised before, here are some excellent fiction works that I read this year that were first published before 2000.
- When Things of the Spirit Come First by Simone de Beauvoir (1928) A group of five interrelated stories about a group of young women in France.
- The Fall by Albert Camus (1956) The most philosophical novel I’ve read, many lines worth quoting,
- Harp in the South by Ruth Park (1948) – Dramatic and warm life in the slums of Sydney, Australia.
- The Midnight Bell by Patrick Hamilton (1929) –A novel wherein a bartender falls in love with a prostitute.
- Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson – A brave young Dutch couple hide a Jewish man in their house during World War II.
- Herself Surprised by Joyce Cary (1941) The life of Sara Monday told in her own voice.