Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Most memorable books I read in 2010

It's that time of the year again, when we look back on the year and take stock, noting the highlights and milestones, and of course, my year-end contemplation is incomplete without remembering the books I've read. Here are some that have touched me in some way:

Loveliest book to read aloud with children:
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Authors new to me whose work I must check out:
Nick Hornby
Aimee Bender

A book in which plot, character, language share equal weight, marrying genre and literary seamlessly:

In The Woods by Tana French

A middle grade series featuring two young adventurers, a boy and a girl, a trait that characterizes several other series, but manages to feel fresh and captivating:
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

A book that rewarded careful, slowed-down reading
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: The Pox Party by M. T. Anderson

A book that is much less gimmicky and much more pleasurable to read than at first glance:
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

An irreverent book that made me think about important stuff:
Lamb by Christopher Moore

Two favorite books that captured me, stayed with me, and completely baffled me as to how the authors managed to come up with what they did:
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Tales From Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan

Let me know which of these book you've read and share some of your favs this year.


Domey Malasarn said...

Thanks for doing this, Yat-Yee! That's a great list for me to work on--I've only read one of those books.

This year I read and loved:

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (an old one, I know)

storyqueen said...

I am in the middle of Octavian Nothing right now, and am very excited for the Magician's Elephant and Leviathan.

Great list!


Yat-Yee said...

Domey: I love Alice Munro, but I tend to get depressed. I've been eyeing Too Much Happiness, waiting for a day when I feel robust enough. And actually I read an Ishiguro this year as well (wonder why I didn't put it on my list.) It was Never Let Me Go.

Shelley: Hope you're enjoying Octavian. (BTW, I typed Shelley Queen...)

Domey Malasarn said...

Yat-Yee, what did you think of Never Let Me Go? I really loved that book. When I mentioned in today's blog post that my new book was called Let Me Go, Dalai Lama, that is in direct reference to Never Let Me Go!

Yat-Yee said...

The guy is a musician with words. The thing I love the most about Never Let Me Go is the tone, the mood of the piece. Right from the beginning, there is a sense of doom and sadness. He maintains that as the premise of their lives become clear. That's a tough thing to do, to give off the scent of sadness without manipulating emotions.

I can't wait to read Let Me Go, Dalai Lama.


I'm with you on AIMEE BENDER. I read THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE and was floored. Read it in one setting. The perfect combination of artistry, emotion, and insight into the human condition.

I must check out the Tana French, as I've heard great thing about her over the year, as well.

Thanks for sharing your list--looks like a terrific group of authors.

Anna Staniszewski said...

So many of these are on my reading list! Thanks for reminding me about them. :-)

Yat-Yee said...

Samuel: The one I read was An Invisible Sign of Myself and just found it utterly captivating. I hope you like Tana French.

Anna: Let me know what you think after you read them.

Tim Riley said...

Hi Yat-Yee, love the blog!

I saw your comment over at The Literary Lab. I love Tropper (noticed I spelled his name wrong)-I read all his books this year.

I had the same reaction to Let The Great World Spin-awed by the writing.

Yat-Yee said...

Hi Tim, welcome to my blog!

It's interesting to me that you read all of Tropper's books when you found that you love his work. Did you try not to compare the books? Was the last one as good as the first? Were you able to pinpoint just what it is that makes you like his writing so much?

See, when I find a book I love, I almost can't read another one by the same author because it means I'll run out of his/her work sooner rather than later!

Tim Riley said...

I do that sometimes, fall in love with an author and go on a run of their books.

It's funny, I meant to read This Is Where I Leave You first, but I came across his first book at a used bookstore, so I started there. I loved it and decided to read them all chronologically. It was interesting to see his evolution as a writer. You're right though, I was kind of bummed out when I finished TIWILY.

What do I like about his writing? Hmmmm, great question. Well, he cracks me up quite a bit. I like that his male characters aren't afraid to show emotion-you don't see that level of honesty from male authors. I also love how his stories are structured: an event that brings people together, lessons learned at the event, return to regular life with new perspective. It's a structure I'm using in the book I'm writing, and one I see myself using often.

Wow, this was fun to think about.

Yat-Yee said...

I laughed quite a bit reading This is Where I Leave You, and not always at appropriate places either. I think that's one reason I liked it, he made me laugh at serious things.

Very cool that you found a writer you like, and whose work seems to follow the same general direction as yours!

aquafortis said...

Octavian Nothing was a great book! Sequel was good, too.

I just bought The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - I love Aimee Bender's short fiction, so I'm looking forward to reading a novel by her.