More Updates to the List, Plus Lizards, 12.18.10
Cybils Finalists!

Norman's Best Books of 2010

This morning I'm happy to call on my husband, Norman, an avid reader, for his recommendations. —ST

As 2010 comes to an end, I am once again happy to share some favorite books that I’ve read over the past year with Chicken Spaghetti readers. Most but not all of the books came out in 2010, and most but not all of the books are not books for children or young adult books. In other words, there is no true justification for this list being published on Chicken Spaghetti except that I like to talk books…and Susan likes lists.

The best books I read this past year were, in no particular order:

Someone Knows My Name, by Lawrence Hill

To The End of the Land, by David Grossman

How to Read the Air, by Dinaw Mengestu

American Subversive, by David Goodwillie

The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

What is Left the Daughter, by Howard Norman

Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon

The Hole We’re In, by Gabrielle Zevin

Mathilda Savitch, by Victor Lodato

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

The Death of the Adversary and Comedy in a Minor Key, both by Hans Keilson

The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman

Nemesis, by Philip Roth

In terms of the above books, I’ll add a few comments. To me, the sign of a good book is one that you want to give to everyone you like! That is the case with Someone Knows My Name and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, both of which I did give as gifts in 2010. I became hooked on Dinaw Mengestu’s writing when I read The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and Mengestu’s second novel did not disappoint. The same can be said for Freedom, which I considered to be even better than The Corrections. Two of the most intense books I read this past year were The Death of the Adversary and Lost City Radio, and two fine debut novels were Mathilda Savitch and American Subversive. 

Other books I enjoyed this past year include A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan; Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff; The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa; Atlas of Unknowns, by Tania James; Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson; Happy Now?, by Katherine Shonk; The Irrestible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald; Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett; The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee; and The One Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard Morais.

Happy reading to all in 2011!



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I still want to read Freedom, and I need a really good read, so maybe I should go for that.

Was Zevin's title a YA one?

Jules, she's written YA, but The Hole We're In was published for the adult market. I need to pick one from this list, too; my current read is too deep right now!

Aaargh! Now I feel like I'm so behind on everything.
Dratted adult books I've not had time to read... too many books, too little time.

You and me both, TadMack. I was reading so many books for the Cybils that I am waaaay behind--though I have a nice store house of cocktail-party conversation after reading so much nonfiction!

I was hoping that Norman would do another list. Thanks!

I found Super Sad True Love Story riveting, funny, horrifying and amazing. Great recommendation!

Michelle, I'm glad he did, too. Now I have a list for the library.

Hey, Steve, I have to check that one out. I hear so many good things about Shteyngart's writing.

I want to be as well read as Norman when I grow up.

Me, too, Ms. Franklin.

So glad to see someone mention The Imperfectionists! I read mostly children's and YA books, but happened to pick it up from the library, and I loved it.

Katie, I want to read that one--and Room, too.

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