Friday, October 29, 2010

Top Ten 2010

Top Ten Reads of 2010

My list of favorite books read in 2010 (to be updated in January 2011) includes more than three dozen books (and not everything I read made that list). But I thought I would try to whittle the list down to the top ten that I read last year. So here it is in no particular order:

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The best dystopian novel I have read in a long time and a reminder of the power of this author to impress this reader.
2. Summer in Baden-Baden by Leonard Tsypkin. 
Tsypkin's novel mesmerizes with two stories that enthrall with emotion and truth. A taut gem of historical fiction and a doppelganger of style.
3. The Knife Man by Wendy Moore.
Wendy Moore's biography of Dr. John Hunter, The Knife Man, captures one man's contribution to the Enlightenment and modern surgical medicine.
4. The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller.
I reread this book in which Miller loves Greece and this is brought home by his incomparable prose in this book which I was encouraged to read by a friend at a local used bookstore: thanks to Peter.
5. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk.
Capturing a sense of the Istanbul of memory and tradition, Pamuk  juxtaposes it with the Istanbul as seen by outsiders, especially the literary lights that visited Istanbul over the years, Pamuk creates a rich texture for his story of the memories and city. This is a unique look at one of the great centers of civilization. 
6. Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.
Aurelius presents the tenets that underlie the stoic philosophy he learned from his teachers including a discussion of the importance of your duty both to your own nature and that of the whole universe..
7. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. 
While all fiction emanates from the imagination and this novel is rare that a work successfully mimics the language of dreams..
8. Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. 
The story of a man of more than fifty years old who caps his career with a world-spanning sailing trip that still has power to grip the reader's imagination today. .
9. Call Me by Your name by Andre Aciman. 
With emphasis on the erotic, he has created an almost Proustian meditation on time and desire, a love letter, an invocation in words that one must call simply "beautiful". 
10. Ubik by Philip K. Dick.
For the second year in a row Philip K. Dick makes my top ten list.  This novel is dazzling and complex as Philip K. Dick takes you on a journey through levels of both time and consciousness. .

I reluctantly stopped at ten best even though I enjoyed many other great books during the year (including rereading some classics by Homer, Dostoevsky and Proust that I purposely left off this list), but this is enough of a retrospective for one cold October day. I'll review the list in January when the cold may lead me to revise or add to the list!

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