Rather than round up a few of the more traditional lists of the year’s best and worst, I thought I would point you to some bloggers who wrote more broadly about their year in reading. Below are some links. Two books that I’ve seen appearing again and again on lists are The Canal by Lee Rourke, a debut novel about a London man who embraces boredom, and Stoner, the 1965 novel by John Williams (what are the odds??) that seems to develop a stronger and stronger cult every year. I need to finally read it. OK, on to the links:
John Self offers a “blogger’s dozen,” 13 of his favorite reads from 2010, only a few of them published this year. One of them is a book he previously got me interested in, which includes the line: “A man who wishes to transfer his experience to the page might as well try to throw a typewriter at the moon.” . . . William Rycroft’s list includes a slim debut novel published by an 84-year-old in 1980, “a perfectly distilled portrait of marriage that had it been written by a new writer today would surely be being hailed as a masterpiece and nominated for awards all over the place.” It also includes a novel about which he says, “I’ll eat my hat if you can find a more enjoyable novel that combines cannibalism, starvation, self-immolation and public conveniences.” . . . Dan Wagstaff at the Casual Optimist lists a wide-ranging set of fiction, comics, and nonfiction, including two books about the Internet and what it does to us, two “embedded” political books, and Patti Smith’s award-winning memoir. . . . Anthony at Time’s Flow Stemmed enjoyed his immersion in the personal writings of Virginia Woolf: “Reading (and rereading) more deeply into a writer’s output, over a few months, is proving more satisfying than my recently acquired habit of flitting from author to author.” . . . Steve Donoghue, the managing editor of Open Letters Monthly who, from what I can gather, reads literally thousands of books a year, lists his best and worst of what was published in 2010, and also expounds on them with no shortage of strong opinion: best fiction, best nonfiction, worst fiction, worst nonfiction. . . . Barnes & Noble lists some of the year’s best uncategorizable books, including novels in woodcuts, illuminated art from the 15th century, and an atlas of San Francisco.