Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 Books of 2010

My complete list of favorites actually comes out to twelve. Note that seven of them are literature in translation and all except one are international. There's a whole world of great books out there and I am so happy to have the opportunity to read and write about them!

12. Véronique Olmi, Beside the Sea (trans. Adriana Hunter - French)

The most depressing topic imaginable and all too vivid yet so horribly compelling.

11. Roberto Bolaño, Nazi Literature in the Americas (trans. Chris Andrews - Spanish)


10. Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo, Petals of Blood

A Marxist epic and howl of protest against the corruption of post-colonial Kenya. Heavy-handed but gripping.

9. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Like Bolaño above, this one's pretty self-explanatory. I really need to get this reviewed.

8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

The books and the movies are equally awesome.

7. Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North (trans. Denys Johnson-Davies - Arabic)

A reverse Heart of Darkness about an African going to England and inspiring some dark worship of his own. Gives the original Kurtz a run for his money.

6. Ingrid Winterbach, To Hell with Cronjé (trans. Elsa Silke - Afrikaans)

A sparse but heartbreaking story of two friends in the Second Boer War. In the face of nature's eternal immensity, their struggle is ultimately insignificant.

5. Monika Fagerholm, The American Girl (trans. Katarina E. Tucker - Swedish)

Takes place in Finland, despite the title. Postmodern Scandinavian Gothic about growing up in the seventies and the mystery of the lost American Girl.

4. Mathias Énard, Zone (trans. Charlotte Mandell - French)

Ties with Beside the Sea as the year's saddest book. Genocide, war, greed, corruption, rape, torture, etc.

3. Karen Tei Yamashita - I Hotel

Students, professors, artists, filmmakers, poets, musicians, laborers, community organizers. Lists, comics, plays, free verse, interviews, photos, audiovisual transcripts, flights of magic realism, mythology, and real history. Welcome to San Francisco in the sixties!

2. Michal Ajvaz, The Other City (trans. Gerald Turner - Czech)

Hands-down one of the most imaginative works I have ever had the pleasure to read. A stunning achievement.

1. Philippe Soupault, Last Nights of Paris (trans. William Carlos Williams - French)

Paris! Modernism! The Roaring Twenties! French Surrealism! THERE IS NO WAY I COULD NOT HAVE ENJOYED THIS.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers' answers. Everyone is welcome to join. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time . . . just post what you can!


Joy Tamsin David said...

That's pretty awesome that you're an international reader. I think it's overwhelming to think about all the great books in the world I may never get to...

Emily said...

Oh cool, Last Nights of Paris made the list! My folks got me a copy for Christmas, and my mom was like "I was looking at reviews of it and recognized EL Fay! She was the only one who understood what she had read." So consider yourself recognized. :-)

readerbuzz said...

Wow! Aren't you the amazing reader? I'm adding lots of new titles from your list to my wishlist.

Here is my Top 10 list: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/12/top-ten-books-ive-read-in-2010.html

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wow, this looks just like my list! Oh wait, my list was mostly young adult. But I DID have a few Middle Grade books in there too! And hmmm, maybe one or two adult books... I hope you and the rest of The Wolves appreciate the lengths I go to in order to ensure that you all look more erudite than we who read about unicorns and such!

Phantom Paragrapher said...

Some good books here , . Check out my list www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I must read more Bolano! :)

Very fun list - it's been amazing to venture into the world of international literature, and you've definitely been a guiding light for me. Happy reading in 2011!

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