Looking for Some Great Reads from 2010?

Earlier this month, Shelf Awareness published a list of ten of my favorite books from 2010, including some novels by authors I’d had a chance to tell you about on Beatrice before, like Lauren Grodstein and Paul Murray. (And I’m seeing now, as I look those links up, that Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family was actually released in late 2009, but luckily Shelf Awareness was flexible on the whole publication date thing anyway. So it’s all good!) There were also some titles I hadn’t said much about here, like Cory Doctorow’s For the Win or Victoria Dahl’s A Little Bit Wild. But there was also a whole other category of books I left off that list, so I wouldn’t have to keep writing variants of “Full disclosure: So-and-so is a friend of mine” over and over. (It’s sort of a gray area, because some of the authors who did make the list I know well enough to say hi to in a friendly manner, but I did my best to approach the task fairly.)

Here, though, I can just tell you: My friends wrote some fabulous books in 2010, and I’m going to tell you about some of them, but I’m writing this on the fly the night before New Year’s Even, so I’m probably going to miss a bunch, so if you thought for sure you were going to see your book mentioned in this post and it winds up not being here, it’s not intended to be a knock, I promise!

First, it was a productive year for my co-hosts at Lady Jane’s Salon, the monthly romance reading series we run at Madame X in Manhattan: Hope Tarr published The Tutor, Maya Rodale came out with A Groom of One’s Own, and Leanna Renee Hieber released The Darkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker. We had some fantastic readers at the Salon, too, like Sarah MacLean, who released both Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord this year; Lauren Willig also had two novels out in 2010, The Betrayal of the Bloody Lily and The Mischief of the Mistletoe.

Two of my college classmates had new novels this year: Tasha Alexander’s “Lady Emily” series continued with Dangerous to Know, and Kevin Guilfoile had The Thousand, which is basically a Dan Brown novel that’s as smart as a William Gibson novel (which is a thing that was needed!). Danielle Trussoni’s Angelology is another smart thriller with strong fantasy elements, and Helen Ellis had a great YA twist on paranormal suspense with The Turning: What Curiosity Kills. And Laura Anne Gilman followed up her Nebula-nominated epic fantasy Flesh and Fire with Weight of Stone, and also launched a whole new urban fantasy series with Hard Magic.

(Also worth nothing on the YA front: A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz and Jackie Morse Kessler’s Hunger.)

We had some fantastic readings at Greenlight Bookstore this year, too: I absolutely loved Marcy Dermansky’s Bad Marie and Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s Picking Bone from Ash, and then there was the night that Emily Gould and Rachel Shukert came in to talk about And the Heart Says Whatever and Everything Is Going to Be Great. And I wouldn’t even have met Rachel if it hadn’t been for Julie Klausner, whose I Don’t Care About Your Band was one for the first really fun books of 2010.

Oh! I can’t forget two amazingly beautiful novels which, if you read nothing else I’ve mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, I hope you’ll pick up: Jeanine Cummins’ The Outside Boy, about a young boy from a Traveller clan in 1950s Ireland, and Scarlett Thomas’s Our Tragic Universe, a seemingly plotless story about a writer who decides one day to turn her life around.—a marvelous story about creating stories for ourselves. (That last one’s an anomaly on this list, in that my connection to the novel stems not from personal acquaintance but my brief association with its publisher.)

And, as it happens, I’ve got a book by a friend cued up to read next: I was a huge fan of Jon Armstrong’s Grey when it came out a few years ago, and then in 2009 I moderated an event at Borders that he recorded for his podcast show, and we stayed in touch. I recently got hold of the sequel to Grey, Yarn, and as soon as I finish prepping for next Tuesday’s Rick Moody & Gary Shteyngart reading, I’m breaking it open. And then I can’t wait to see what else my friends have in store for 2011…

31 December 2010 | uncategorized |