Notable Books 2010

I love this list!  Each year the Notable Books Council selects 25 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry books.  According to the Notable Books Council, “…books may be selected because they possess exceptional literary merit; expand the horizons of human knowledge; make a specialized body of knowledge accessible to the non-specialist; have the potential to contribute significantly to the solution of a contemporary problem; and/or present a unique concept.”  FYI — every book that I have read on this list, I greatly enjoyed.  I have linked to my review, if available.

Fiction

Jessica Anthony. The Convalescent Notable Books 2010
Rovar Pfiegman, bus-dwelling meat salesman, fulfills his destiny as the last of his clan in this oddly imaginative tale.

Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood Notable Books 2010
In the near future, two women survive an apocalyptic event in a queasily enthralling work.51YxifQ6LhL. SL160  Notable Books 2010

Nicholson Baker. The Anthologist Notable Books 2010
Poet Paul Chowder, a charming failure, struggles to regain his muse and his girlfriend while watching deadlines slip by.

Dan Chaon. Await Your Reply Notable Books 2010  My review for Await Your Reply
This chilling exploration of the modern meaning of identity follows three people on the fringes of society.

Chris Cleave. Little Bee Notable Books 2010   My review for Little Bee
The compelling voice of a refugee illuminates the life-changing friendship between two women that began with a horrifying encounter on a secluded Nigerian beach.

Pete Dexter. Spooner Notable Books 2010
A boy struggles to navigate the vagaries of the world with the lifelong guidance of his stepfather in this funny and heartbreaking tale.

Paul Harding. Tinkers Notable Books 2010   My review for Tinkers
In this lyrical novel, the life of a dying man is examined through the smallest moments of time and memory.

Yiyun Li. The Vagrants Notable Books 2010
The execution of a dissident woman reverberates through her small town in the aftermath of China’s Cultural Revolution.514Kl2sdn6L. SL160  Notable Books 2010

Colum McCann. Let the Great World Spin Notable Books 2010  My review for Let the Great World Spin
Phillipe Petit’s highwire walk between the Twin Towers provides the backdrop for this rich portrait of the unlikely connections between a group of New Yorkers in the 1970s.

Toni Morrison. A Mercy  Notable Books 2010
Four women—white, mixed race, black, and Native American—become a makeshift family under the care of a “good” man in colonial America.

Richard Powers. Generosity: An Enhancement Notable Books 2010
In this postmodern indictment of the biotech industry, a student’s unnerving happiness seems to hold the key to banishing despair from the human genetic code.

Colm Tóibín. Brooklyn Notable Books 2010
A young Irish woman faces heart-wrenching decisions in this unabashedly romantic and deceptively simple story of immigration and belonging.

Nonfiction

Dave Cullen. Columbine Notable Books 2010
This fine work of investigative journalism challenges the myths and misconceptions of the Columbine tragedy.51INaT74NyL. SL160  Notable Books 2010

Dave Eggers. Zeitoun  Notable Books 2010  My review for Zeitoun
This powerful account explores the devastation of post–Katrina New Orleans through the eyes of a Syrian American who remained during the storm and endured the resulting chaos and confusion.

David Finkel. The Good Soldiers Notable Books 2010
An embedded reporter describes the human cost paid by a U.S. Army battalion on the streets of Iraq in language that is searing, visceral, and immediate.

David Grann. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon  Notable Books 2010
An intrepid reporter sets out to uncover the mysterious fate the last of the great Victorian explorers in this thrilling adventure.

Emmanuel Guibert. The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders Notable Books 2010
Using mixed visual media, this stunning memoir vividly depicts the struggles and accomplishments of a humanitarian mission in an unforgiving terrain.

Richard Holmes. The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science  Notable Books 2010
This lively, stellar group biography animates the engrossing accounts of the research that inspired a sense of awe in poets and scientists alike.

Patrick Radden Keefe. The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream Notable Books 2010
Human trafficking and its subsequent effects on the American economy and social structures are documented in this fast-paced panoramic expose.

Christopher McDougall. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Notable Books 201041fpSM7oO2L. SL160  Notable Books 2010
One journalist’s quest to discover the secrets of the reclusive Tarahumara Indians leads to an exciting and dangerous endurance race.

Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman. Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath Notable Books 2010
In-depth, brutal, and moving, this narrative provides multiple perspectives into a tragic World War II episode in the Philippines.

Lainey Salisbury and Aly Sujo. Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art Notable Books 2010
This enthralling page-turner describes how archivists uncovered one of the most extensive frauds in recent art history.

David Small. Stitches: A Memoir Notable Books 2010
Stark drawings give voice to the horrors of a child who finds redemption in art while growing up in a repressed and disturbed family.

Nicholas Thompson. The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War Notable Books 2010
The remarkable half-century friendship and rivalry between two influential strategists who helped shape American policy is brought to life in this insightful dual biography.

Poetry

Sherman Alexie. Face Notable Books 2010
Hanging Loose. Autobiographical poems experimenting with various styles and forms explore childhood, fatherhood, and the trials, perks, and humor of minor celebrity.

Stephen Dunn. What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009 Notable Books 2010
Completely accessible poems written in ordinary language deal with cats, love, barfights, desire, melancholia, and relationships.

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One Response to Notable Books 2010

  1. gmdavis says:

    Cullen , who first reported on the story for the online magazine Salon, acknowledges in the book’s source notes that thoughts he attributes to Klebold and Harris are conjecture gleaned from the record the pair left behind.

    Jeff Kass takes a more straightforward approach in “Columbine: A True Crime Story,” working backward from the events of the fateful day.
    The Denver Post

    Mr. Cullen insists that the killers enjoyed “far more friends than the average adolescent,” with Harris in particular being a regular Casanova who “on the ultimate high school scorecard . . . outscored much of the football team.” The author’s footnotes do not reveal how he knows this; when I asked him about it while preparing this review, Mr. Cullen said he did not necessarily mean to imply that Harris was sexually active. But what else would such words mean?

    “Eric and Dylan never had any girlfriends,” the more sober Mr. Kass writes, and were “probably virgins upon death.”
    Wall Street Journal

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