2010 Reading List

Here we go.  Again, an asterisk denotes a required text for the MA.  In 2010 I've mostly been reading:

114. Neuromancer, William Gibson. Classic sci-fi techno-thriller. Impressive, but I didn't love it.
113. Us, Martin Malone. Disturbing novel about family abuse, multiple narrators.  Good.
112. The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, ed. Anne Enright. Interesting and very large anthology.
111. The Behaviour of Moths, Poppy Adams. This really grew on me as it went along. Nice psychological drama - slightly reminiscent of The Remains Of The Day.
110. Hullabaloo In The Guava Orchard, Kiran Desai. Really entertaining but the ending let it down.
109. The Courage Consort, Michel Faber. Disappointing short novel.
108. Checkpoint, Nicholas Baker. Dialogue about George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Interesting.
107. BBC National Short Story Award 2010 Anthology. Great little collection.
106. Insignificant Gestures, Jo Cannon. Great debut story collection from a GP-turned-writer.
105. Ordinary Love, Jane Smiley. Two novellas, the second I particularly liked.
104. Generation A, Douglas Coupland. A fun read, but not hugely brilliant/memorable.
103. Regional Geometric Novel, Gert Jonke. Odd novel about bureaucracy- more interesting than enjoyable.
102. Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, BS Johnson. Bizarre and very funny short novel.
101. The Birth Machine, Elizabeth Baines. Excellent book about birth and science and fairy tales.
100. Less Than Zero, Brett Easton Ellis. Nihilistic and depressing as ever. Now to get the sequel!
99. Pereira Maintains, Antonio Tabucchi. Fantastic Italian author writing about Portugal in 1938. Excellent.
98. Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails, (ed) Philip O'Ceallaigh. Anthology from The Stinging Fly. Interesting mix.
97. The Warrior Who Carried Life, Geoff Ryman. SF thingy by my old MA tutor. Strong in places.
96. Free Love, Ali Smith. Meh. Short stories, not as good as some of her later work.
95. Crash, JG Ballard. I know people love this, but it really bored me.
94. Pan, Knut Hamsun. A strange tale of a couple of dysfunctional folk courting. Dark and funny.
93. The Method and Other Stories, Tom Vowler. Excellent new story collection.
92. Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson. Beautiful and sad.
91. No and Me, Delphine de Vigan. Excellent story about a French teenager and her homeless friend.
90. Walking To Hollywood, Will Self. Crazed psychotic memoir ramblings - not my thing.
89. Freedom, Jonathan Franzen. Solid family epic, but I didn't enjoy it as much as The Corrections.
88. Forgetting Zoe, Ray Robinson. Horrible but beautiful story about an abduction.
87. Logicomix, Apostolos Doxiadis + Christos Papadimitriou. Graphic novel on Bertrand Russell. Great!
86. Ease, Patrick Gale. Very mannered, with an incredibly annoying and unconvincing main character.
85. The City and the City, China Mieville. Brilliant science-fiction detective story.
84. The Girl In The Flammable Skirt, Aimee Bender. Wonderful, quirky short stories.
83. Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart. Excellent futuristic techno-comedy apocalyptic love story!
82. Mirrors, Eduardo Galeano. Immense, thought-provoking, beautiful history book.
81. The Elephant's Journey, José Saramago. Funny, but too gentle for me. I prefer his harder stuff.
80. The Escape, Adam Thirlwell. Excellent writing but it dragged and the plot was useless.
79. The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson. Booker longlistee 2010 - not impressed.
78. The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Excellent short stories.
77. Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 3. Starring me! Really fantastic stories, though, for real.
76. Thinner Than A Hair, Adnan Mahmutovic. A Bosnian refugee turns to prostitution.
75. These Demented Lands, Alan Warner. Sequel to Morvern Callar - pretty trippy, very strange.
74. Morvern Callar, Alan Warner. Reread. I LOVE this book.
73. Circus Bulgaria, Deyan Enev.  Flash fiction; not very varied, though, and a little too long.
72. American Genius: A Comedy, Lynne Tillman. Strange, almost stream-of consciousness novel. Interesting.
71. Home, Marilynne Robinson. Sequel to Gilead; heart-breaking.
70. Joe Speedboat, Tommy Wieringa. Coming-of-age novel that doesn't really deliver.
69. Girl With Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace. Effervescent short stories.
68. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson. Gorgeous, beautiful, peaceful, moving, wise, profound, brilliant....
67. In The Country of Last Things, Paul Auster. 1984 meets The Road. Sad.
66. Peru, Gordon Lish. Excellent - as usual with Lish, made me feel like people are all wrong inside.
65. Something Beginning With, Sarah Salway. Funny and light; enjoyable with a few really lovely bits.
64. Gone Tomorrow, P.F. Kluge. Meh. Campus novel disguised as mystery investigation thing.
63. Nourishment, Gerard Woodward. Not his best, but entertaining.
62. Plague 99, Jean Ure. This gave me nightmares as a child; still good and quite scary.
61. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery. Meh, but got better as it went along.
60. Grendel, John Gardner. Brilliant - short, fierce, poetic, sad.
59. The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, Jonathan Coe. Pretty dull but funny when read aloud. Bad ending.
58. Not So Perfect, Nik Perring. Beautiful (perfect!) flash fiction collection.
57. Deloume Road, Matthew Hooton. Poetic and tragic; very beautifully written.
56. Beautiful Blemish, Kevin Sampsell.  Short stories; a mixed bag.
55. Black Boxes, Caroline Smailes. A suicidal woman remembers an abusive relationship. Cheery!
54. Love Me Tender, Jane Feaver. Disappointing collection of interlinked stories.
53. Consider The Lobster, David Foster Wallace. Intelligent and manic and fascinating essays.
52. The Leaping, Tom Fletcher. Excellent gory old-fashioned scary horror. And I really do mean gory.
51. Solar, Ian McEwan. Dull and far too 'worthy.'
50. Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Robert Shearman. Very funny and accessible short stories.
49. The Last King of Scotland, Giles Foden. Meh. I much preferred the film.
48. *Falling Man, Don DeLillo. MA reread. Not his best, but still a good read.
47. The Housekeeper & The Professor, Yoko Ogawa. Gentle and sad, though a little too muted for me.
46. The Theory of Light and Matter, Andrew Porter. Really beautiful story collection.
45. Dear Everybody, Michael Kimball. Everyone raved about this, and it's great - sad, touching, funny.
44. The Stars In The Bright Sky, Alan Warner. Sequel to The Sopranos - also excellent.
43. The Sopranos, Alan Warner. Reread - one of my most favourite books, ever.
42. Ask Alice, DJ Taylor.  Flawed novel without much of a plot, but absorbing anyway.
41. The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman. Interesting fable.
40. Remainder, Tom McCarthy.  Reread for an essay. So soon since I read it first, feels like Groundhog Day.
39. If It Is Your Life, James Kelman. Disappointing short story collection.
38. The Road To Wanting, Wendy Law-Yone. Meh - quite interesting, nothing special.
37. How Late It Was, How Late. James Kelman. Miserable yet hopeful. Great voice.
36. *The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai. MA reread. Beautiful descriptions, if very, very light on plot.
35. John The Revelator, Peter Murphy. Atmospheric, great characters, ropey plot, but absorbing.
34. Let The Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist. Creepy bloody vampire thriller - yay!
33. The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan. Just about as icky as I expected.
32. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, David Shields. Really thought-provoking, even for this inveterate novel-lover.
31. *Diary of  Bad Year, JM Coetzee. Fiction/non-fiction mash-up. Interesting.
30. *Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell. MA reread.  More gimmicky than I remembered.  Meh.
29. Death Is Not An Option, Suzanne Rivecca.A hit and miss collection, very insightful in places.
28. The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Paolo Giordano. Gentle, touching.
27. *The Night Watch, Sarah Waters. Liked this much more than I expected. So sad!
26. Let The Great World Spin, Colum McCann. This impressed, but didn't enthral me.
25. Sucker, Lana Citron. Fast-paced multi-voiced tale of love and sex and booze. Not bad.
24. *Austerlitz, WG Sebald. MA reread. Kinda arduous; can't say I'm a fan, despite the hype.
23. The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy. Interesting, but sooo long and depressing.
22. Everything Ravaged Everything Burned, Wells Tower. Short stories. Well written, some very strong.
21. Remainder, Tom McCarthy. Charlie Kaufman meets Sartre. Strange and fascinating.
20. Glover's Mistake, Nick Laird.  Deeply disagreeable main character; horrible tale of revenge.
19. Juno & Juliet, Julian Gough. Uplifting and sad and hopeful and very, very funny.
18. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel. Vast and gorgeous and fascinating.
17. Lark & Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips.  Evocative, mesmerising. Loved it.
16. Even The Dogs, Jon McGregor. Bleak, beautiful, brilliant.
15. Orphans of Eldorado, Milton Hatoum. Anti-mythologizing mythic tale.  Not keen on this.
14. *The Sea, John Banville. MA reread. Still beautiful, though maybe a little too studied.
13. The Shaking Woman, Siri Hustvedt. Exhaustive but detached look at the history of nervous problems.
12. Thaw, Fiona Robyn. Less literary than my usual fare, but absorbing tale of a woman's depression. 
11. And This Is True, Emily Mackie. Disturbing tale of family relationships, memory, loss.  Good stuff! 
10. The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 2, ed. Philip Gourevitch. Fascinating interviews.
9. This Book Will Save Your Life, A.M. Homes. Light but entertaining, real page-turner. Engrossing.
8. The Nightmare Filled You With Scary, Shane Jones. Short, beautiful, and, yeah, kinda scary chapbook
7. Heliopolis, James Scudamore. Ballard meets Easton Ellis in Sao Paulo - great read.
6. The Sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt. Un-engaging, dry, overly self-conscious narrative.  Dull.
5. Under The Dome, Stephen King. Epic and entertaining as ever. Time-consuming though!
4. Personal Velocity, Rebecca Miller.  Tired, predictable prose.
3. Light Boxes, Shane Jones. Beautiful and sad fable.  Also looks like my copy's now worth a bit!
2. Nazi Literature in the Americas, Roberto Bolaño. Very funny pseudo-dictionary of fictional writers.
1. The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett.  Classic detective novel - very dry, very entertaining.

2 comments:

JSG said...

Impressive reading List Valerie...
I am a big big admirer of Saramago. Read the review. Kp it up.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks Jasmeet! Saramago's fantastic, isn't he? :-)