My non-review of the best books of 2010

So all the newspapers have been publishing their end-of-year roundups. Some even started back in November. Here’s why I won’t be doing my own little roundup of the best books of 2010.

Basically, it’s because I haven’t read very many of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do read quite a lot. But the thing I’ve realised on looking back is that not many of the books were published in 2010. That was surprising for me, because I do read mostly contemporary fiction. The only really ‘old’ books on my list, I think, are Catcher in the Rye, The Golden Bough and In the Castle of My Skin.

But what I realised is that my ‘contemporary’ books are spread over the last decade or two. I just don’t tend to read the very latest books. I think there are several reasons for this:

1. Contrariness. I hate following a trend and buying what everyone else is buying. I’ll read Freedom in a year or two probably, when it’s no longer quite so obligatory.

2. Money. Hardbacks are expensive, and I am not exactly making a fortune from my writing just yet. I tend to wait for the paperback edition, or in some cases wait for the book to come into the library, which means I am not reading a lot of the very latest books.

3. Slowness. I have a ‘to-read’ list about 700 books long, and keep adding to it. By the time I actually get around to reading one of the books on my list, it’s probably been on there for a year or two at least.

All of this means that I am not going to end 2010 with an authoritative article on the best books of the year. I just haven’t read enough of them to be able to make that judgement. But I am probably just about ready to write something on the hottest books of 2007.


  1. claire 3 January 2011 at 7:14 pm

    #2 and #3 speaks for me as well. Although I still would’ve been interested to know which books you loved reading this year, regardless of when they were published. đŸ˜€ Happy, happy new year, Andrew!

  2. Andrew Blackman - Site Author 4 January 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Claire,
    Happy New Year to you too! And since you asked so nicely, here are the top 5 books I read in 2010:

    1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    2. Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida, ed Robert Chandler
    3. Beside the Sea by VĂ©ronique Olmi
    4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    5. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande


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