Favorite Fiction Reads of 2010

War Dances by Sherman Alexie: I can’t get enough of Alexie’s work. War Dances is a collection of inter-connected short stories and poems, and while I am not usually a fan of either short stories or poems, I loved (almost) every page. Each time I read a Sherman Alexie book I feel like I’m unwrapping a very special gift.

Emma by Jane Austen: 2010 was the year I finally gave Austen a chance, after years of avoiding her books because I was so annoyed that she was frequently the only woman acknowledged as a “great writer” in high school anthologies and on certain Barnes & Noble tote bags. I was surprised by how much I loved the characters: Emma, Mr. Knightley, Mrs. Weston, and, especially, Mrs. Elton. I don’t think I’ve ever giggled so much while reading a classic!

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell: I put this list in alphabetical order by author, but now I feel kind of odd jumping from Jane Austen to Josh Bazell. Their books are basically complete opposites, but since they are only on a list together because I loved them both, I suppose I should focus on that one commonality. Beat the Reaper appeals to that secret, odd side of my genre-loving self that enjoys books like The Godfather and most of Christopher Moore’s books. It is currently in development to be made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the main character. It involves the MOB and the WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM and the main character is a doctor who is vaguely reminiscent of Dr. House. Need I say more?

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: Sometimes I read books I would never otherwise try because they are available on my library’s online catalog as audio downloads and I need something to listen to so my work day goes by more quickly. I’m pretty pleased with this arrangement, because Sharp Objects is a real treat for mystery lovers like myself. A tight plot, unforgettable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing.


Gods In Alabama by Joshilynn Jackson: Even though I’m basically as New England-y as an American can be, I have a soft spot for books set in the south. Maybe I just long for leisurely days, good manners, and tall cool glasses of iced tea? Gods In Alabama is KIND OF like that, only it shows what’s behind the scenes (and hidden in the closets) of otherwise picturesque families.

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman: I’m pleased to say that Elinor Lipman attended my alma mater, Simmons College, and still lives in the Boston area, so I went into The Family Man a little biased and really hoping that I would like the book. I, in fact, loved the book, a literary-leaning cozy comedy about a gay man who reconnects with his former step daughter after the death of her father.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick: I shouldn’t have liked this graphic novel–it’s written by a former Real World cast member! But it’s beautifully done, and portrays, with true feeling, the deep friendship between Judd and Pedro, who was the first HIV+ cast member on the Real World and a vocal advocate for HIV prevention and gay rights.


    Filed under GLBTQ, Lists, Year End

    14 responses to “Favorite Fiction Reads of 2010

    1. Austen is fabulous. You will enjoy the others as well. My personal favourite is Persuasion, which I refer to as the mature woman’s Austen. On my lists(TBR, Bunker etc) the only Austen I have never managed: Northanger Abbey, maybe this is the year!!

      • I’ve read everything but Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey…trying to hold out so I will have more of her work to look forward to. Emma is my favorite by far, but I did enjoy Persuasion very much. I just didn’t like Pride & Prejudice very much–I don’t find Mr. Darcy all that dreamy. ;)

    2. Love all thing’s Jane Austen. Love.
      Also adored Beat the Reaper… listened to it in the car (not a good idea if you are squeamish, like me, because of the parts that make one cringe and loose concentration on the road).
      Really enjoyed The Family Man as well. I listened to it last year (2010) and am listening to The Pursuit of Alice Thrift right now… am almost done. It’s wonderful.

      • I’m pretty into Austen, it’s true. I really loved the Sense & Sensibility movie with Emma Thompson, which is what got me to give Austen’s books a chance in the first place.
        Beat the Reaper was so good on audio! Great for work, I must say, as it made the hours fly by.
        I listened to the audio of The Family Man too, even though I didn’t note it in my post. It was quite excellent. I have The Pursuit of Alice Thrift on my bookshelf, I should read it soon. Her books are so cozy! But smart cozy.

    3. Ack, I haven’t read any of these! My brother, though, loved Beat the Reaper. I’m hoping to read my first Austen in 2011, and I’ve heard Joshilyn Jackson is really good!

      • I’m sure you’ll like Austen, Erin. I’m interested to see which one of her books will be your favorite! Joshilyn Jackson surprised me with how good the book was…I wasn’t expecting very much and it definitely delivered.

    4. Eva

      Ohhh: I’ll have to put Sharp Objects on my TBR list. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but you make it sound like something I have to try at least! :)

      • Hmm, I’m not sure you’ll like it either, Eva, but I’m glad you’ll give it a chance! I think you’ll either REALLY love it or REALLY dislike it. Fingers crossed that you’ll like it!

    5. Eva

      Also, nyah nyah to your previous Austen-avoidance ways. Welcome to the Austen club: it’s a much more fun place to be! ;)

    6. Jeez, once again I’ve read none of these! You really do like Alexie though don’t you? hmm….

      • Haha, I really DO love Alexie. I think you’d like Flight the most, but all three of the books I’ve mentioned are really, really good.

    7. I also loved PEDRO AND ME, which I read three or four years back. I’m always so happy when I see someone blog about it!

      • I was shocked by how good it was, Memory! I’ll have to write about it in the near future and try to get others to read it too and continue your happiness. :)