I tried really hard to narrow this list down a tiny bit more, but it ain’t happening! These are my favorite fiction reads of 2010, starting with my top three favorites, then continuing in alphabetical order by title.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
This is not only my favorite read of the year, it’s now one of my favorite books ever. I picked it up at the library on a whim after Christmas and promptly devoured it. I’ll post up a full review soon; in the meantime, these are some of my favorite passages from the book.
The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
This book is not for everyone; there are a lot of disturbing scenes related to sex and sadomasochism, all tied into the book’s larger themes of desire and conformity. I was totally blown away by the intensity of the writing, and this is another book that I now also consider one of my all-time favorites. These are some of my favorite passages.
The Crime of Father Amaro by José Maria Eça de Queirós
If you’ve seen the movie (starring an insanely hot Gael Garcia Bernal), you know the plot: a handsome young priest gets a girl of good standing pregnant. Whereas the film focuses on darker aspects, the book is delightfully satirical and over-the-top.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
I’ve never read anything quite like this book. It’s a bunch of loosely interconnected short stories, but I think of it as more of an experimental/ postmodern novel. It’s a shame that Egan didn’t get the same level of hype that Franzen and Shteyngart got this year, because she deserved it.
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Girl in Translation is a coming-of-age story about a young Chinese immigrant and her mother, and their struggles with poverty and culture shock. I listened to it on audiobook and fell in love with it immediately; I was cheering little Ah-Kim on all the way (sometimes embarrassingly so).
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This was the second book by Alexie that I read this year (I had a tough time choosing between this and War Dances). I know it’s a YA book, but seriously, everyone should read this book. Alexie tackles so many major themes with humor and nuance. It’s impressive.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This was my first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird. With all the 50th anniversary events surrounding the book this summer, I knew I had to finally read it. And once I did, I did not put it down. Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how amazing this book is?!
Okay, that’s it! What a year. On to 2011… 🙂