Visions of Paradise

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Favorite books of 2010

Traditionally, I post my favorite books of the year at the very end of December, but since I already know my choices for this past year, why wait?

This year I made a determined effort to cut back on my book-buying so that I can hopefully make some inroads into my huge pile of unread books (395 fiction books and 47 nonfiction books). I bought a total of 20 books, a slight increase from 2009 when I bought 18 books (but a large drop from 2005-2008 when I bought an average of 28 books each year).

The fly in the ointment though was Paperback Swap, where I replaced unwanted books with used books that were new to me. In 2009 I got 27 books in trade, and this year I got (or will get; some are still pending) 13 books.

This year I have read 31 books (so far; 2 more should follow before the end of the year) and 13 prozines. I reread 2 classics (Roger Zelazny’s Four For Tomorrow and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars), but of the books that I read for the first time, 4 of them stood out.

Jack McDevitt continues to be my favorite current writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed two of his books: Cauldron (the fabulous climax of the Academy series) and the delightful Time Travelers Never Die .

I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed Sir Walter Scott’s classic adventure novel Ivanhoe, and I hope to read more of his books, as well as more classic adventure novels, in the future.

But my favorite Book-of-the-Year was C.J. Cherryh’s Finity’s End, which was not a new book, having been published in 1997, but it was new for me. This is the third time I have selected a C.J. Cherryh book as my favorite book of the year, the others being Brothers of Earth in 1976 and Downbelow Station in 1981. Not surprisingly, when I list my favorite all-time sf writers, both she and McDevitt make the list (along with the above-mentioned Zelazny and Robinson).

It was a strong reading year and I look forward to reading even more good books in 2011 since I will be relatively free the entire year (rather than half the year as I was in 2010).


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