The Books I Read in 2010

The books I read in 2010 (it seems to have been a good year for reading) – the two bolds are my top recommendations for the year:

  • Jee Leong Koh’s Equal to the Earth (Poetry)
  • Eli Jaxon-Bear’s The Enneagram of Liberation (Spirituality)
  • John Miller’s A Sharp Intake of Breath (Fiction)
  • Dr Arthur Agaston’s South Beach Diet (Diet/Health)
  • Tracy Quan’s Diary of a Jet-Setting Call Girl (Chick-Lit) – The adventures of Nancy Chan. Should I admit that I was looking to see if Borders carried my own book (er… no) and found instead another author named Quan? I’ve read all of her books (three so far) and found them very enjoyable. Taking the Sex-and-the-City genre and making the protagonist a sexy, Asian-American call girl living in the Big Apple – how could I resist?
  • Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap (Fiction) – I’m elevating this to a recommendation. I’m not in love with the actual writing but Tsiolkas’ characters are wonderfully-drawn, the story contemporary and the momentum of the prose unstoppable – and it’s a great portrait of modern Australia.
  • Tom Cardamone’s The Lost Library, Gay Fiction Rediscovered (Essays/Gay History)
  • Eve Escher-Hogan’s Way of the Winding Path: A Map for the Labyrinth of Life (Spirituality)
  • Gabrielle Roth’s Sweat Your Prayers (Spirituality)
  • Blaine Marchand’s The Craving of Knives (Poetry)
  • On The Line: the Creation of the Chorus Line (Non-Fiction)
  • John Barton’s Hymn (Poetry)
  • J.A.G. Roberts’ China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West (Non-Fiction)
  • Paul Kane’s Work Life (Poetry) – Holy Cow, I liked this book of poems. Am going to search out more of his work now.
  • Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Fiction) – The writing in this book is so energetic, I read it in a few days, very impressed. Wonder what the experience is for readers who have no Spanish language background at all as he drops Spanish words and slang into the text regularly.
  • Kevin Killian’s Argento Series (Poetry)
  • Jerome Parisse’s The Wings of Leo Spencer (Young Adult) – A friend published his first novel, a story about angels and families. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a “young adult” book but it was engaging.
  • Roberta Lowing’s Notorious (Fiction) – A friend gave me a pre-publication copy of this to read, by someone I know who organised a poetry reading series. It’s an ambitious thriller, or sorts, that moves between Italy and Poland and Morocco.
  • Kate Story’s Blasted (Fiction) – I went to college (and university) with Kate and was excited to order her first novel – it’s engaging and surprising with some really lovely writing.
  • Chris Adrian’s A Better Angel (Short Fiction) – Loved a story by this guy in the New Yorker. This is a beautiful collection.
  • Steig Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire, Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest (Thrillers) – Completely addictive and enjoyable..
  • Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (Fiction) – As with the Corrections, I loved it. It’s my 2010 must-read recommendation.
  • David Caleb Acevedo’s Bestiario en nomenclatura binomial (Poetry in Spanish)
  • Sara Gruen’s Ape House (Fiction) – What a disappointment. Water for Elephants really grabbed me, but this had poor writing and, one-dimensional characters. The pain of it increased because of my expectations for it. 
  • Jeannette Winterston’s Lighthousekeeping (Fiction)
  • Ken Wilber’s the Integral Vision (Philosophy) – I think this guy is a really interesting thinker and this made me think about a lot of things…
  • Andrew O Hagan’s The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe – completely surprising. From the cover and title and marketing, I just wasn’t sure, but my pal Chris said it was good, and by the first page, I could see what a beautiful writer Hagan is. I really liked it. 
  • Kimberley Mann’s Awake During Anaesthetic (Poetry Chapbook)
  • Bonny Cassidy’s Said to be Standing (Poetry Chapbook) – Vagabond Press produces these absolutely beautiful chapbooks called “Rare Objects” and they’re publishing usually emerging poets. Great stuff, good to read Bonny’s work as I’ve heard her read before.
  • Stuart Cooke’s Corrosions (Poetry Chapbook) – Ditto above, and *great* to read Stuart’s work as I haven’t really heard him read before. Interesting range of poems here.
  • Benjamin Law’s the Family Law (Humour/Family) – Very enjoyable, great voice, great writing from a young, gay Asian writer from Brisbane
  • Graeme Aitken’s The Indignities (Fiction) – A fun, gay romp through Sydney, circa 2004.

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2 Responses to The Books I Read in 2010

  1. Tracy Quan says:

    Happy New Year, Andy! Thanks for the list. I'm going to take a look at "China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West." Social history for foodies.

  2. tseen says:

    Thanks for the list, Andy! Tracy Quan's stuff sounds great – will check it out. Hope all's v well with you! Tseen

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