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Reading highlights of 2010

December 16, 2010

As usual, I didn’t get around to reading quite as many novels as I would have liked to in the course of the year. But I’m glad to say that I did read some wonderful ones. Here is a brief comment on five of the books that stood out – in order of reading.

Nick Cave
And the Ass Saw the Angel

I’ll admit it. I was a little sceptical. Nick Cave, isn’t he a singer? Yes, he is that too. But I was truly amazed at this novel. Perhaps the writer being a lyricist was part of what made it such a striking book, because the story is wonderfully raw and poetic at the same time. US South Sate colloquialism seamlessly merges with precise and poignant observations in the voice of the mute narrator.

John Ajvide Lindqvist
Let the Right One In

It’s labelled as horror and supernatural, and granted, there is a lot of both in this book. However, it’s more than just that. The portrayal of the various characters (major as well as minor) is spot-on. From a twelve year old boy to the kind, local drunks, the descriptions are discreet and fitting. The supernatural elements are wonderfully weaved into the story and are very believable. (This novel is originally in Swedish, and I did not read it in English.)

Bret Easton Ellis
Imperial Bedrooms

Oh, how I’ve waited. I have read all of Ellis’ books and was looking so much forward to reading this one as soon as if came out. Yes, I would personally have liked a sequel to one of his other books better, but that doesn’t make this one any less interesting. It’s a sequel to his debut novel Less than Zero. There was a marvelous meta-quality to this novel – characters referring to the film based on the first Ellis book and commenting what happened in the book.

Christopher Isherwood
Mr Norris Changes Trains

I read Goodbye to Berlin years ago, and it has remained on my long list of favourites. Recently, I’ve started reading more of Isherwood’s books, and this is one of them. The exquisite descriptions of Germany in the 1930s, the absurdity of Mr Norris himself, the humorous tackling of political subjects and various taboos and the refreshing narration are just some of the things which make this a great read.

Chuck Palahniuk

Who hasn’t heard about the film Fight Club? Who hasn’t had the plot twist spoiled if they haven’t seen it? I certainly have. It is based on a novel by Palahniuk, and after having Amazon recommend books by him for quite a while, I finally caved in. And I don’t regret it one bit. Choke is very, very funny. It’s also sad and satirical and has some unforgettable characters and unexpected twists and turns along the way.

So there you are. Those weren’t necessarily my favourites, but I enjoyed them very much, and I picked them because they surprised me or influenced me in one way or another.

Did you read some really good or striking books this year? Did you discover authors you hadn’t previously read? Have you read any of the books above?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 12:03 am

    I have no books to recommend this year . . .

    Either my memory’s failing, or the books I read were NOT memorable. πŸ™‚

    Glad a few rose to the top of your list for the year.


    • December 17, 2010 10:23 am

      The better alternative of the two is probably that the books weren’t that memorable. πŸ™‚
      Thank you for commenting!


  2. December 18, 2010 8:09 am

    Fight Club was definitely a memorable movie. I saw it when it first came out and then again about a year ago, so 10 years later. I was amazed at how much of the film I still remembered- and I’m not one to retain specifics. If Choke is anything like Fight Club I can see why you liked it so much.


    • December 18, 2010 10:46 am

      I haven’t actually seen Fight Club, but it seems to be very good (especially compared to how many other books are translated into films). Choke has a very distinct narrator voice, some absurdities and an engaging plot. – I’m getting really fond of Palahniuk.
      Thank you for the comment!


  3. December 19, 2010 4:01 pm

    Very glad to find another reader/writer, especially one who shared the agonies of NaNo. Thanks for the comment.


    • December 19, 2010 8:07 pm

      There is a few of us on WordPress, I think. I’ve come across a few other NaNoers too.
      You’re welcome – and thank you for visiting/commenting here! πŸ™‚



  1. Looking back, looking forward « Howalt: A Writer's Blog

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