You know, everyone else is doing lists, so now that the year is over, so am I. Here are the best books I read in 2010!
- Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States. Either a long-overdue look at the disenfranchised and overlooked victims in America’s rise to power or a screed of anti-American socialist dogma. Take your pick, but I know which side I come down on.
- Warren Ellis – Crooked Little Vein. A trip through Weird America, introducing you to the things people do that you didn’t know people did.
- Max Brooks – World War Z. An oral history of the Zombie War. Enthralling, exciting, disturbing.
- Apostolos Doxiadis & Christos Papadimitriou – Logicomix. A graphic novel involving the search for ultimate truth. So involving that I had to read it several times in a row.
- Barry Hughart – Bridge of Birds. It’s rare that a book shoots right into the “favorite books” category, but this one did it.
- James Randi – Flim-Flam! This book is great to give to people who you want to be more skeptical in their lives. A harsh takedown of the ways we try to fool ourselves and others.
- Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan. Reading this was like taking a trip back to the early Church, and realizing that they were all just making it up as they went along.
- North, Bennardo, and Malki ! – Machine of Death. Personally, I’m hoping for HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE, but we can’t all get what we want.
- Robert Kirkman – The Walking Dead, Compendium 1. A really good zombie comic, something I don’t usually find myself reading.
- Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha – Sex at Dawn. A funny and very compelling look at the nature of human sexuality, at least before we invented agriculture and screwed everything up.
I don’t really have a “worst” list, because my baseline for “worst” is The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, so this is more like my “Meh List.”
- Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg – The Science of Supervillains. Much like their Science of Superheroes book, it focused more on why comic books get science wrong than what comics can teach us about science.
- Robert Heinlein – Starship Troopers. A love letter to militarism, thinly disguised as a science fiction novel.
- Terry Pratchett – Unseen Academicals. This isn’t Terry’s fault, it’s mine. The book is about soccer, and I really couldn’t care less about soccer.
- Henry Hitchings – The Secret Life of Words. I like words, but this was every bit as boring as people who don’t like words think that books about words might be.
- Robert Heinlein – I Will Fear no Evil. It would be a great story, if there was a story there. As it was, it was a memoir at best. A really weird memoir, but still….
- John Scalzi – The God Engines. A really cool idea that didn’t seem to come to life for me. If he explores it further, though, I will happily read it.
That’s it! How about you – what were the best, worst, and meh-est books you read this year?
Have a happy New Year, and keep reading!
3 responses to “Best (and not-so-best) of 2010”
Thanks for the lists, Chris.
I’ve been looking for some good books to read, and am going to keep the books you’ve mentioned in mind. You’ve got a nice blog going here. I shall continue to visit. 🙂
Having just read your other reviews of Pratchett books, I am astonished that you apparently missed the rest of the story in “Unseen Academicals.” I loathe soccer, and I liked the story of the redemption of the baker, the street boy, the candle dribbler, the fashionista, the goddess, the necromancer, and the game, all of which rose above a degraded history with some help but also through some effort of their own.
Don’t worry – I caught the redemptive plotlines. When I podcast the review, I hope you’ll rest a little easier. *smile* It’s just that the soccer aspect of it was like a fly stuck in my ear – concentrating on the good bits got challenging.