2010 in Review – My Favourite Reads

2010 was the year that I discovered the wonderful and quirky Barbara Comyns, Marghanita Laski and Jeanette Winterson. I was gripped by Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy and made it through The Passage. I read 62 books in total. Standout publishers for me this year were Peirene Press, for small, perfectly-formed European fiction and Persephone Books, whose rediscovered classics are a reliable source of delightful and comforting literature.

I’ve picked out 15 favourites from the books that I read in 2010. Here are my recommended reads:

The Vet’s Daughter, by Barbara Comyns

“…a very special and original book.”

Vet's Daughter

Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

“…a very dark and shocking book even by today’s standards.

On The Beach, by Nevil Shute

“…a fascinating novel… Shute really takes the reader on a journey along with the characters he creates.”

On The Beach - Shute - Vintage

The Victorian Chaise-longue, by Marghanita Laski

“Laski’s storytelling is… subtle. She sows the seed of an idea in the reader’s mind, but leaves you to think about what might have happened without exactly telling you.”

Victorian Chaise Longue

Don’t Look Now, by Daphne Du Maurier

“Quite simply, Don’t Look Now is one of the creepiest short stories I’ve ever read.”

Don't Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier

The Millenium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson

“Complex plotting, dark themes and compelling characters made this series really stand out for me. There is a reason why every other person on the tube has a copy of a Larsson book.”


Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee

“Coetzee wastes no words and everything is appropriate to the story he tells…. a novel that opened my eyes but also kept me gripped.”

Disgrace - Coetzee

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt

“…a wonderfully written book with glorious and funny characterisation and descriptions…”

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt

The Shuttle, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“It manages to combine social history with romance and gets seriously dark in parts. It is also funny! … I read the nearly 500 pages in nearly two days”

The Shuttle

Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious

‘It is sensational and shocking… it is also beautifully written, emotive and clever.”

Peyton Place

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

“…an absolutely wonderful story of friendship and bravery which tackles the subject of racism from a totally new perspective.”

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Beside the Sea, by Veronique Olmi

“…a sad, sad novel. It is is also unique, moving and completely heart-stopping.”

Beside the Sea, by Veronique Olmi

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

“Mantel retells a familiar story from a completely different angle and creates something entirely new…. Mantel has done an amazing job of bringing him (Thomas Cromwell) to life and creating a hypercolour version of the Tudor era.”

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson

“When I began reading The Passion I didn’t have a clue where it was going, but enjoyed the beautiful magical storytelling elements. I then felt rewarded with a tale that really fulfilled everything I could hope for in a real ‘story’.”

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

“Middlesex delighted me from beginning to end.”

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

What were your favourite reads of 2010?

27 responses to “2010 in Review – My Favourite Reads

  1. I’m about to compile my top 10 reads for 2010 and ‘The Vet’s Daughter’ by Barbara Comyns is definitely going to feature in the list somewhere. ‘The Help’ and Wolf Hall’ are titles that I’m hoping to read in the new year.

    Great Post and Happy New Year!

    • Ah, really…! Glad that you enjoyed The Vet’s Daughter too – such a brilliant discovery, thanks to Simon T!

      • Hurrah for Comyns! I was so pleased you did the readalong with me – I’m going to read Skin Chairs by Comyns this weekend, I think.

      • Ooh, that sounds like a very Comyns title. Looking forward to your thoughts Simon. I’m soooo glad that I joined the readalong!

  2. Great list! I loved Beside the Sea, The Help and Disgrace. I hope to try my first Shute in 2011, but I hope those crazy stalkers don’t find me 🙂

    Have a great 2011!

  3. I loved beside the sea all the best for the coming year ,stu

  4. That’s a great list, you really make me want to try Barbara Comyns! 🙂 Hope 2011 is going to be as great for you, happy new year! 🙂

  5. Now that’s a great list of books. Thank you for reminding me that The Shuttle and Peyton Place have been in my TBR for too long and that I really must get to them next year.

    Happy new year!

  6. The Help made my end of the year list as well. I’ve read a couple of your others in years past, but many of these are on my wish list.

    • The Help was so good wasn’t it?! I will take a look at yours and try to resist the urge to expand my TBR any further!

  7. You’ve got some great books there Polly! A nice mixture of classics, contemporary, well known and unusual. I shall take note!!

    • Ooh, I’m glad you like the list Rachel! Representative of my eclectic (possibly a bit batty) tastes I think.

  8. We share a couple of favourites for 2010 – The Help and Stieg Larsson. I really must get around to reading Wolf Hall. A great mix of books in your favourites and some lemmings for me!

  9. I enjoyed a lot of the books on your list too, especially On the Beach (which didn’t make it onto my list but which I really liked!) And the Millenium Trilogy. One of the books I really want to read is The Shuttle and I’ve also got Wolf Hall on my shelf. A nice long list!

    • It is long isn’t it!! I really struggled to cut it down. Hope you enjoy The Shuttle and Wolf Hall if you read them in 2011Q

  10. Brilliant selection of books, and actually I think we have some of the same favourite books of 2010 (I havent published my list yet) but then not too much shock there lol! Happy New Year love x

  11. Great list! I’d like to read so many of these, especially The Vet’s Daughter. Of them I’ve only read The Help and Middlesex, both were great books.

  12. Indeed, some wonderful books here (Wolf Hall!) and several books I’d like to read (The Shuttle sounds quite intriguing).

    It’s interesting that you have stand-out publishers – is it judged by number of good books read, or just that they’re new and more obscure discoveries?

    • Ah, the latter is true – slightly obscure or niche and relatively recent discoveries. I don’t yet have an authoratitive enough view to delve into the accolades of larger publishers!

  13. Some great reads there. I *really* need to get my hands on Marghanita Laski. I’ve been seriously lusting after her books. I’ve earnmarked ‘Pied Piper’ to be read this year. In fact, I’ve just reserved at my library. :-p

    • I’ve never heard of Pied Piper, but I’m definitely keen to read more Laski so I’ll look forward to your thoughts.

  14. Pingback: Novel Insights’ Top 12 Books – 2011 | Novel Insights

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s