Sunday Salon: Season of the Lists

The Sunday 
Salon.com
Year-end is fast approaching, like it or not, and one sign of that is the arrival of the Lists. Because I’m once again nursing a dislocated shoulder and not up to a lot of (one-handed) writing, I thought they’d make a good cut-and-paste post topic for this week’s Sunday Salon.

Amazon.com got a head start on the 2010 best-book recaps, announcing its Editors’ Top 10 in October. The editors’ choices mixed fiction and nonfiction, and included books that had been widely praised throughout the year, as well as one that wouldn’t be released until several weeks after the list went public.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
Faithful Place: A Novel, by Tana French
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, by Karl Marlantes
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club),  by Jonathan Franzen
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson
To the End of the Land, by David Grossman
Just Kids, by Patti Smith
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis


I haven’t read any of these…yet. I suspect The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will long-list in Nonfiction in the Indie Lit Awards, so I’ll be reading it as a panelist. I plan to read Freedom eventually, but feel honor-bound to rescue The Corrections from TBR Purgatory first; the French and Larsson books are likewise on hold until I get through their earlier works. And because I loved Seabiscuit: An American Legend – and it’s in bookstores as of last week – I’ve put Unbroken, in hardcover, on my Christmas wish list.

A couple of weeks later, Publishers Weekly revealed its Top 10 of 2010, which also mixed fiction and nonfiction. It repeated some of Amazon’s picks, but varied from its own 2009 list in including some titles by women and people of color.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (Knopf)
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random)
The Surrendered, by Chang-rae Lee (Riverhead)
The Big Short, by Michael Lewis (Norton)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (Crown)
Just Kids, by Patti Smith (Ecco)
Man in the Woods, by Scott Spencer (Ecco)
The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall (Norton) – finally, something I’ve already read!
The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson (Random)


A Visit from the Goon Squad is already on my wish list, but as a “wait for the paperback” selection.

Have you read any of these “Best of the Year” selections yet? Are you planning to?


And one more list, from a tag on Facebook. Feel free to play along if you haven’t already!

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
 (I’m already at 6 – should I stop now? NO!)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials trilogy – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville  
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad  
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


I’ve read just over 40 of these books in their entirety, but I have no idea what that’s supposed to signify, given the highly eclectic – to put it mildly – nature of this list! How did you stack up?

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