It’s that time of year again, and time to post my list of top reads. I’ve had a very enjoyable reading year in 2010, and have to admit, I’ve picked entertainment rather than worthy reads for the most part, but I have read some fantastic books, and these were my top five:
1. The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy
It’s been four months since I finished this collection of short stories, and I still can’t think of a better word to describe them than exquisite. Heartbreaking narratives and evocative descriptions, I can’t fault the writing in any way. Van Booy will publish his first novel this year, and it’s at the top of my wish list of books to read this year.
2. Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant
One of the classic novels I’ve read this year, it is a fantastic tale of nineteenth century French politics and society, full of corruption and deceipt, manipulation and seduction. Humorously and wickedly observed, with a surprising ending. Brilliant.
3. Adventures on the High Teas by Stuart Maconie
My absolute favourite travel author, this time on a crusade to find the meaning of the term MIddle England which has become widely used in modern political speeches. Nostalgic and funny, not afraid to tell the truth of even when it isn’t particularly complimentary, but always affectionate to his subject.
4. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
The best YA book I’ve read this year. A compelling story written as a letter from an abducted teenager to her kidnapper, which completely absorbs you from the very start. With an obvious bias to the narrative with only one perspective on the story of the kidnapping, it is a challenging book that leaves it up to the reader to decide on their own truth about the story.
5. Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill
Author Susan Hill decides not to buy any books for a year and concentrate on reading books she already owns, and this leads her to make one of those lists we all love; if you could only have forty books to read for the rest of your life, what would they be? I absolutely loved this book, surprising choices mixed in with expected ones, blended with her own reading experiences and encounters with other authors. Not only do you get an insight into the reading of another, but it makes you think about your own reading habits.