Book Round-Up for 2010

I only read 71 books in 2010, which is heaps less than previous years (135 books in 2009, 183 in 2008 and 173 in 2007). I think part of the reason for this is I downloaded more things to watch on my iPod, so that commuting time was spent watching things rather than reading. Shocking! Something to rectify this year.

Best Short Story Collection

Well, to be honest I don’t read all that many collections of short stories; I did read a number of short stories prior to Aussie Con 4 so that I could vote for the Hugos, but not that many collections of stories. However, my favourite was definitely Peter Carey’s War Crimes– it was a nice surprise. I hadn’t realised that Peter Carey wrote speculative fiction, and the battered volume of War Stories I borrowed contained so many fantastic and disturbing stories.

Best Newly Discovered Classic

The classics I discover are always as audio books – I find older books much easier to read that way, as I’m not tempted to skim over lengthy descriptive passages. And this year it was Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier’s fabulously chilling gothic tale, with its abrupt and disturbing ending.

Best Non-Fiction

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which is hardly a unique choice – but a wonderfully written, confronting and inspirational read all the same. I particularly liked the chapters that discussed Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, and saw that he spoke in Brisbane last year – there’s a couple of blog posts with summaries about his Australian trip.

Best Dystopia & Best Kick in the Guts Ending

No contest – Feed by Mira Grant. Fast paced political thriller with zombies, it kept me up at nights. And god, that ending.

Best New Author

I bought Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead at Aussie Con 4 because I saw her speak and thought she was great, and had previously read her very funny blog. I find that book purchases like that generally turn out very well, and this one did – an urban fantasy steeped in Maori mythology, it was marvellous.

And to look out for in 2011?

Well, I have some presents to read – A S Byatt’s The Children’s Book among them – and I’m looking forward to the publication of Mira Grant’s Deadline, Tansy Rayner Robert’s Shattered City, Karen Healey’s The Shattering, Holly Black’s Red Glove, and Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue. Among many others I’m sure to discover in the coming months.

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