Friday, December 06, 2019

The Best of the Decade 2010-19: Dave Brown's Favorite Novels (plus some books that I read)

Quite candidly, I (Seth) am not a great reader.

Sure I still read a newspaper (almost) daily, and though I've cut down on magazine subscriptions, I read a variety of articles online and off.

Each year, I do read some books, just relatively few compared to some friends and relatives.

Most of my reading for pleasure falls under the realm of page-turners.

I've read virtually everything, including in this decade, by my two favorite authors of suspense thrillers--Harlan Coben and Lee Child--and would recommend almost any of them. Linwood Barclay covers similar ground as Coben, and I've read a few of his. (You can find some reviews on this blog via the Search Box.)

Of other books released since 2010, I've read several popular thrillers--including Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, Inferno and Origin by Dan Brown--along with the first three mystery novels J.K. Rowling wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith, and a trio by Keigo Higashino.

I very much enjoyed Stephen King's 11/22/63 and highly recommend The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

I buy and peruse various art, photography, travel and coffee table books on various subjects; a few that might make great gifts, even for yourself, are Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat (both by Stephen Sondheim), Vic Muniz, Vivien Maier: Street Photographer and Destinations of a Lifetime (National Geographic).

I tend to buy but only partially read biographies--such as Ali by Jonathan Eig--but I read a bio and most of the autobiography on Bruce Springsteen and, early in this decade, read numerous books about income inequality and the factors behind the subprime mortgage crisis, economic meltdown and recession.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis was probably the most enlightening book I read this decade, and his Boomerang and Flash Boys were also excellent. Predator Nation, by Inside Job director Charles Ferguson, was another that stands out in memory.

So I do read--including the occasional classic like The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and Slaughterhouse Five--just not nearly as much as I should. I'd like to read more, but compared to watching, writing and whatever else, I just don't fit it in all that much.

But my good pal Dave Brown is ALWAYS reading something, with a preference for substantive works of fiction. He tends to read paperbacks, so may be a year behind the latest smash--even currently--but rather than cobble together my own list of Best Books of the Decade, it seems prudent to put him in the driver's seat for this category. He estimates he's read 500-600 new novels in the past 10 years.

So to glean his far greater point of reference, read on for:

The Best Books (Fiction) of the Decade
according to David Brown

1. IQ84 - by Haruki Murakami

2. 4 3 2 1 - by Paul Auster

3. A God in Ruins - by Kate Atkinson

4. The Goldfinch - by Donna Tartt

5. 11/22/63 - by Stephen King

6. The Son - by Philipp Meyer

7. Dark Corners - by Ruth Rendell

8. The Nix - Nathan Hill

9. A Spool of Blue Thread- by Anne Tyler

10. The Paying Guests - by Sarah Waters

11. Emily, Alone - Stewart O'Nan

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter

Blue Lightning - by Anne Cleeves
Carry the One - Carol Anshaw
City on Fire - Garth Risk Hallberg
The Lowland - by Jhumpa Lahiri
Solar - by Ian McEwan
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - by David Mitchell
The Trespasser- by Tana French
The Underground Railroad - by Colson Whitehead
The Ways of the World - by Robert Goddard
The Widower's Tale - by Julia Glass

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