We’re halfway through the year, and I thought I’d mark the occasion by taking stock and looking back at some of the highlights of my reading year so far. I’m limiting myself to five titles, and concentrating on books that had their first English-language or first UK publication in 2010. I’ve judged them on how much they have stayed with me since I read them. So, in alphabetical order:
Robert Jackson Bennett, Mr Shivers
Ostensibly a search across the Depression-era United States for a ruthless killer, this book has a rich metaphoric subtext that makes it a very satisfying piece of work.
Shane Jones, Light Boxes
My favourite read of the year so far. A short, magical tale of the battle against February, that works on about three levels all at once.
Paul Murray, Skippy Dies
From a very short book to a very long one. An Irish boarding-school comedy with added theoretical physics throws in so much that there’s probably a kitchen sink in there somewhere – but it all works superbly.
Adam Roberts, New Model Army
Begins as the tale of an army that functions democratically, but transforms into something that genuinely is like nothing I have read before.
Amy Sackville, The Still Point
The parallel stories of a fateful Arctic expedition and a present-day couple at a turning-point in their relationship, wrapped up in a fascinating prose style.
My pick of pre-2010 books for the year so far is Christopher Priest’s excellent The Affirmation, the story of how a man’s life and his fictionalised autobiography intertwine until… well, read the book and see for yourself. And, of course, I’d recommend all the others to you as well.
Those are my picks for the first half of 2010, then. What have you most enjoyed reading this year?