The Best Books of 2010? Part 1: Authors We Know and Love

December 2010 UPDATE: See which 2010 books I actually enjoyed the most.

The lists for the best 2009 books are everywhere at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to have a look at some of the books which might make the same lists next year.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet – David Mitchell

I have loved all of David Mitchell’s books, especially Ghostwritten and Black Swan Green. His new book is set on the tiny island of Dejima, the Dutch East India Company’s remotest Japanese trading post in 1799. I am really looking forward to reading it and am hoping it is good enough to win him the Booker Prize, as it would be fantastic to see him win.

Trespass – Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain won the Orange prize in 2008 with The Road Home, so it is exciting to see that she has a new book out in 2010. Trespass is set in an isolated French farmhouse and is described as a powerful, unsettling novel. I can’t wait!


So Much for That – Lionel Shriver

If you loved  We Need To Talk About Kevin as much as I did, then you will be looking forward to reading her latest book. It focuses on a woman suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, so I’m sure it will be another emotional read.

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ  – Philip Pullman

This promises to be the most controversial release of 2010. I loved the His Dark Materials Trilogy and hope that this will be just as good. Either way, I’m sure this will be the most talked about book of 2010!

Beatrice and Virgil – Yann Martel

A book about a taxidermist, a howler monkey and a donkey called Beatrice doesn’t sound like the best book of the year, but the premise of Life of Pi didn’t look very good either. Another contender for the Booker prize?

The News Where You Are – Catherine O’Flynn

What Was Lost was a very promising debut, so I am looking forward to finding out what her second novel is like. She has originality on her side – I’ve not read a literary mystery focusing on a television anchorman before!


Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde

I loved The Eyre Affair, but for some reason I haven’t got round to reading any more of his books. I need to fix that, but I know that all Fforde fans are getting excited about this release.

More 2010 Books….

Which books are you most looking forward to in 2010?

Read Part 2: The Best Books of 2010? Debut/Lesser Known Authors

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  1. Verity says:

    Ooh, what an interesting list! I didn’t know about the Shriver or the Rose Tremain, both of which I will be keen to read.
    As for me, I’m looking forward to seeing Jennie Rooney’s follow up to her debut novel, and the new Blake Morrison. And I’ve already read the new Margaret Forster which is coming out in February and is wonderful!

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I haven’t heard of Jennie Rooney or Blake Morrison, so I’ll have to look them up. I haven’t read any Margaret Forester yet either, but I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. Thank you for the recommendations!

    2. Greetings all, thanks for all the fun tidbits and recommendations, now I’ll get absolutely nothing done!

      I just read The Liquid City by Curtis J Hopfenbeck and absolutely adored it. It was the wittiest and most fun I’ve had reading a book in years. Nothing heavy or emotive, just a great book, with encompassing characters, and a fantastic ending. Plus, it’s going to be a series, and a movie, so I’ll be excited to hear more about both. Thanks everyone, what a fun site!

  2. Stujallen says:

    looking forward to the mitchell and the martell .the new peter carey sounds great too jackie .

    1. Jackie says:

      Stuallen, I didn’t realise there was a new Peter Carey – I’m off to have a look for it. Thank you for pointing that out.

  3. This is a great idea! Too late to catch up on all of the 2009 lists, but this will give me a headstart on 2010 :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Lija, I don’t think it is ever possible to get on top of the lists, but have fun trying!

  4. The Fforde and the Martel books are the ones I am most excited about. I’ll read the Shriver novel although I haven’t read her others yet excluding We Need to Talk About Kevin so won’t be buying it upon release.

    I am also looking forward to The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis, The Stars in the Bright Sky (sequel to The Sopranos) by Alan Warner and The Dragonfly Summer by Eva Rice.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Thank you for pointing those out. I haven’t read any Martin Amis, so should probably do that before getting his new one. I only have a vague idea of who Alan Warner and Eva Rice are, so I’ll let you tell me if their books are worth me reading.

  5. Shona says:

    Ok I am waiting for the Martel book. You have put up a great list :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Shona, I am very intrigued by the new Martel book too. I hope it is as wonderful as his last one.

  6. Steph says:

    Well, being one of those lucky people who has read the new Jasper Fforde novel (though technically in the U.S. it is a 2009 release!), I can say it is definitely fantastic and will proudly sit on my shelf next to all of his other books. Also, it’s the start of a new series so people who haven’t read his other stuff needn’t feel obligated to do so before giving this a try!

    The books of 2010 that I’m most looking forward to? Joshua Ferris has a new book coming out in Feb, though I’ve heard mixed things, so we’ll see how that goes. And apparently Jonathan Franzen may have a new book coming out, which I’d be very interested in taking a look at. Finally, I’ve hard that the new Tana French novel is coming out in July, and I’m REALLY excited about that!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I’m sure everyone in the UK is jealous that Shades of Grey is out in the US already!

      Joshua Ferris’s new book is called The Unnamed. I’m not convinced, as I wasn’t a fan of Then We Came to the End, but have been told that the two books are very different, so I’ll wait and see…

      Jonathan Franzen’s new book Freedom (unconfirmed title) might be out at the end of the year, but I’m not sure, so haven’t added it to the list.

      I haven’t read any of Tana French’s books, but have the first 2 here. Hopefully I’ll get round to them before he third book Faithful Place is published.

      Thanks for letting me know about these books – I’ve added them to the list above.

      1. John Self says:

        I’ve read Ferris’s The Unnamed (like Jackie, I wasn’t a fan of Then We Came to the End). I found the new one very uneven and at the early stages I was ready to give up on it, but in the end it’s actually very powerful, more through Ferris’s willingness to pursue the subject to its final conclusion than anything else. Someone else I know who read it called it ‘brutal’, and I’d agree with that too.

        1. Jackie says:

          John, So as a Ferris sceptic do you recommend I give it a try, or is it too much effort?

  7. Andy Harrod says:

    Looking forward to Philip Pullman’s release. His Dark Materials is excellent and one of the most highly banned books in the USA, will be interesting to see what they make of his one!

    1. Jackie says:

      Andy, I’m sure that is will cause a lot of debate and be banned in several places! I love his imagination though and look forward to all the conversations.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Your list is wonderful–I think the only one I knew about already was Lionel Shriver’s, which I am anticipating.

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading a few of them.

  9. Laura says:

    Ooh, those books look really good! Thanks for the preview.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I’m sure we’ll be reading a few of these when the Booker list is announced!

  10. molly says:

    I very much enjoyed We Need to Talk about Kevin – so Shriver’s newest book is of great interest to me. I am looking forward to the US release date of Susan Hill’s – Howard’s End is on the Landing.

    1. Jackie says:

      molly, I didn’t realise that you were still waiting for Howard’s End is on the Landing – I hope you enjoy it.

  11. Sandy says:

    I’m starting to twitch. Lionel Shriver AND Tana French? I can’t stand it. Those two are high on my hit list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Sounds as though I need to read some Tana French! I’ll work on it….

  12. claire says:

    Yay, thanks for this awesome list, Jackie! I am particularly very excited about the Yann Martel, Ian McEwan, Peter Carey, and Roberto Bolaño!!

    I read His Dark Materials, but didn’t appreciate the last installment due my faith, so I’m steering away from his new book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I can see the first three ending up on the Booker list, so I’ll probably read them at some point in the year. I hope they are good. I’m looking forward to 2010 already.

  13. Simon S says:

    Oooooh interesting selection! I do mine at the start of the year and have a couple of the ones that are on this list on mine so far. I just received Shades of Grey and am very, very excited about it. Though its odd as a Fforde virgin at the moment it is his newest book is the one I am starting with.

    I must read Tremain at some point!

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, I look forward to seeing what makes it onto your list. I enjoyed my only Fforde book, but I’m in no rush to read the new one – I’ll wait patiently for your opinion on it. I have a feeling that you’ll love it.

  14. cbjames says:

    I never been one to know what the upcoming books are. Thanks for this list. I wonder if I can get my hands on a ARC or two. I’ll be putting my name on the holds list at my local library for several of these in any case.

    1. Jackie says:

      cbjames, I’m sure you’ll be able to get hold of a few ARCs. I hope that you are successful, or at least get your name to the top of the library list!

  15. Dorte H says:

    I am looking forward to news from Sophie Hannah and Tana French, but not their 2010 books yet. I buy books when I can get them cheap so I have only read one by each of them yet.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dorte, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy those two authors either. I have a few of Sophie Hannah’s left to read and I don’t like reading several books by the same author in a row, so will spread her books out over the next few years. I haven’t even started on Tana French, but will hopefully read the first one soon.

  16. raidergirl3 says:

    Great list of upcoming books, thanks for sharing. I imagine tomorrow is new authors?
    The authors on the list that interest me the most are
    -David Mitchell
    -Jasper Fforde
    I’ve read more than one of each of these guys, and I’ve been impressed

    The next three I’ve read one book, and really liked it, so this next read will let me know how much I like them, or not.
    -Joshua Ferris
    -Rose Tremain
    -Lionel Shiver

    1. Jackie says:

      raidergirl3, I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait a whole week to see the next list, whic will be about debut/lesser known authors. I’m pleased to see that you’re looking forward to David Mitchell’s book too – let’s hope it is good.

  17. Aarti says:

    I have two of Tremain’s books on my shelf. One of them, The Colour, I attempted to read but couldn’t get very far into it. This one sounds much more interesting to me!

    1. Jackie says:

      Aarti, I haven’t read The Colour, but have a copy here – I agree that Trespass sounds very good though.

  18. Kathleen says:

    So many books, so little time…wish I could find a way to not have to sleep so I would have time to read all of the wonderful books out there!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, I know what you mean – there is no way I’m going to read all of the books on that list – I need to prioritise!

  19. Nicole says:

    I was so excited about THE ROAD HOME and I still have it sitting on my shelf, and now there’s another! I just can’t keep up.

    1. Jackie says:

      Nicole, I enjoyed The Road Home, but this one sounds even better – I hope it is as good as it looks.

  20. Wendy says:

    Oooooooh, I think I am most excited about Tremain and Mitchell…but really, you have listed some great looking books (and here I am trying to get through my stack of 2009 books still!!!!)

    Thanks for the post…

    1. Jackie says:

      Wendy, I looking forward to those two most too (although am very intrigued by Martel and Pullman) I have a list of 2009 books too – increased after reading so many ‘best of 2009’ lists recently.

  21. I’m looking forward to the third and final part of the Hunger Games Trilogy which is out in August 2010.

    1. Jackie says:

      The Literary Stew, Thank you for commenting on my blog for the first time!

      I’m sure that I’ll buy that on release day too, but I’m not looking forward to it so much after the disappointment of Catching Fire. I left it out of the list as I couldn’t find any firm details about release day or title, but thanks for mentioning it.

  22. lizzysiddal says:

    Add in Andrea Levy’s novel “The Long Song” and you’ve got my 2010 pretty well wrapped up.

    1. Jackie says:

      lizzy, I hadn’t spotted that one! Thank you for pointing it out – I’ll add it to the list now.

  23. Dan Holloway says:

    Very much looking forward to the O’Flynn – I think What Was Lost was a genuinely important book and nowhere near enough has been made of it. A new Mitchell is always an event, and eagerly awaited. A new Amis and McEwan are likewise events, but these days not so eagerly awaited.

    Very much looking forward to next week’s choices and some new talent. Aside, of course, from those of my fellow Year Zero Writers, the one I’m most looking forward to is Grant Gillespie’s The Cuckoo Boy, which I was tipped the wink about by the people at To Hell With Publishing, who are bringing it out as part of their first literary novels scheme.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dan, The first half of What Was Lost was outstanding, but I think it lost the way once the girl wasn’t narrating. I’m really hoping that she has solved that small problem with her new book and that it is outstanding all the way through. She is such a talented author that I’m sure she is capable of great things.

  24. Beth F says:

    I have the Fforde here — waiting to be read very soon.

  25. Ahhh! There are so many books on that list that I’m tempted to read now, including the Pullman, the David Mitchell (agree with you about the Booker thing, by the way), and the McEwan.

    As far as I remember, we shared the same opinion on What Was Lost, so, while I’m tempted to read her new book, I won’t be going out of my way to find it.

    Roll on 2010.

  26. Jenners says:

    Well, now I’m looking forward to the Lionel Shriver book and the Yann Martel book! Thanks for the info!

  27. What a great list – I’m looking forward to digging into some of these right away!

  28. Victoria says:

    Oooh new David Mitchell is always something to look forward to. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Naomi Alderman’s new book, The Lessons, in April. Her first novel Disobedience was one of my favourite reads of the Noughties. :-) But can 2010 possibly top 2009? There seem to have been so many wonderful books this year.

  29. Yvonne says:

    I don’t know about 2010, too many great new titles / authors to choose from. For myself, I’m looking forward to early 2011 and a new Swedish author, Lars Kepler, to hit the shelves. His new character is called Detective Inspector Joona Linna and the book titled ‘The Hypnotist’.


  1. The Best Books of 2010? Part 2: Debut/Lesser Known Authors – Farm Lane Books Blog
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