The Year in Review: Best books of 2010
Friday 24 December 2010
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Three London friends come to terms with their various losses and meet to wrangle, wittily and touchingly, over the deepest questions of belonging and identity. This year's Man Booker winner finds bold and wrenching humour within its solemn themes. However adept at all the skills of comedy, and however immersed in ideas of Jewishness, this novel bristles with a passion and zest that defy all label-stickers.
Life by Keith Richards
So much could have gone wrong with this landmark memoir of wayward rock'n'roll excess and musical artistry. Yet Keith keeps the show on the road with inimitable cool. Aided by co-author James Fox, but with his own sardonic voice well to the fore, the Rolling Stone has raised the bar for this often tawdry genre, and written lasting lyrics for the soundtrack of our age.
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Stretching over 30 years, but confined to a few Istanbul neighbourhoods, Pamuk's epic novel makes grandeur out of intimacy. A scandalous affair and its long aftermath lets Turkey's Nobel laureate – with the help of his brilliant translator, Maureen Freely – tell the story of his beloved city as it mourns a glorious past and stumbles into a messy modernity.
A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
Like the British Museum itself, whose wonders fill its gorgeously designed pages, this guide to humanity's material culture gathers the world into one place. Top-quality photography and production values, and the museum's director's learned but companionable style, mark the project's triumphant transition from radio to print as the human family shows its treasures from Mexico to China, and Scotland to Sudan.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Nagasaki 1800: a fragile Dutch trading post on the fringe of Japan's closed empire becomes the site for a culture-clash imbroglio staged with skill and charm by the master storyteller of current British fiction. As young Jacob falls for a Japanese midwife from a fearsome clan, Mitchell writes with unflagging edge and dash. But this dazzling virtuosity never feels cold, and heart always guides hand.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
One Direction fans set up crowdfunding page to buy the band after Zayn Malik quits
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC suspension
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First