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.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Mal Peet dead at 67: Tributes to children's author who was 'universally adored'
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'