The Best Books of 2010

The New York Times Book Review picks out its favorites
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2010 12:00 PM CST
The Best Books of 2010
The cover of Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom."   (Barnes and Noble)

The year's coming to a close and you know what that means: Best-of lists! The New York Times Book Review kicks things off with a list of the year's top books. Including:


  • Freedom, Jonathan Franzen—“Even richer and deeper” than The Corrections, this Bush-era Midwestern family saga perfectly reflects the “story of millennial America.”
  • Room, Emma Donoghue—“Donoghue has created one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction” with this arresting tale, told by a child narrator who’s trapped with his mother in an 11-by-11-foot room.
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan—This “virtuosic rock ‘n’ roll novel,” follows 13 different characters across some 40 years, yet combines their stories “into an artful whole, irradiated by a Proustian feel for loss, regret and the ravages of love.”


  • Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff—“Schiff strips away 2,000 years of prejudices and propaganda” about Egypt’s most famous queen, “who even in her own day, was mythologized and misrepresented.”
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee—An oncologist provides a “magisterial” history of the war on cancer, and the "sometimes heroic, sometimes misguided scientists who have preceded him.”
  • Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, Stephen Sondheim—The songwriting genius doesn’t disappoint with insightful, funny and candid stories about his greatest hits.
(More book reviews stories.)

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