As promised, here are the top ten books I've read in 2010 (note: books not necessarily released in 2010)...
10. Brief Lives by Chris Price
(Short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays - you name it; NZ, 2006)
What I said in November: "I eventually got around to buying a copy of Brief Lives this year and really, really enjoyed it. Halfway through I was certain it would rocket into my top ten books I read in 2010... It may still make it [obviously it squeezed in], but I didn’t enjoy the big biographical/literary essay at the end of the book, ‘Variable Stars’, as much as I enjoyed the chunks of alphabetically arranged sui generis joy that preceded it. Some read like prose poems, others flash fiction, others short stories. One piece (‘Notebook’) is pure ideas as one may find in a... notebook."
9. A Model World and Other Stories by Michael Chabon
(Short stories, 1991)
What I said in August: "I tried very hard not to like [this book]. The stories were too much like SHORT STORIES. The jacket blurb trumpets how most were previously published in the New Yorker, and they are very much in that mold... By the end of the book, however, I had to concede that I could have asked nothing more. And I wasn’t even in the mood for hard enlightenment or moments of bleak grace!"
8. Room Temperature by Nicholson Baker
What I said in February: "Nicholson Baker’s narrator... takes the minutiae of a day with his baby daughter (cable knit sweaters and nose picking) and gives a kind of life story; in turn illustrating that [with reference to genetic cloning]: “the particular cell you started from colored your entire re-creation.” Room Temperature is both focused and meandering; myopic and exquisitely precise, but also profound and, at times, scatological. Every time I read one of Bakers books (this is numero tres), I leave richer and more wide-eyed."
7. The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
(Novel, NZ, 2008)