The New Statesman: Books of the Year (an Abbreviated List)

Books of 2010, recommended by contributors to the British politics & culture magazine, the New Statesman:

  • Recommended by Fatima Bhutto:   Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night, “a courageous and necessary book on Kashmir”
  • Recommended by Lesley Chamberlain:   Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo trilogy, for “absolutely no metaphors, and no gratuitous description of character”
  • Recommended by Amanda Craig:   Ben MacIntyre’s Operation Mincemeat, about “the true story behind the plot to make Hitler believe, by means of papers planted on a corpse, that the Allies were going to invade Greece rather than Sicily”
  • Recommended by Amanda Foreman:   Antony Beevor’s D-Day, “vivid and visceral”
  • Recommended by John Gray:   Frank Dicotter’s Mao’s Great Famine:  the History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958 – 62, “the first study of the famine to be based on the internal archives of the Communist Party of China”
  • Recommended by Olivia Laing:   Under the Sun:  the Letters of Bruce Chatwin, which portrays Chatwin as “a glittering, peripatetic figure, darting around the globe in pursuit of rare objects and experiences … “
  • Recommended by Toby Litt:   Cheever:  A Life, “a sobering read”
  • Recommended by Tom McCarthy:   “Go and take an MA in Comparative 20th Century Literature.”
  • Recommended by Julie Myerson:   Rupert Thomson’s family memoir, This Party’s Got to Stop
  • Recommended by Jonathan Powell:   Andrew Graham-Dixon’s Caravaggio:  A Life Sacred and Profane, about the man who found “time to invent a completely new form of painting,” along with “much whoring, gambling and fighting”
  • Recommended by Leo Robson:   Peter Biskind’s Star:  The Life and Wild Times of Warren Beatty, “a tale of talent thwarted by egomania”
  • Recommended by Dominic Sandbrook:   Tim Pears’s novel Landed, “the story of a bereaved man adrift in modern Britain”
  • Recommended by Sarah Sands:   Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, “a portrait of a marriage, luminously and wittily drawn against a backdrop of modern America”
  • Recommended by Michael Sayeau:   David Shields’s Reality Hunger:  A Manifesto, “a refreshing reopening of the question of what it is that we do, should be doing, when we write fiction … “
  • Recommended by Adam Thirlwell:   the Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s Animalinside, translated by Otilie Mulzet, a book that Colm Toibin says, in his preface, “is concerned with limits, with what can happen if language is pushed further than its own decorous rules might suggest”

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