My reading this year was all over the map, mixing new books with old, mysteries with history, long works and much shorter ones. Without intention, I seemed to read less mainstream fiction than usual; I’ll have to do a better job of evening things out in 2011.
Of the works I did consume this year, some really stood out. Several of my favorites I wrote about in January’s Best of 2010 package, but others I couldn’t comment on, primarily because I lacked the extra time of late to do so. But with January’s picks all posted now, and ignoring the possibility that I might stumble across some outstanding 2010 release between now and New Year’s Eve, I have listed below my expanded list of the 25 books--fiction and non-fiction--that brought me the most enjoyment over the last dozen months. These are listed alphabetically, not in order of my preferences. Where the book was not released originally in 2010, I have included its date of publication.
• The Anniversary Man, by R.J. Ellory
• The Big Bang, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
• Body Work, by Sara Paretsky
• Cat of Many Tails (1949), by Ellery Queen
• City of Dragons, by Kelli Stanley
• Deadly Communion, by Frank Tallis
• The Death Instinct, by Jed Rubenfeld• The Detective Branch, by Andrew Pepper
• The Detroit Electric Scheme, by D.E. Johnson
• Gone ’til November, by Wallace Stroby
• Infamous, by Ace Atkins
• The Information Officer, by Mark Mills
• Moonlight Mile, by Dennis Lehane
• Owls Don’t Blink (1942), by Erle Stanley Gardner
• Peeler, by Kevin McCarthy
• A Razor Wrapped in Silk, by R.N. Morris
• The Underbelly, by Gary Phillips
• Unholy Awakening, by Michael Gregorio
• Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, by James Swanson
• Mark Twain: Man in White--The Grand Adventure of His Final Years,
by Michael Shelden
by Michael Shelden
• Monk Eastman: The Gangster Who Became a War Hero, by Neil Hanson
• Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910, by Jeffrey H. Jackson
• The Promise: President Obama, Year One, by Jonathan Alter
Judging from the catalogues that have made their way to my mailbox thus far, there will be plenty of interesting reading choices available in 2011, both for folks who read primarily crime fiction and others, like me, who claim more omnivorous reading habits.
One final matter before 2010 breathes its last. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to The Rap Sheet over the last year, both this blog’s energetic regular contributors and the guest wordsmiths who’ve enriched our Books You Have to Read series about forgotten works worth discovering. I couldn’t possibly carry the load of keeping up The Rap Sheet by myself, nor would I wish to do so. It’s the diversity of voices that keeps this humble page lively and interesting. I look forward to continuing my association in 2011 with the contributors I’ve depended on since The Rap Sheet launched in May 2006, and hearing from others who might like to add to our mix.
In order to enjoy this festive season (and it’s about time we did), The Rap Sheet is signing off for a bit. Unless something monumental takes place in the interim, we will let our computers rest and instead concentrate on wrapping paper, family get-togethers, and vessels of celebratory ale, with the plan to return to business early next week.
Happy holidays, everyone.