These sorts of lists are really pointless. I look at the lists from others – lists of books, lists of movies, lists of albums or songs – and I rarely agree with them. Hell, in the Rolling Stone‘s lists I don’t even know who most of the singers are – but then I’m now in my 60s and never was very hip…
But they are a way to look back on what you read and to see what stood up to time. Books that may’ve been on my Best of the Year some time ago don’t hold up to others that were also on one of the lists.
Then, too, it is often impossible to tease out one title from ten years of a favorite author’s books. So I’ll cheat and include some authors whose title really stands in for the entire decade’s worth of books.
And then it is also the case that favorite authors don’t appear on the list because the book of theirs that you really loved was before 2010. That’s the case with Winslow, O’Connell, Estleman, Kerr, Lehane, and Ellroy for instance.
In typing this out I noticed a gap in the center of the decade where no books are listed. That could’ve been an effect of our battles to save the shop and how that colored my enjoyment of what I was reading, and that I did a lot of re-reading of old favorites for comfort.
So, by year published:
2011: Urban Waite, Terror of Living
2011: Peter Spiegelman, Thick as Thieves
2011: Craig Johnson, Hell is Empty
2012: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
2012: Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins
2013: James Lee Burke, Light of the World (would’ve been the perfect end to the series)
2013: Roger Hobbs, Ghost Man
2019: John Connolly, A Book of Bones (but, really, each book is just a chapter of a greater story)
2019: Mike Lawson, House Arrest (stands in for a consistent decade of great works)
Then a few non-fiction titles –
2011: Bill James, True Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence
2015: Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
2019: Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Last thought – I don’t have a Best Book of the Decade. Guess I don’t think like that any more!