100 Notable Books of 2010

The New York Times releases it’s annual list of their 100 notable books.  These are the ten books that sound most intriguing to me (and omitting the obvious ones like Franzen’s Freedom, or Steig Larssen’s The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, etc.):

  • THE ASK. By Sam Lipsyte. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) A deeply cynical academic fund-raiser fighting for his job is the protagonist of this darkly humorous satire, a witty paean to white-collar loserdom.
  • ILUSTRADO. By Miguel Syjuco. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) A murder mystery punctuated with serious philosophical musings, this novel traces 150 years of Filipino history, posing questions about identity and art, exile and duty.
  • THE IMPERFECTIONISTS. By Tom Rachman. (Dial, $25.) This intricate novel is built around the personal stories of staff members at an improbable English-language newspaper in Rome, and of the family who founded it in the 1950s.
  • MR. PEANUT. By Adam Ross. (Knopf, $25.95.) In this daring first novel, a computer game designer suspected of murdering his obese wife is investigated by two marriage-savvy detectives, one of whom is Dr. Sam Sheppard.
  • APOLLO’S ANGELS: A History of Ballet. By Jennifer Homans. (Random House, $35.) The question of classical ballet’s very survival lies at the heart of this eloquent, truly definitive history, which traces dance across four centuries of wars and revolutions, both artistic and political.
  • THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES: A Biography of Cancer. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. (Scribner, $30.) Mukherjee’s powerful and ambitious history of cancer and its treatment is an epic story he seems compelled to tell, like a young priest writing a biography of Satan.
  • FOUR FISH: The Future of the Last Wild Food. By Paul Greenberg. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) Even as Greenberg lays out the grim and complicated facts about the ravaging of our seas, he manages to sound some hopeful notes about the ultimate fate of fish.
  • THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS.By Rebecca Skloot. (Crown, $26.) Skloot untangles the ethical issues in the case of a woman who unknowingly donated cancer cells that have been the basis for a vast amount of research.

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