When I first read this question on the 30 Days of Books list, I thought “Hrrrmmm… didn’t I already post this in some ‘2010 Favorites’ post?” And the surprising answer is that I didn’t. Well then here we go.
Day 01 – Best book you read last year
2010 was a good year reading-wise for me – 35 books with a number of very good ones. (I actually credit Goodreads and the ease of finding friends’ favorites for improving the quality of selections over the past year or so). But anyone that paid attention to the end of year voting for Kelly’s pop culture award – The Sammies – knows that I lobbied pretty vociferously for one book: Kraken by China Mieville.
My original review is here so I won’t go into specifics other than to say this story of an unsuspecting museum curator attempting to stave off an apocalypse was the most original fantasy book that I’ve read in a long time. Kraken turns your expectations on their ear and Mieville’s control of language is extraordinary. Kraken will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was the best book that I read in 2010.
Now, in a review sense, I am pretty stingy with that fifth star. To me, a good book gets three, a very good book gets four, and a truly exceptional book gets five. Because I only read two five-star books last year, I thought I’d mention the other as well.
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin was an original mixture of murder mystery and ghost story set on a lonely Swedish island. Theorin uses the same venue as his also-very-good mystery Echoes from the Dead. In The Darkest Room, a young family moves into a (presumably) haunted lighthouse and the wife mysteriously dies. What follows is a solid mystery, with an absolutely less-is-more creepy ghost story.