The Best Books of 2010
The New York Times Book Review picks out its favorites
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2010 12:00 PM CST
The cover of Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom."   (Barnes and Noble)
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(Newser) – The year's coming to a close and you know what that means: Best-of lists! The New York Times Book Review kicks things off with a list of the year's top books. Including:


  • Freedom, Jonathan Franzen—“Even richer and deeper” than The Corrections, this Bush-era Midwestern family saga perfectly reflects the “story of millennial America.”
  • Room, Emma Donoghue—“Donoghue has created one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction” with this arresting tale, told by a child narrator who’s trapped with his mother in an 11-by-11-foot room.
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan—This “virtuosic rock ‘n’ roll novel,” follows 13 different characters across some 40 years, yet combines their stories “into an artful whole, irradiated by a Proustian feel for loss, regret and the ravages of love.”


  • Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff—“Schiff strips away 2,000 years of prejudices and propaganda” about Egypt’s most famous queen, “who even in her own day, was mythologized and misrepresented.”
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee—An oncologist provides a “magisterial” history of the war on cancer, and the "sometimes heroic, sometimes misguided scientists who have preceded him.”
  • Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, Stephen Sondheim—The songwriting genius doesn’t disappoint with insightful, funny and candid stories about his greatest hits.