I read eighty-six books this year and here are ten that I'd recommend--there were more, of course, but ten seems reasonable. I decided not to include re-reads or books by my friends that I've already talked about on the blog.
All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones. Like Alice Munro, Jones can pack a novel into a story's length. Spare prose and luminous lives.
Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout. A wonderful, poignant, and insightful novel that deals with relgion without the syrup.
Collected Stories by Amy Hempel. Brilliant stories full of wit and intelligence; Hempel writes sentences you'd kill for.
A Miracle of Catfish by Larry Brown. Larry's unfinished symphony, and Larry infinished is better than almost everyone else done.
The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dwyer. A book-length essay on photography and photographers tracing similar images and themes.
The Long Exile by Melanie McGrath. The story of the forced exile of Inuit families to remote Ellesmere Island.
Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg. I love short stories, as you see, and these are breathtaking.
Gumbo Tales by Sara Roahan. This one isn't out yet--if you love food, New Orleans style, and fabulous writing, buy this.
The Artful Edit by Susan Bell. Every fiction writer ought to have this book on the desk with the dictionary and the thesaurus.
The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje. A revelation--two brilliant guys talk about movies and stories and all that connects.