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Best Books of 2010: Genre Busters

  • Dec 16, 2010
  • by
1
The House of Tomorrow
Is it YA? Is it literary fiction? Is it a history of punk rock cum coming-of-age story? Yes. Yes. Yes. And it is brilliant! I laughed. I very nearly cried. I wanted to force it on everyone who had ever felt like an outcast (and haven't we all?), and I even entertained the idea of building a geodesic dome. Bognanni's narrative voice crackles with authenticity, and his take on the teenage identity crisis is tinged with humor and irony but is not without sympathy and a strong understanding of his characters' humanity.
2
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional
Seriously, people. Go buy a copy. Yu's novel is essentially literary fiction masquerading as meta-ish sci-fi, but you need only the most cursory familiarity with the science fiction canon to appreciate his clever references, and all you need to be able to enjoy the rest of it is a healthy appreciation of incredible, smart, heartbreaking writing. I very nearly didn't read this book because I was intimidated by the title and my acknowledged lack of sci-fi experience, and I just can't tell you how happy I am that I did.
3
Mr. Peanut (Borzoi Books)
This one isn't so much a genre mashup as it is a piece of writing that simply can't be pigeonholed. Ross's multi-layered story, inspired by video games and the artwork of M.C. Escher, loops into and over itself in a twisty-turny thriller that is the hands-down the best bit of skullfuckery I've encountered in a while. Bonus points for one of the best opening lines ever. It's been nearly six months since I read Mr. Peanut, and I haven't been able to shut up about it yet. This one also wins the award of book mentioned on most consecutive episodes of the Bookrageous podcast (meaning: all of them).
4
The Singer's Gun
Immensely recommendable and widely appealing, Mandel's literary thriller is chock full of sentences that are equal parts beautiful, insightful, and provocative. Her exploration of identity, corruption, and compromise is unflinching, and the story is nothing short of a pageturner. Like that mall in "The Blues Brothers," this book has everything.

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December 18, 2010
Fabulous list! I don't know if you're responsible for that wonderful little piece of etymological creativity but "skullfuckery" is a masterful, modern word that is perfectly descriptive. Into my personal lexicon it goes!
December 20, 2010
Wish I could take credit for skullfuckery! I think I heard it first on Twitter, but no idea about the actual originator.
 
December 17, 2010
That's four more on the TBR list LOL...Thanks for an awesome list!
 
1
About the list creator
Rebecca Joines Schinsky ()
Ranked #230
Panty-throwing, book-loving wild woman behind The Book Lady's Blog. Reader, critic, lover of indie bookstores, National Book Critics Circle member.
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