Books and audios of 2010, reviewed

I read 278 books in 2010, counting the ten volumes of the Bloody Sunday Report as a single work (and I seem to have mislaid another book somewhere in my counting). This is down a bit from 2009’s 346 and 2008’s 374, mainly because I’ve been watching a 25-minute episode of Doctor Who every day, usually on my commute, and then writing it up. (Total page count however is down only to about 91,000 from 100,000, so in 2009, so I’ve been reading longer books.) 65 (23%) were by women (20% in 2009, 12% in 2008) and 24 (9%) by people of colour (5% in 2009, 2% in 2008) so I feel I am getting a little more diverse. 25 (9%) were rereads (11% in 2009).


Total 66 (24%); about the same as 2009 (26%) and up from 2008 (19%).

Top non-fiction book of the year:
The Bloody Sunday Report, whose 5000 pages I read over the course of late June, July and early August. A tremendous and necessary enterprise.

Also excellent in category:
Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction
Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (vols 1 and 2 of the original, vol 1 of the Penguin edition)
Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook, Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter
Thomas More, Utopia

Fiction (other than SF)

Total 50 (18%), same as 2009 (also 18%), very much up from 2008’s 7%.

Top non-genre book of the year:
Tove Jansson’s Fair Play. This may not be completely fair, as it is the freshest in my mind; certainly all the others blew me away when I read them.

Also excellent in category:
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
James Joyce, The Dubliners
Nevil Shute, A Town Like Alice
Leifur Eiricksson, Njal’s Saga

SF (other than Doctor Who)

Total 73 (26%), up from 23% in 2009 and 19% in 2008

Top sf book of the year:
Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House

Also excellent and read for the first time:
Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men
Ursula K. Le Guin’s Lavinia
Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cryoburn
Chris Beckett, The Turing Test (short story collection)


18 (6%), though that goes up to 21 (8%) counting the Doctor Who comics, which would be the same as last year and well up from 2009’s 2%.

Top comic / graphic novel of the year
I voted without hesitation for Neil Gaiman’s Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? for the Hugo. It didn’t win.

Other comics / graphic novels particularly enjoyed:
Charles Burns, Black Hole
Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim vols 1, 2 and especially 4 (less so 3 and 5 though still good)
Fumi Yoshinaga, Ooku: The Inner Chamber, Volume 1
Keiko Tobe, With the Light… Vol. 3
Gareth Roberts, The Betrothal of Sontar (Tenth Doctor)
Justin Richards, The Only Good Dalek (Eleventh Doctor)

Doctor Who (books and audiobooks)

Total 71 (26%) counting three comics, up a tad from 2009’s 70 (19%), but nowhere near 2008’s *cough* 177 (47%).

Top Doctor Who (audio)book of the year:
James Goss, Dead Air (audiobook); the very last Tenth Doctor story to be released.

Other decent efforts in the Whoniverse:
Best 11th Doctor story (other than the ones on TV): Stephen Cole, Ring of Steel
Best New Series Adventure: Dale Smith, The Many Hands
Best EDA: John Peel, Legacy of the Daleks
Best Virgin New Adventure: Mark Gatiss, Nightshade
Best Missing/Past Doctor Adventure: Jonathan Morris, Festival of Death
Best Doctor Who annual: 1971
Best other Whoniverse story: Joseph Lidster, In the Shadows (Torchwood audiobook)

Best audios:
Tough choice between Solitaire (Companion Chronicle with the Eighth Doctor companion Charley Pollard, and the Celestial Toymaker) and Legend of the Cybermen (end of the Sixth Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon trilogy, also bringing back Zoe).

Other good Big Finish audios:
I liked a lot of the BF main sequence this year, especially the Seventh Doctor stories A Thousand Tiny Wings, Project: Destiny and A Death in the Family, and the Fifth Doctor stories Cobwebs and Cradle of the Snake. Apart from Solitaire, mentioned above, I also liked A Town Called Fortune in the Companion Chronicles range.

I was less impressed by the revival of the ‘lost’ Sixth Doctor stories; the only one I felt was much good was Brian Finch’s Leviathan which was also the only one not originally written for the Sixth Doctor (or indeed for television). Likewise the year’s Eighth Doctor stories only really grabbed me with their conclusion, The Resurrection of Mars.

But I was delighted both with the first series of Jago & Litefoot and with the dramatisation of Moris Farhi’s lost First Doctor stories.

Best non-Big Finish audio:
Aliens in the Mind.

Most read author of the year: Ian Rankin (7 books) unless you count the ten volumes by Lord Savile of Newdigate and his colleagues. Also-rans in this category: Lois McMaster Bujold, Justin Richards and Brian Lee O’Malley with 5 each. (2009: William ShakespeareTerrance DicksIan MarterCharles Stross.)

Book of the year:
Certainly the one I spent longest reading, and wrote and thought most about: The Bloody Sunday Report.

Least favourite book of the year (that I actually finished):
Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV, by Brian J. Robb

One thought on “Books and audios of 2010, reviewed

  1. I think it’s a rather good test in terms of how people will operate as local representatives on local issues. #2 would get my vote. Please tell me that is not Vlaams Blok.

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