2010 retrospective 3: my top reads of the year

I have been slack in the book reviewing department, having posted on just some of what I have read. But then I read around 5 or 6 books every week!

You can follow the best of tag to see what has really taken my fancy.  I did pick a winner earlier this year with Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy. A March choice, Justin Sheedy’s delightful Goodbye Crackernight, delivered me a new Facebook friend – the author.

I really should add two recent reads.

smiley-happy005smiley-happy005[6]smiley-happy005[8]smiley-happy005[10]smiley-happy005[12]Sadakat Kadri, The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O.J. Simpson (2005).

For as long as accuser and accused have faced each other in public, criminal trials have been establishing more than who did what to whom, and in The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O.J. Simpson, Sadakat Kadri explores just what humanity has spent the last four thousand years trying to prove. Published by HarperCollins in the United Kingdomand Random House in the United States, The Trial situates today’s judicial circuses and moral panics squarely within the history of fear, superstition and idealism that brought them into being.

The Trial was shortlisted by the U.K. Crime Writers Association for its Gold Dagger Award for Non-Fiction in 2005, and Sadakat Kadri’s book was one of three included in the almanac of exemplary legal writing published by the Green Bag law journal in January 2006. Translation rights have recently been sold to publishers in China, Taiwan, and Brazil.

smiley-happy005[16]smiley-happy005[18]smiley-happy005[20]smiley-happy005[22]smiley-happy005[24] Alexander McCall Smith, The Double Comfort Safari Club (2009) is, as always with McCall Smith, a delight.

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are called to a safari lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta to carry out a delicate mission on behalf of a former guest.

The Okavango makes Precious appreciate once again the beauty of her homeland: it is a paradise of teeming wildlife, majestic grasslands and sparkling water. However, it is also home to rival safari operators, fearsome crocodiles and disgruntled hippopotamuses. What’s more, Mma Makutsi still does not have a date for her wedding to Phuti Radiphuti and is feeling rather tetchy herself. But Precious knows that with a little patience, just as the wide river will gently make its way round any obstacle, so will everything work out for the best in the end . . .