Many of the books on the site are reviewed by the Guest Reviewers, so Wave asked us to come up with our lists of top books for 2010. As you know, Reviews by Jessewave is growing by leaps and bounds, and the number of reviewers is growing right along with it. Some of us are brand-spankin’ new baby reviewers (on this site, at least!) and some have been extra-super-duper busy this past year, so you’ll notice a few only have a couple of items in their lists.
In alphabetical order here are the books rated by Alexi, Buda, Cole, Erastes, Feliz, Jenre, John, Kassa, Leslie, Lily, Lynn, TJ, Val and Victor J. Banis:
Alexi’s Top 3 Books for 2010
Buda’s Top 6 Books for 2010
*Both part of Honorable Silence anthology from MLR Press
Cole’s Top 3 Books for 2010
Erastes’ Top 10 Books for 2010
Feliz’s Top 2 Books for 2010
Jenre’s Top 10 Books for 2010 (In no particular order)
John’s Top 5 Books of 2010
First off, Big THANKS to Wave for letting me review. And for putting up with me when I disappear for weeks at a time.
Kassa’s Top 7 Books for 2010
Leslie’s Top 5 Books for 2010
Lily’s Top 5 Books for 2010
Aunt Lynn’s Top 10 Books for 2010 (in alphabetic order)
Stacey’s Top 2 Books for 2010
TJ’s Top 5 Books for 2010
Val Kovalin’s Top 5 Books for 2010
Victor J. Banis
Hmm, I loved all the stories I reviewed here last year, of course, because I don’t write reviews except of books that I enjoy. And it would be impossible for me to pick one or two winners from among them, since they are all of them, in their individual ways, winners. So, I’ll offer instead some reasons why I think each of these has special merit.
|Match Maker and The Lonely War by Alan Chin — Alan is one of my favorite writers. He always manages to tell an engaging story about real people, and writes with the kind of wisdom that offers the reader enlightenment along with his entertainment. You come away from an Alan Chin tale with just a shade more understanding of the human condition than when you went in.
Counterpoint and Song on the Sand by Ruth Sims — another of my favorite writers, Ruth often skirts the edges of sentimentality without ever falling into the pit. Again, her characters are flesh and blood, which allows the reader to really care what happens to them, and her plots are such that there is always plenty happening.
Memoirs of Colonel Gerard Vreilhac by Anel Viz — a writer new to me, and one with whose writing I immediately fell in love. It is hard to write convincing historical fiction, with enough detail to evoke an earlier era, and not at the same time fall into pedantry, but this writer does it admirably. His novel is both intensely erotic, and admirably literary, not an easy feat to achieve either.
Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia — another writer new to me this year, and I had read no more than a page or two before I was hopelessly charmed. Like the others on my list, Orrantia has the gift of creating believable characters, in this case a huge slate of them; but where this book really shines is in bringing to life an entire village in the Mexican mountains, people who are poor in everything but spirit.
Then there is the review you didn’t read—Holy Communion by Mykola Dementiuk. I wrote it, but you never saw it, because before I got it posted, a virus ate my computer, and I hadn’t backed the file up and I just never got it rewritten. Never mind. I can tell you that Mykola writes a different kind of story from the writers listed above. His stories are street tough, hard hitting, and always verging on genius. This is about a seven year old boy and the week of his confirmation, and is perhaps the most lyrical thing of Dementiuk’s that I have read, but don’t let that fool you into expecting Peter Pan. The book, btw, won a Lambda award last year.
Of course, there are a lot of wonderful books that I missed, writers I have yet to discover, and some old friends that I somehow neglected over the past year, but you needn’t copy my failing. You can’t go wrong with a book by Pat Brown or Josh Lanyon or Neil Plakcy and I can only feel guilty that they aren’t in the list above. In fact, it seems to me as if the genre of gay fiction (or m/m if you prefer) has never been in better shape. Not even in the so-called golden age of gay fiction — the 60s and early 70s — were there so many fine writers producing such an array of good reading. Cause for all of us to celebrate, I’d say.