We all had to read things in school that we didn’t like … but what about something you read for a class that you ended up liking (or loving)? An author you discovered that you might not have found? A genre you hadn’t thought about?
As an English major, I read a lot; I was just thinking the other day how my life is essentially composed of reading, which delights me to no end. Over the years, I’ve read some stuff that I ended up hating and stuff that I knew I’d love, but I think the biggest and best surprise I’ve gotten out of a syllabus is Nothing Like the Sun. I read it in my Race in Shakespeare class, having never read Burgess before, and it absolutely blew me away.
It’s the last Sunday in 2010, so you know what that means—it’s time for my annual top ten list, taken from the books I’ve read this year, not books only published this year. (I don’t think I’ve even read ten books that were published in 2010.) Here’s last year’s, if you’re so inclined. I have to admit, having an entire year to pull from (as opposed to last year, when I had about four months’ worth of sparser reviews to pick through) made things a bit difficult; there some books I wanted to include, but ultimately ended up deciding against. If you’re interested in what I left off the list, feel free to rifle through the 5 and 4.5 Stars subcategories under Ratings. That said, let’s dig in.
Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess
Naturally, in my Race in Shakespeare class, we read a lot of plays, but there is one novel on the syllabus–Anthony Burgess’ Nothing Like the Sun. When I came back from fall break and realized I hadn’t even started it yet (it was either that or my economics textbook, people!), I picked it up without much ceremony or knowing much about it–I knew Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange, which I’ll probably never read, and that it, in some fashion, dealt with race and Shakespeare. I was in for a lovely surprise.