Andrew Osborne’s Best of 2010: Books

As with music, the following weren’t all necessarily published in 2010, but they WERE my favorite books of the year…

1. Blood’s A Rover by James Ellroy — Wikipedia tells me this one came out in 2009, which sounds about right, considering how long I’ve been reading the latest tome in Ellroy’s secret evil history of the United States. Not that it’s a tough slog: the text is all jazzy staccato, and there’s sex, murder, voodoo (or all three) on nearly every page. But considering The Cold Six Thousand came out way back in 2001 and Blood’s the third book in the “Underworld USA” trilogy, I’m making this one last as long as possible (although I’d love to see the series continue forward into the skullduggery of the Reagan-Bush era)!

2. Innocent When You Dream, edited by Mac Montandon — From first-hand experience, I can tell you this career-spanning collection of Tom Waits interviews makes the ideal traveling companion for strangers in strange lands and shitty motels.

3. The Men Who Would Be King, Nicole LaPorte — I never grow tired of dishy show biz insider books, and this tale of the rise and (kinda) fall of DreamWorks serves as an excellent quasi-sequel to Kim Masters’ Keys to the Kingdom, picking up the story of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s protracted pissing match with Michael Eisner in a deeply satisfying page-turner about the endless misery of every single person in Hollywood.

4. Role Models by John Waters — To be honest, the Prince of Puke hasn’t really evolved much as a director, but he’s always been a helluva writer, and this wide-ranging collection of essays on his influences — from Johnny Mathis to rough trade porn — is alternately sober and hilarious as he examines and reevaluates his youthful obsessions from a twilight perspective.

5. Wilson by Dan Clowes & Other Lives by Peter Bagge — Shades of their 1990s Hateball tour, two of my favorite funny book artists were both in fine form this year with grimly humorous stand-alone graphic novels about miserable malcontents screwing up family reunions and Second Life respectively. Rapture.

Honorable Mention:
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
The Wire: Truth Be Told, Rafael Alvarez & David Simon
My Horizontal Life, Chelsea Handler
Moonlight Mile, Dennis Lehane

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