Here are the best books I read in 2010, most of which weren’t published in 2010.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick: Probably the greatest novel I’ve ever read. I hope to someday find words to write more adequately about it.
Philip Hoare, The Whale: A social and natural history of man’s dealings with whales. This is the book that convinced me to read Melville.
Andrew Delbanco, Melville: His World and Work: A compulsively readable intellectual and social biography of Melville.
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read James’s classic work. Some amazing first-person accounts of religious experience. And James introduces some of his most important and indispensible concepts here.
Margaret Atwood, Oryx & Crake; The Year of the Flood: The first two books in a projected dystopian trilogy about a world of bioengineering run amok, economic inequality, and environmental degradation. Atwood’s knack for humor and for coining near-futuristic lingo lightens a fairly grim storyline.
Clark Williamson, A Guest in the House of Israel: A critique of Christian anti-Judaism and supersessionism and an attempted theological reconstruction.
Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal: Lucidly argues that the causes of (and solutions to) economic inequality in America are rooted in political choices, not the inexorable laws of economics.
Jonathan Safran-Foer, Eating Animals: Deconstruction of factory-farming written with a novelist’s flair.
C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism: Lewis argues that good books are those that allow, invite, or compel good reading.
Robert MacSwain and Michael Ward (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis: A welcome reminder that Lewis is much more interesting and complex than his uncritical admirers or detractors realize.