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Best Books of 2010

Best Books of 2010 - Compiling a list of best books of the year always turns me into an optimist - though lamentations for the decline of literacy are widespread, every year certain authors keep producing books that are better researched, more insightful and more readable than ever before.

For this list of the best books of 2010, I have relied on nominations from regular Seattle Times reviewers (and reserved a couple for myself). Their names follow each recommendation, and the words of praise that follow are, for the most part, theirs. I'm grateful for the work they do year-round to bring notice of good books to Seattle Times readers - I couldn't do it without them.

Best Books of 2010

-FICTION:

"Compass Rose" by John Casey (Knopf). A fitting sequel to "Spartina," winner of a National Book Award. Casey can write about women, be they wives, mothers, daughters or lovers, better than anyone since Reynolds Price wrote "Kate Vaiden." Rhode Island commercial fisherman Dick Pierce and Elsie Buttrick form the centerpiece of this tale of an insular community, the interconnected lives of all who live there and the hurricanes they live with, internal and external. - Valerie Ryan

"A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan (Knopf). Harrowing, funny and imaginative, this novel explores the world of a has-been music producer and assorted cohorts who are overwhelmed by time, change and age - all told through Egan's inimitable and protean voice. - Melinda Bargreen

Best Books of 2010

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