7 Books You Might Have Missed in 2010

Sleeper Reads

birdology book!

You tore through the Stieg Larsson trilogy and devoured Franzen’s Freedom. Here are a few worthy books you might have missed.

We read an excerpt of this book while flying (how fitting) and bought it upon landing. The subtitle — Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur — just about sums it up. The writing is great, and it’s flocking hilarious.

Where Men Win Glory
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild, Under the Banner of Heaven) tells the remarkable tale of Pat Tillman, an NFL player who walked away from a multimillion dollar contract to join the Army and eventually fell to friendly fire. Beneath the military jargon is an important story about an honorable man and his family’s devotion to honoring his memory.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
Rob Sheffield’s second memoir (a kind of prequel to Love Is a Mix Tape) takes us back to a time when guys played “A View to a Kill” to us over the (wall-mounted) telephone. It’s an entertaining account of a teenage boy trying to understand girls in leg warmers.

Inspired by the horrible case of an Austrian man who kept his daughter in a basement for 24 years and told from the perspective of a 5-year-old boy who has never been outside a single room, the novel grabbed us (and critics) by the collar. The less you know about the plot, the better.

So Much for That
We Need to Talk About Kevin shook us to the bones, and The Post-Birthday World still has us thinking. Which is why we are excited about Lionel Shriver’s latest. It explores the effects of catastrophic illness on marriage and bank accounts — and gets our existential juices flowing.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home
Our friends are our wealth, and Gail Caldwell’s homage to her bestie, author Caroline Knapp (Drinking: a Love Story), is worth its weight in gold. The two met in the ’90s and quickly bonded over dogs, sobriety, and writing. It’s is a moving memoir for anyone with a BFF.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Debut author Rebecca Skloot did one hell of a job reporting the true story of a black woman who died in 1951 and whose stolen cancer cells became the basis for much of modern science. In researching the book, Skloot helps Lacks’s family uncover the truth about what happened.

Photo: Courtesy of Free Press