10 Great, New Books That Didn’t Make the Times’ Best of 2010 List

Although it doesn’t come out in print until Sunday, The New York Times has posted its yearly “100 Notable Books” list online. And while it’s got most of the big names — Ian McEwan, Nicole Krauss, Zadie Smith, and, of course, the literary novel’s pop-culture poster boy, Jonathan Franzen — we couldn’t help but notice how many of our favorite new novels and non-fiction books were left out. After the jump, we right the Times‘ wrongs in a list of 10 more books from 2010 that you need to read, from the tale of an Irish prep school to a handful of excellent memoirs to the real story of riot grrrl.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Although it’s set at a boarding school, Skippy Dies bears no resemblance to the recent touchstones of the genre: PrepHarry Potter, etc. Instead, it’s a thick and vital tragi-comic novel set at an Irish academy run by a faculty of Jesuits whose extinction is imminent. All of the multiple story lines are engrossing, from a nerd’s courtship of a popular girl to a pair of troublemakers’ adventures in small-time drug dealing to a young teacher’s flirtations with infidelity. Murray’s novel is also expansive, tackling everything from M-theory and the mysteries of the universe to the great embarrassment of human sexuality — two concepts that, in Skippy Dies, converge more often and more believably than you’d expect.