Books of the year 2010 | Leo Robson

Star: the Life and Wild Times of Warren Beatty by Peter Biskind

My reading year began with a tale of talent thwarted by egomania, Peter Biskind's addictive Star: the Life and Wild Times of Warren Beatty (Simon & Schuster, £17.99). It has ended with two extraordinary tales of genius fulfilled - Saul Bellow: Letters (Penguin, £30) and Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory (Stanford University Press, £29.95) by the philosopher Stanley Cavell. In between, I was amazed, though not surprised to be amazed, by two books of criticism - Christopher Ricks's True Friendship (Yale University Press, £16.99) and Michael Wood's Yeats and Violence (Oxford University Press, £18.99). Of this year's novels, I most admired two exercises in playing with history: E L Doctorow's mournful and beguiling Homer and Langley (Little, Brown, £11.99) and Ned Beauman's deranged and delicious Boxer, Beetle (Sceptre, £12.99).

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This article first appeared in the 22 November 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Advantage Cameron