The Best of 2010

It’s New Year’s Eve and that means I like to look back at this blog and first count up how many books I read this year, and then pick out my top 10.  This year I read 57 books. That doesn’t seem like a very high number to me, but it does equal more than one a week which is more than many people read, so I guess I’m doing alright.  As for top 10, well I’ve really got a top 15.  And by “of 2010” I mean that they are books I read in 2010, they don’t necessarily have a publication date of 2010 (though, in fact, most of them do.)  Here’s my very scientific method for choosing my best-first the few books that I automatically remembered  went on the list. Then I looked through the list of posts for this year and chose any book that was something I immediately remembered vividly, something that had an emotional impact on me, something I thought was great. Here are my best remembered, most favorite, books I most often said “you have to read this!” about, books I am still thinking about months later, books of 2010.

Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.–this reminds me I want to read his other things. This wasn’t the most fun book I read this year, but it really stood out to me as a well written book that gripped me and gave me a lot to think about it. (Original post here)

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling–wow did this book ever stick with me (and introduce me to a whole world of people who are into these). I can’t wait to read the rest in the series. And by the Lord and Lady, I will! (Original post here)

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (YA)–beautifully put together, a book that has playlists built into it, and all around awesome road trip journey novel (Original post here)

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (YA)–rich and realistic, historical and present day, I thought this was an amazing book and intense story.  Made the French Revolution vivid and heartbreaking. (Original post here)

Candymakers by Wendy Mass (YA)–I will recommend this to every child, teen, and adult I can. Maybe the most fun book I’ve read this year. With a nod to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the rest is all original and creative, and the book is put together in a wonderful way, with each section at once repeating and building upon the story. (Original post here)

Machine of Death (anthology)–I’ve passed this around, gifted it last week for Christmas, and am still thinking about it.  I came to it via a sewing blog (!) The concept (machine tells you how you will die) is taken by many different authors and written about in such different ways. A super solid collection with a fascinating premise at its core. (Original post here)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins–this has to be on the list for anyone who has been following the Hunger Games trilogy.  I personally did not think this much anticipated conclusion disappointed in the least.  I found it full of excitement, as well as very moving. (Original post here)

One Day by David Nicholls–engrossing, heart breaking, real, funny, all around great book.  I worry it’s being overshadowed by the fact that the movie version was already being filmed as this was starting to be widely read. The characterization in this book is fantastic. (Original post here)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett–I’m late to the party on this one. You know I’m not wild about liking Oprah type, nationally popular books, but as they say, sometimes there’s a reason something is popular. It’s just a flat out really good story, and it is told very, very well. The novel captured my imagination and my curiosity about history and sociology. It made indignant and outraged, and also very judgmental. (Original post here)

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall–Another popular one (this made the top of the EW list for the year) This book was huge and took me forever to read, but it was worth it.  With 28 children and a bunch of wives, there are a lot of characters in this book.  Most of them are very vivid and clear, and none more so than Golden, the polygamist protagonist himself.  My feelings really changed back and forth about Golden, but I always felt very invested in him and the story.  An everyman hero? Not really, but I went from thinking of him as a weak little man to a big man with a big heart, big family, and big destiny. (Original post here)

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick (YA)–This gets chosen because I can still recall the emotional impact it had on me, all my crying, and how I thought for days it was so awesome.  I don’t remember the feisty main character’s name but wow does she have a shitty life.  And yet-moments of funny laughter and warmth. (Original post here)

Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald–The premise of this was so awesome. And then it was just bizarre and creepy that it was based on something that actually existed-a practice baby raised by home economics students.  That baby is Henry and the story follows how he turns out.  Sociologically riveting, fictionally engrossing, impressively written. (Original post here)

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist–another novel I recall immediately needing to discuss with someone. I love weird future books where people are living in a dystopia and people without “value” have to donate organs, etc.  This was stunninng structured. (Original post here)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson–charming, charming, charming, just one of the more delightful books I read this year. Not heavy hitting, heavy emotion, just all around good. (Original post here)

Admission by Jean Korelitz–a little late to the party on this one, too. Absolutely fantastic book.  I loved the details of the admission process, but the story is also really great and not just a vehicle for a behind the scenes look at getting into Ivy League schools. (Original post here)

Truly, Madly/Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber–I’m going to give a runner up to these two books.  Sure they are paperback romances but I was really really taken with both of them-the character is not a ding dong, the supernatural element is vital but not totally crazy and weird, and the non romance parts were not just filler, but really good story. (Original posts here and here)

And you know what? How about one more runner up for Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth? Loved it. Fast action, secret details of Washington, D.C. and the adventure that comes with being…the President’s Vampire. Thought about it the whole time I was in D.C. this summer. One of the most “fun” books I read this year. (Original post here)

There you have it! Wishing you a happy new year filled with great reads!
Happy Reading, Sarah


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