A while ago I was tagged on Facebook to list my top ten books read in 2010. I didn’t answer, because 1-it was December and I couldn’t think clearly, and 2-while I read a lot, I usually forget what I read (I know. I should be on Goodreads. Or do a book review blog. But I don’t.), and 3-any list I thought of was heavily weight towards books that I read recently (see #2, bad memory).
With all those caveats, and hoping we’re not too far into 2011 to be talking about 2010, here’s a list of ten books I read and enjoyed in 2010. Not necessarily the top ten, but books that have stuck with me long enough that I can still post about them now. They are not in order. You’ll notice that it skews toward speculative and YA fiction, which are my favorite genres. Have you read any of the same ones, and what did you think?
1-In the Company of Angels, David Farland. This is an honest and powerful look at the Willie Handcart Company. I think its honesty (real, but redemptive) should be a model for all future LDS historical fiction.
2-I Am Not a Serial Killer and Mr. Monster, Dan Wells. I’m including two books here, both of which are written from the point of view of a sociopath teen trying to tame his inner serial killer, even when it becomes necessary to let the killer loose. They are creepy and haunting and quite compelling.
3-The Chosen One, Carol Lynch Williams. Beautiful, spare writing about a thirteen-year-old girl in a polygamous compound being forced to marry her uncle. Of all the 2009 Whitney finalists, this one had the most powerful writing.
4-How I Killed Pluto, and Why it Had it Coming, by Mike Brown. Mike Brown is the guy who killed Pluto, meaning the one who discovered enough large objects that it became clear Pluto could no longer be a planet. I got this for my astronomy-loving husband, but it was fascinating to me as well. I also recommend The Planet Hunter, a picture book for kids about Pluto’s demise.
5-The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate–Great historical fiction about a young girl who wants to be a naturalist and her relationship with her scientist grandfather. The voice here is perfect. I loved it.
5-Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction–Thought-provoking LDS short fiction. I didn’t love every story, but many of them have stayed with me, and I find myself thinking about them again. My favorite is probably Darin Cozzins’ “Light of the New Day,” which is honest and real and also redemptive.
6-The Way of Kings–The first book in Brandon Sanderson’s new epic fantasy series. The book is long, but the ending is one of the most satisfying I’ve ever read, and well worth the investment.
7- The Hunger Games Trilogy–I liked the first book best; it gave me that hazy book high hangover that I hardly ever get anymore, where I just want to reread the book over and over.
8-A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner. Not as powerful as The Queen of Attolia, but I was dying to know what happened next in her Attolia series, and I was not disappointed.
9-Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand–Biography of Louie Zamperini, an Olympian who spent years as a Japanese POW. I loved the way she talked about Zamperini’s religion. The writing is compelling (and graphic sometimes, as fits her material), and the story is an important one.
10-Here is my confession: I spend a good chunk of my reading time rereading old favorites. Comfort books, is what I call them in my head, books I have read and reread so many times that they are old friends and I pick them up knowing what to expect, and I’m not disappointed. Here are a few comfort books I reread in 2010: The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery; The Worthing Saga, Orson Scott Card; Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. There are lots more. Anything I read as a teenager that I own a copy of, pretty much.
Your turn. Tell me some of your favorites from last year. What are your comfort books? And what’s on your to-read list for next year?