Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best books of 2010

The Perpetual Page Tuner, The Story Siren, and YA Bookshelf all did surveys of their favorite books of 2010 (ie. fav books they read in 2010) and I thought I'd participate.

1. Best Book of 2010

Ohhh this is tough. There were three books I read this year that really stood out to me for different reasons and that I truly, madly, deeply loved. They were The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (discussed more in question 6 below), The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares.

2. Worst Book of 2010

I can't really pick a "worst" book because I tend to read books recommended by others with similar taste or I'm fairly certain I'll enjoy.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010

Okay, I'm going to say it and I'll probably get a lot of slack for it but The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I was disappointed because all the reviews said it was fast-paced right from the beginning so I expected a Dan Brown-esque book when Larsson's style is entirely different. He takes his time to develop the story, the characters, their complicated relationships with one another, and slowly, slowly puts the pieces together for us until the end when it all unravels to a very quick climax and resolution. When it was all said and done, I enjoyed the book and, of course, there's no denying that Larsson is a great writer but it was not in the least what I expected. It's hard to say if that's disappointment or simply my disapproval of it's marketing pitch and reviews but there you have it. It was paced differently and examined a number of darker themes (e.g. sexual abuse) that I wasn't expecting.

4. Most Surprising Book (in a good way!) in 2010

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which I featured in this post.

5. Book You Recommended to People Most in 2010

I've recommended so many books this year though I think The Luxe by Anna Godbersen may have edged out on this one. It's the first historical fiction YA book I've read so it came up a lot in conversation and even traditional non-YA readers like my mother were all over this series. Here's my review of it back in August.

6. Best Series Discovered in 2010

Hands down this is The Hunger Games. OMG did I tear through this story. I had heard wonderful things about the series and after having listened to author Suzanne Collins talk at this year's National Book Festival, I was all about it.

I loved The Luxe as I stated above but nothing had me up reading all day, through meals, even while I was walking since I quite literally couldn't put it down like The Hunger Games.

7. Favorite New Authors of 2010

Jandy Nelson (debut author in 2010) though I also discovered (ie. read for the first time) Suzanne Collins, Anna Godbersen, Ann Brashares, Allie Larkin, Melissa Bank, Sarah Dessen, Jodi Picoult, and Garth Stein this year.

8. Most Hilarious Read of 2010

This is a tie between The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank and The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro. The former tackles more serious issues with tons of wit and the later is just plain laugh out loud and which I discussed in a post here.

9. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Book of 2010

The Hunger Games
, of course.

10. Book You Anticipated the Most for 2010

Hmmm...I don't know if there was one book I anticipated above all others. I certainly heard a lot on the blogosphere about The Sky is Everywhere and Personal Demons (post here) from readers who got their hands on ARC copies. I had also heard, as I'm sure everyone has, about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.

11. Favorite Cover(s) in 2010

Some cover war posts here, here, and here.

12. Most Memorable Character in 2010

Katniss in The Hunger Games, Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain, Lisbeth in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Charlotte in Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.

13. Most Beautifully Written Book in 2010

The Sky is Everywhere is written very poetically and Nelson really takes her time to describe the scent of the flowers in the garden, the wind through the trees, and how all of the world reflects and affects the characters.

14. Book that had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010

Handle With Care, which I didn't tear through like some of the others but it definitely made me question myself, and what I'd be capable of doing or saying if it was in the interest of my family (a child in particular). From what I've heard this is classic Picoult and I'm definitely interested to read more of her work to see how, exactly, she's tackled other delicate and complex topics.

15. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Finally Read

More than specific books, I'm surprised it took me so long to start reading YA. I had no idea the range, depth, and diversity of this genre and based on it's rising success including adult readers, it looks like I'm not the only one.

15b. (I'm adding this to the survey.) What Books Are Definitely on your 2011 Reading List?

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen, Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch, The Duff (Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger, Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner, War by Sebastian Junger, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins featured here, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Perkins and featured in a post here, and whatever my book club picks out.

So yes, my taste is eclectic and I'm sure there will be a lot more books added to that list as more recommendations and reviews come out but I'd say that's a pretty good "to be read" list to jumpstart 2011.

But what about you; what were your favorite books in 2010 and what are your most anticipated ones to read in 2011?


  1. I'm reading The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing Now and I love it. I agree completely with it being the most hilarious. The Help is on my list for 2011, too. Now, will you be reading Snooki's "A Shore Thing?". Out today! (potential Worst Book of 2011)

  2. So I got a Kindle from my brother (who is awesome) and not only do I read your blog entries on it, but I have made a list from your lists. Also, I'm PSYCHED that my book club pick made it to the hilarious list. WIN!

  3. I'm about 100 pages into Before I Fall -- you are gonna like it.

  4. Ooooh, if her adult book was your first foray into Ann Brashares, wait until you get into the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. They are far superior to "The Last Summer," which, while good, just doesn't compare to the Pants.

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  5. P.S. Just saw this and thought of you. You're in good company!

  6. Jodi Picoult's, Handle With Care, is a very moving and emotional book. The book allows you to step into each character's shoes and ask yourself, what would I do if I were them. Each chapter is told by a character of the book and this style definitely keeps you wanting to read more. It is a hard book to put down because of the emotion and the need to know what is going to happen next.