Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Was Your Favorite?

2010 is drawing to a close, and as the new year approaches, the Best of 2010 lists are popping up all over the place. Publishers Weekly chose their top 100, with 10 overall front-runners, and 90 picks from specific genres. Of note among the genre favorites were: Faithful Place by Tana French, Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, and Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell. Amazon's Omnivoracious blog released The Top 10 (and More) (pictured above) in November. And most recently, the New York Times Book Review published their Top 10 Books of 2010. You can click on the link to check them out.
Personally, I enjoyed a couple of books that popped up on these "best of" lists -- Tana French and Louise Penny are two writers I just discovered this year and they now rank high among my favorites. I'm looking forward to reading a few others, though I probably won't get to them until the new year. But I try not to feel like I should read a book simply because it has been deemed important by the powers that be. Personal recommendations carry far more weight, probably because they usually yield better results. My favorite read of 2010 was suggested by a colleague and was published years ago. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon is where dark and gothic intersect, rife with plot twists and layers of complexity, and simply beautiful.

NPR has a whole slew of "Best of" lists broken down into amusing categories, including Sex, Drugs, and 'Life' - The Year's Best Guilty Reads. I don't know if Rick Springfield's memoir would normally catch my interest, but Susan Jane Gilman's annotation of it was a fun read. In that light, I look on all of these "best of" compilations not as any kind of definitive 2010 canon, but as a source of inspiration for the next time I find myself without a good book on my nightstand.

And now for the vote that really counts: what was your favorite book of 2010?


Karen McBride said...

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was a book I checked out begrudgingly, feeling sort of morally obligated to read it. Wow, was I wrong. Beautifully written and researched, I couldn't put the book down. It deserves every single accolade being heaped upon it, the only tragedy being that the story came too late to really help the people within it. On a lighter note, I am finishing the year with Bill Bryson's "At Home" and loving every morsel of trivia crammed into its many pages.

Jeanne said...

My favorite "guilty read" for 2010 is Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim. It's a tell-all from the actress who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, and it's just a lot of fun.

One of my other faves from this year is The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald. Everything about this novel is special: characters, setting, and plot. Read it!

Cathy F. said...

Clever NPR love that list - Sex, Drugs and Life.
Wish I had thought of that.

Fiona Dinwiddie said...

Faithful Place by Tana French. I'm recommending it to everyone ( and give yourself a treat and borrow the audiobook too.)

Gus said...

"Finding Amelia" by Ric Gillespie. The true story of the search for Amelia Earhart's lost last flight on a remote coral island in the South Pacific, it is a detective story in the truest sense, and includes insights into the lives and careers of Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, and the things they may have done or not done that may have contributed to their disappearance.

Ric Gillespie is the Executive Director of TIGHAR, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, and he and his team have combed records in several countries going back over 70 years and discovered clues pointing to the strong possibility that Earhart and Noonan landed and survived for a time on Nikumaroro Island. This book takes you along for the ride, including the five (at publishing, now six) expeditions to the island TIGHAR has undertaken and the persuasive clues they've found.

As Lynne will attest, I could talk about this book for hours. Save me the trouble and go read it. ;-)

Laura said...

Best book this year is "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. I could not put it down! And challenge those of you who say you don't like non-fiction to give this book a try. It reads like a novel.

Laura A. said...

I'm reading what may turn out to be my favorite book of the year, the novel An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. It's about an ambitious, beautiful, sometimes charming sometimes unethical woman attempting to scale the New York City art world. Although she's not always likeable, so far, she's always interesting, and the novel is narrated from the point of view of a male friend, who like his creator, is very observant and funny.

Is there anything Steve Martin can't do? He's a comedian, actor, playwright and grammy-winning banjo player. Who knew he was such a Renaissance man back in the days of his "wild and crazy guy" routine?

Post a Comment

Please leave your comments and suggestions here. Thanks!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.