Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 Books of 2010

Since this week is a week of limbo, I'm going to suspend my blogging schedule. A little bizarre as I just started it. I was going to make the Friday Five the 2010 Five and there are too many things I want to remember about 2010 to confine it to five things. Thus was born the week of top 10s of 2010. (note to self: if you continue next year with top elevens, you will regret it come 2015....)

This blog is about books, mostly, so we'll start there. These are books I read in 2010, not necessarily books that were published this year. Also, they're not in preference order.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I LOVED this book. The protagonist, Andi, is a lot like the MC in my manuscript, so I liked her immediately. I adored her love of music, and her quips. The Parisian setting won over my Francophile side, and much of the music that will land on a list later this week I discovered or rediscovered through this book. It is the kind of thing I aspire to write. I brought it home with me over break just to keep its brilliance by me.

Anna and the French Kisss by Stephanie Perkins

Set in Paris, this is a love story between a very believable girl and a hobbit. Not really. But Etienne St-Clair is not your typical debonair Parisian lover, which makes it great. There are little things in this book that make it so wonderfully real. My full review is here, but I'll tell you this: if you haven't read this by the first quarter of 2011,you're missing out.


Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Sorting through GoodReads this week, I couldn't believe that I only read this book a year ago. I've listened to the audiobook three times. My favorite Christmas present this year was a key pendant that my Dad got me, unaware of its significance. I love Ruby, in all her surliness. The characters were the most memorable of any of Sarah Dessen's works, and the story was so unique. It's one of those book I rethink scenes from when I'm thinking, and gives me something to aspire to.


The Luxe Series by Anna Godbernsen

I devoured these books in the spring. After having read the Gossip Girls books, I admit that they are similar, but Luxe is so much more detailed. The characters are real, have intense motivations and I adore the setting. Also, they fit in so well with the world written about by Edith Wharton that they don't seem anachronistic at all. I'd give a lot to be a lady of leisure in 1899 New York, even with all of the drama. Except for a blip of weird motivation at the end of the book, this series was one of my favorite reads of the year.

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

It's an American children's classic from the nineteenth century, but I'd never read it. At The Strand, I found a copy on the dollar racks and grabbed it. I loved it, and would have loved it even more as a kid. Yes, as a children's lit scholar I can see all the historical mindsets we're not as appreciative of today. I don't like that once disabled, Katy is shunted to the upstairs of the house and all that symbolism. But the philosophy of finding courage and goodness in pain is one I could have used as a chronically ill child. The sequels sort of lost me, but the first book struck a chord.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

This book had been on my shelf since some time in 2008. I wanted to read it, but it was too big to lug around school. So, when I was home sick for the summer reading every thing I could get my hands on, I finished it. LOVE. Part of my adoration comes from the 1899 setting (see a pattern), but the interconnectedness of people and plots is what truly got me. Donnelly's heroine is incredible (a trait I admire in her writing) and the book feels so real. The book spans my two favorite cities-- New York and London-- in one of my favorite time periods. It's a historical epic with heart. What's not to love? The sequel The Winter Rose is fabulous as well, and I eagerly anticipate The Wild Rose.


This book almost summarises my view on children's lit. Tatar uses Proust and Benjamin in her introduction, passages that I noted myself while reading their works over the summer. She examines the history of children's stories, and explores the ways in which literature influences both child and adult readers. It was by far the best children's lit text I read this year.

Jane by April Lindner

My full review of Jane is here. I know it's a controversial book, disliked by some fans of Jane Eyre, but I love it. I also love that Meg Cabot used it as her book club, and Lindner came onto the messageboards to answer questions about the book. Mine were literary, about the Epilogue and the absence of Jane's friend. She didn't shy away from them. And even without the element of Jane Eyre I think the book works stand-alone.

Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Philip Pullman

I'm late to the party on this one. It's been around since the 90s, but it doesn't feel like an older book. Partially it's the historical setting (1890s. Again), but even then you can usually tease out the time when it was written. Not in the Sally Lockheart books. They're great adventures with fun characters. The last one didn't win me over as much, but other than that I adored them.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I think I've had a copy of this since the movie was rereleased in the mid-90s but I never read it. During the Sick and Reading Summer I got it as an eBook. The thing that I loved most about it is how well you can trace Scarlett's decisions through her character. She really is a petulant seventeen-year-old in the beginning, as selfish as the day as long, and it's totally believable. I remember wanting her and Ashley to get together when I first saw the film, but obviously I was a silly eight-year-old. I love Rhett, and their failed marriage. It's probably the most fascinating relationship I've ever seen on the page.

That's my top 10 books of 2010. Lots of history, love stories and YA. Sounds about right!

1 comment:

  1. I am totally with you on the Sally Lockhart mysteries. Thanks for recommending these other books, too. I have to get through Hunger Games first, before I choose more books!