• 2010 Book Report

    Date: 2010.12.13 | Category: Books, Life, Life List | Tags:

    As the year starts to wind its way down, I like to look back on the things I’ve accomplished in 2010. While there are many important things, I noticed that Shelfari informed me that I had read 33 books this year, one more than I did last year. Now, this doesn’t count the books I re-read (the entire Sookie Stackhouse series, for one), or the handful that I’m currently working my way through. But I have a very strong feeling that my read count won’t be nearly as high next year with having a baby and all that brings with it.

    *****

    So, in honor of a great year of reading, here is my top 10 favorite reads of 2010.

    1. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

      I am a shameless and enthusiastic fan of fantasy literature. So when I saw reviews of this book saying it was a grown-up version of Harry Potter mixed with Narnia, I was on board. It was strange and beautiful and dark and mesmerizing. There were elements of all the classic fantasy literature wrapped up in this familiar but unique book, including: Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and, of course, Narnia and Harry Potter.

      Recommended for: People who like Tim Burton movies and are nostalgic about the fantasy genre.

      2. The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

        Easily my favorite book I read this year. This book was utterly fascinating. Yes, there was a lot of graphic violence and sex, but despite that, or even because of it, this was an astounding story. The book had many characters and a lot of mystery. It unwound in a very “Lost” type way, drawing me in. It was very difficult to put down. And even though there were a few questions still let in the end, I was very satisfied with how the story ended.

        Recommended for: Anime fans, Lost fans, Matrix fans

        3. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

          On my list of top 100 classics, and my favorite from this list I read this year. This book was a fun, quick and entertaining read. I found the story hard to put down. Written concisely with well defined characters and fun adventures, something Verne struggled with in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The time limit kept me n suspense and had me rooting for the odd travelers. One of the fun, easy to read classics. On a side note: I’ve always seen the cover of this book depicted with a hot air balloon… and there is not a single one in the story!

          Recommended for: People who love the classics, travelers, little boys

          4. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

            Another on my top 100 literary classics that I’m rather proud to have under my literary belt. Beautiful writing and storytelling. The verse and rhythm really fit with the legend and mysticism. Reminded me a lot of The Silmirillan, but not nearly as boring and told in a way that sounds like it could have been passed down from person to person over a long time. Beautiful.

            Recommended for: People who love poetry, nature nuts, history buffs

            5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

              This book was recommended to me by my boss who informed me it was the best book he had ever read. He also warned me that he bawled his way through this story. Emotionally shielding myself, I dove in. This book has the whole package: a fantastically woven story, guilt and redemption, an in-depth knowledge of Afghani culture, and characters that you love to hate and hate to love. The great writing was the cherry on top. My only complaint? Every time you thought the story was going to take a turn for the better, it just got worse and more depressing. Despite that, an amazing and fulfilling read.

              Recommended for: Those who stay on top of current politics, people who like realistic fiction, anyone who is defiantly ignorant about Afghani culture.

              6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen, Remixed by Seth Grahame-Smith

                I admit I listened to the audiobook of this one. A fantastically fun read, or I should say listen. I think it was all the more enhanced by the fantastic reader from Audible. I loved the original, and this mash-up made me laugh and enjoy the story all the more. The presence of zombies were mostly in the background, but the Sisters Bennets’ training against the “sadly stricken” played a larger role in the whole story. A fun read!

                Recommended for: Jane Austen fans, zombie fans, people with a good sense of humor.

                7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

                  I know, who didn’t read this book this past year? But I thought it was a fun, interesting and captivating read. Although the number of characters initially introduced made it a little confusing, the entire story made it well worth it. Several mysteries opened, explained and wrapped up satisfyingly. The only part of this book that was not enjoyable were the extremely graphic explanations of some of the sexual crimes committed, but they definitely added grit and realism to the story.

                  Recommended for: Mystery and crime book and show buffs, anyone who likes a good page turner.

                  8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

                    I’m a big fan of Mr. Gaiman’s. And when this young adult book won the Newberry, I knew I had to read it. Once I found out that you can listen to it for free, read by Neil himself, I was all over it. It’s a great adventure story with just the right element of macabre.

                    Recommended for: Tim Burton fans, Harry Potter fans, Halloween fans, oh yea, and young adults.

                    9. The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

                      Another unexpected and sometimes overly graphic novel. I’m not sure how I managed to pick up so many of these this year. Not what I expected, but very enjoyable. A great criss-crossing of stories, most of which took place in a setting I knew nothing about. Very real, dynamic, flawed and sympathetic characters. Loved the nerdy descriptions.

                      Recommended for:  Nerds of all sorts: book, movie, comic books

                      10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

                        Neil Gaiman gets a double nod this year. I love stories, like Harry Potter, that take place in a world along side our own. In Neverwhere, this alternate world is  “London Below”. This one is a quest novel with strange, likeable characters. A fun, and interesting story.

                        Recommended for: Harry Potter fans, fantasy fans, London fans.

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                        And there you have it. Let’s hope I can squeeze some good reads in next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

                        Are there any books you read this year that you would recommend?