I read. I read fast, and I read a lot, and I read many varied things. This year I read 135 books, so from among those, here’s my list of the very best. (You’re welcome to check out my full reading list on goodreads.com, right here.)
So, in no particular order:
1) Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King. Great collection of short stories and novellas. What Stephen does well is make you care, then rip your heart out. Bah humbug on anyone who says he’s a “genre writer”. He’s a master, pure and simple.
2) Anasi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. I’ve held out on reading this one for a long, long time, because I couldn’t bring myself to squander the ‘first read’ of this book. I knew it would be brilliant, because Neil always is, and I knew it would break my heart a little to never again be able to read it for the first time.
3) I Am Not a Serial Killer, by John Cleaver. I have waited for this book my entire life. Seriously…this is the book I always wished someone would write. The only thing that kept it from being 100% perfect was the author’s decision to take the second half in a supernatural direction. We don’t really need imaginary monsters when we’ve got real ones. But. Still so wonderful.
4) The Way of Boys, by Anthony Rao. Non-fiction. Everyone who has a boy, knows a boy, or has ever seen a boy needs to read this.
5) Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok. Loved this, gave it to my mother to read, and she loved it too. You don’t know how amazing that is, but it basically proves that there is no one on this planet who would not love this book.
6) The Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novak. Okay, I’m cheating a little here, but I’m not listing an individual book. But this is brilliantly done fantasy, and I couldn’t single out a single title when they all deserve mention. If you love dragons, you’ll love this series. If you hate dragons, or are so sick of seeing them in fantasy books you want to breathe fire, you’ll love this series. If you love fantasy, it’s a given you’ll love this, but you don’t have to love fantasy, because it’s basically not even fantasy at all, but historial fiction. Whoever you are, and whatever you like, give the first book a try. I can nearly guarantee within the first few chapters you’ll be hooked. Thank you, Sara, for giving me the push to read this!
7) World War Z, by Max Brooks. Remember what I just said above about liking/hating dragons in fiction? Replace ‘dragons’ with ‘zombies’ and you’ll have the description for why you’ll love World War Z.
8 ) The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. Our food production has gone to hell in a handbasket, and unless something is done very very soon to change things, we’re all going to be in deep, deep trouble.
9) Wild Stories, by Colin Thompson. Children’s stories about the wild and domestic life that lives in one house and backyard. It brought me to tears many times, and completely charmed me at the same time. It should be a classic.
10) The Passage, by Justin Cronin. Intense and well-written.
11) Dragon Keeper/Dragon Haven, by Robin Hobb. Robin Hobb is one of the top five current fantasy writers. This is an awesome two-book series, bringing us all back to the “Rain Wild” world we’ve loved since her first series. She does some of the best world-building ever.
12) Ottoman Women Myth & Reality, by Asli Sancar. Truly interesting non-fiction book that blew my old perceptions of what life was like to be a woman (or a slave) under the Ottoman Empire to smithereens.
13) The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson are hands-down the two best writers of fantasy alive today.
And there you have it, my most unforgettable reads of 2010!