Top 2010 Reads

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's been a wonderful year for reading. I've read a total of 208 books. This is the first year I've ever blogged about reading and though I've found out it's a lot of work, it's also incredibly rewarding. I find myself doing in-depth analyses of what I’m reading and thinking critically about why I am reacting the way I am to the material.

Here’s my complete list of 2010 books and my ratings.

For the record, I don't count children's book. I don't count individual short stories, but I do count short story collections. I definitely count plays, because I've found that a book like August: Osage County can pack more meaning in a single line, than a 600 page novel can in three chapters. They’re also provided some of the most powerful stories I read all year. I read classics, histories, new releases, dystopias, mysteries, YA series, literary fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction, and more. If this year taught me one thing it was that a brilliant story can come in any package.

I don't read to hit a number or complete a single list (though I do love lists). I read voraciously because I can't wait to find the next author or character that makes me fall in love. I want to find books that stay with me, adventures or struggles that resonate for years to come and 2010 was a treasure chest for all of those things.

So here's to 2010, a year rich with reading, and to 2011, hoping it’s just as full.

Top Five Nonfiction Reads

Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Top Ten Fiction Reads

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman
O Pioneers! By Willa Cather
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Honorable Mentions:
City of Thieves by David Benioff
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley
Briar Rose by Janne Yolen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Room by Emma Donoghue


Ana S. said...

I love your top ten fiction! And I love the Hornby from your non-fiction list, but haven't read the others. I should do something about that. Happy reading in 2011!

Emilee said...

Over 200 books--that's amazing! Thanks for the list of top books you read. I'll have to check out a few of those.

Teacher/Learner said...

Congratulations on an outstanding year of reading! The Handmaid's Tale...*ah* Atwood is such a vivid writer that her words can be brought to mind so easily. Here's to another fruitful reading year :)

Jenners said...

Wow ... 208 books. I'm totally impressed. I really don't think I could ever read that many ... unless I get unlimited free time some how.

I want to read everything on your nonfiction list!

Yvonne said...

Wow 208 books! Good for you. Alas I only read 49 this year which is low for me. I read several of your selections such as I Capture the Castle(wonderful read) The Remains of the Day(love this author but couldn't exactly say why) and the Maus books (recommended to me by my son-also very good). I made the resolution this year to try for 100 books. Hope to achieve it.P.S. Love you blog -as usual

B said...

I am tempted to add every title listed under the top 5 non-fiction to my TBR. I'm in serious need of expanding my non-fiction reads.

Dave Cullen said...

I'm amazed at 208 book, too, Avid.

Thanks for including my book on nonfiction top 5. And I love the company I'm in. I didn't even know Nick Hornby had a nonfiction book. I need to check that out.

For anyone close to a student or teacher, we’re trying to help them use the book in schools. I just created a (free) Columbine Student Guide and Columbine Teacher’s Guide.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Thanks guys! It's been such a great reading year. Fellow bloggers have introduced me to so many fantastic books.

Nymeth - I read so many wonderful fiction books this year, it was so hard to pick my top reads.

Jenners - Unlimited free time, wouldn't that be nice! I promise, I have a full-time job, a husband and review at least one theatre show a week. I've heard it gets a lot harder when you have kids though.

Yvonne - 49 is a lot! I'm so glad your son recommended Maus. It's a bit outside most people's comfort zones (a graphic novel about the holocaust is hard to fit in any genre), but it's so good.

Brenna - Do it! Those books are perfect places to start reading more nonfiction.

Dave - Your book was really wonderful. My complete review is scheduled to post tomorrow. Thanks for the info about the guides. I'll pass it along to the teachers I know.

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

208?!!! I bow to you. Thanks for sharing your list.

mari said...

Great list, I'm printing this one out. In between work and looking after a toddler, I don't have much time to really browse libraries and bookstores, so it's nice to get recommendations. Happy 2011!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Captain and Mari - I hope you both find a few books that you love on there!

Bybee said...

My son loves Kitchen Confidential..he's got long passages committed to memory. No kidding, he'll recite with very little prodding! He kept borrowing my copy...I was OK with letting him have it -- I could never stand in the way of such a book romance -- but he went out and bought his own copy. He probably sleeps with it.

Amanda said...



Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Bybee - That's truly the amazing thing about books. 100 people can read a single book and think "Meh," then one person can read it and it's the best book they've ever read. I love that! I love how you phrased it, "book romance."

Amanda - Ha, not because they aren't wonderful! I don't count children's books because I don't want someone looking at my list and assuming that half of them are childrens books I read in an hour. Eloise was my favorite childrens book I discovered this year.

Herbee-Nana's said...

208! That's great. I loved I capture the Castle, and The Little Stranger. Glad to see them both up there! :-))

LindyLouMac said...

Ciao and best wishes for 2011, I am back at last catching up on so much that I missed while I was away from the blogsphere! Thankyou for comments you left on LindyLouMac's Book Reviews while I was absent.
I am amazed you find the time to read so many books, write this blog and live in the real world. What is your secret?

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

LindyLouMac - Thanks! I have no idea how all of that manages to fit in my life. I'm a multi-tasker, so audiobooks definitely help!