2010 has been a good year in reading for me. I’ve begun taking my book reviews more seriously, and I’m reading and writing more often than ever before.
One of the reasons I began this blog is to keep track of what I’ve read and what I thought about each book. Many of my friends ask me what I’m reading or what I would recommend, and this is a great outlet for me to make recommendations—I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say nearly as much as I enjoy saying it!
Though I’ve read and reviewed many good books this year, there are several that stood out for me, so I’ve decided to compile a list of my top five books of 2010—enjoy!
5. Lost and Found
This was the first book I read by Carolyn Parkhurst, and I’ve since become a total fangirl. Parkhurst creates compelling stories that easily bring me into the characters’ world, and she has become one of my favorite authors. Lost and Found has been dismissed (unfairly, I think) as casual chick-lit. But I connected with all of the characters, even if I disliked them, and Parkhurst does an amazing job of conveying emotion through her prose while still abiding by my number-one rule of writing: show, don’t tell.
4. The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
Though my initial gushings about this book have been tempered somewhat by my lukewarm reaction to Mengestu’s follow-up, How to Read the Air, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I loved the prominence of D.C. in the story, and I also loved how it was in turns a uniquely African, American, and Washingtonian story. Mengestu (a fellow alum of Georgetown—Go Hoyas!!!) is a talented writer, and I hope to enjoy more from him as he evolves as a storyteller.
3. All the Pretty Horses
I LOVE Cormac McCarthy. The Road was my favorite book in 2008, and I was worried that All the Pretty Horses—described as a more “romantic” book—would disappoint. I shouldn’t have worried! I loved the cadences of McCarthy’s prose as it circumscribed his characters and their world. Even though the genre of western is nothing new to me, I felt completely transported to an entirely new world. I can’t wait to finish the trilogy!
2. The Hobbit
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Hobbit. Though many trusted friends assured me that it was one of their favorite books, I thought it would be too fantastical to connect with, or too childish to truly impress me. Boy, was I wrong! And stupid to wait so long. Tolkien is a master of his art, and his Lord of the Rings trilogy now tempts me every time I look at my bookshelf!
I can’t say enough good things about this book. I think Emma Donoghue is an amazing storyteller who is able to build suspense and empathy simultaneously. She manages to tell this story entirely through the eyes of a five-year-old boy, and very rarely does it ever feel false. As I’m sure you already know, I love her use of fairy tales and folktales to make the story feel familiar, even as her subject matter veers into territory few have entered. I recommend this book to everyone; though it can be dark, it can also be warm and optimistic.
What were your favorite books of the year?