Heart of Darkness begins as a story among friends on a boat anchored on the River Thames. The narrator tells how Charles Marlow wonders aloud that nearby London, now the largest, most populous, and wealthiest city in the world, was once as dark and savage as Africa. Indeed, before the Roman conquest, London was “one of the dark places on earth,” Marlow tells his astonished companions.
Eliza Benedict leads a very normal life. She ought to; she’s worked hard enough for it. But there are some things Eliza can’t forget—and some things that she cannot leave behind.
Bo Forbes, a longtime therapist and also a yoga practitioner, struggled with the disconnect she saw between the physical and emotional therapy worlds. Often, she says, “we can feel, rather than think, the emotional experiences that heal us.” Instead of just talking through emotional patterns, she began introducing breathwork and restorative yoga poses into her clients’ therapy plans.
Eleonora Cohen is not like other little girls. First, there was her birth. During an agonizing labor, which Eleonora’s mother does not survive, a flock of unusually colored hoopoes begin roosting outside the Cohens’ door, and the flock stays to watch over the young girl’s life.
This first book in the Edge Chronicles begins with an atmospheric description of the world on the Edge. Twig, the main character, is a young boy who just never seems to fit in with the woodtrolls around him. Ostracized by his “peers,” Twig longs for acceptance.
Joe Abercrombie’s new fantasy novel The Heroes continues in the world set in The First Law Trilogy. This time, he takes us to a single battle fought between the comparatively modern Union and the barbarians of the North. The story is told from the perspective of three Union and three Northern characters who all fight in the battle one way or another. Like Abercrombie’s previous novel, Best Served Cold, a few familiar faces from the first trilogy appear.
The Age of Innocence begins in New York City in the 1870s, in a social strata so high I almost got a nosebleed. Newland Archer has everything he could want: social prominence; a private box at the Academy of Music in New York; a fine cigar in the family study every night after his work at a law firm; an almost certain union with pretty and affluent May Welland.
For the thirty-plus years of her married life, Sylvie Woodruff has carefully monitored her words and appearance in the glare of the unforgiving spotlight trained on her, the New York senator’s wife. She works unceasingly to keep the pounds off and to support her husband’s career; even though some, like her mother, disapprove of Sylvie’s unflinching devotion to Richard, Sylvie is happy with him and the life they have built with their two daughters.
The heroes of the book are met at the very beginning of humankind (at least, as the Bible claims it to be). Aziraphale is the angel of the East Gate of Eden, and Crawly (later re-named Crowley, because “Crawly” just wasn’t him) is the very serpent who tempted mankind out of paradise. The two of them meet for the first time just after the Lord has issued his judgment upon Adam and Eve and cast them out of the garden.
For the past ten years, Helen Adams has devoted her life to covering the Vietnam War.
When she first arrived in Vietnam in 1965, Helen’s only encounter with war had been her father’s tales of the Korean War and her brother’s letters home, and her only experience with photography was a high school class. Against all odds—and under the mentorship of the famed Sam Darrow—Helen begins to make a name for herself as the war’s first female photojournalist.
It’s bad enough when you find out your ex-boyfriend has died. It’s even worse when he names you the executrix of his estate. But for Oedipa Maas, things really start to get complicated when she discovers and begins to unravel an ancient worldwide conspiracy.
Karl Marlantes was a decorated Marine officer in the Vietnam War and, in his time there, he earned two purple hearts and more than a dozen medals. Marlantes draws on this experience to put together this intensely personal (but nonetheless fictional) account of the Vietnam War. Carefully crafted over many years, the book was no doubt painful to write.
R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing trilogy consists of The Darkness That Comes Before, The Warrior Prophet, and The Thousandfold Thought. These three epic fantasy books form a completed trilogy, although the series continues twenty years later with The Judging Eye (review coming soon).
The Bergsons, Swedish immigrants who have settled in Nebraska at the turn of the twentieth century, are determined to survive the wild prairie. Even as many of their friends and neighbors, such as Alexandra’s only friend Carl Linstrum, give up and move away, the Bergsons have become too invested in the rugged land to give up now.
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!
Sixteen-year-old John Grady Cole has grown up on his grandfather’s ranch in San Angelo, West Texas. His connection to the land—and to its horses—runs deep in his blood; his family has raised and ridden horses for decades.