While 2010 certainly has been an interesting year in reading for me, I have to confess it took me a long time to pull up a list of my five favorite reads of the year. I completely blame myself, as I haven't been all that great at actually reading the types of things I knew would generate a lot of excitement in me. I think my reading has been a little too prescribed at times and in order to avoid this in the upcoming year, I'm going to try to read more of the things that I am excited over and more of what you guys have been raving over. Too often I read multiple raving reviews of a book, add it to my wish list and purchase it, only to let it languish on my shelf for months on end. So this year, I'm going to be doing more reading that's directed by my fellow bloggers, and also reading more classics, in addition to reading some of the great shelf-lingerers that I've put off for too long! Okay, enough with the ranting about how this year was stinky and on to my top five reads of the year. These were all books I was enthralled with for various reasons, and all books that are going to be added to the keeper shelf. They are all very different types of books, but they had that ephemeral spark that kept me reading late into the night, avidly flipping the pages.
|Total number of books read:||115|
|Total Number of pages read:||40,699|
|Room by Emma Donoghue
This wickedly haunting story about five year old Jack and his mother, who are being held prisoner in a tiny shed, not only blew my socks off, it really got me to thinking about the ways in which children come to know and relate to the world around them. Aside from being a really good mother, I can't imagine the amount of patience that Jack's mother must have had to be constantly surrounded by a wiggly five year old. I know this book is probably on everyone else's best-of list as well, but if you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and curl up with this amazing tale in 2011. You won't be sorry you did!
|The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
The story of an overwhelmed polygamist who has a handful of wives and a hoard of children, The Lonely Polygamist is a book that is so ridiculously funny that I had strangers looking at me like I was crazy when I was reading and laughing in public. It's also a very sad and cautionary tale that can really wring the tears out of you. I relished the time I got to spend with Golden and his family, and though this book was a doorstop, I would not have cut one single word. It's that good folks. One of the most humble and fantastic reads I've had in a long time.
|The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
This epic saga of the inhabitants of Al-Rassan and the war that's destroying it was my first experience with Guy Gavriel Kay, and it won't be my last! Grand in scope, the characters and plot were so tightly developed and entwined that I couldn't for the life of me put it down. This was also the first time I'd ever read epic historical fantasy, and I found that not only did I love it, but that I appreciated all its nuances as well. A great book to take a chance on and get caught up in.
|The Tiger by John Valliant
The only non-fiction read to make it on my list, The Tiger is a pulse-pounding and terrifying read that not only dealt with an insanely vengeful tiger, but the people of the Russian hinterlands and the ways they survive despite the odds. While I was reading this book I had chills up and down my spine and not only did I have to put the book away at nighttime, but I had some pretty dire nightmares about this particular tiger as well. A chilling and sometimes gruesome read that you won't be able to put down.
|The Third Policeman by Flan O'Brien
This book (review to come soon) was probably the weirdest thing I've read in the past five years, and for that alone, it stood out above the pack. In a truly absurd world, a man goes on a quest for fortune only to discover that the world he lives in is not what it seems. It was surreal, comic and absurd, and it had the most strangely interesting subplot I've ever come across. Who would have known? Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. The story alone is worth its admission price.
So that's it! Though there were other books I considered for this list, these were the cream of the crop and each spoke to a different part of me. Though I wouldn't say that this was my best year of reading, there were surely some gems mixed in the bunch!
To all my blogging buddies, I wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that all your celebrations are crazy fun and safe. I look forward to going into the new year with you all and to reading all you have to share about the books you are reading. You all make all this worthwhile.