Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 Reads of 2010


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
Male Authors: 36
Female Authors: 79

Book Cover 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!


Book Cover 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.


Book Cover 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.


Book Cover 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.


Book Cover 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.

30 comments:

Kathy said...

Nice post. I have the O'Brien in my TBR and am looking forward to it. Happy New Year!

Meghan said...

I loved The Lions of al-Rassan - I'm so glad to see it on your list of favorites! I'm sorry to hear that a lot of your reading was stinky, so I hope you can remedy that in 2011.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Happy safe new year to you also! (We stay safe by not leaving the house!!!) :--)

TheBookGirl said...

Oh my, The Lonely Polygamist was by far my favorite read of the year :)

You have piqued my curiousity about The Third Policeman -- can't wait for your review.

Hope you have a fun, safe New Year's, and I wish you all the best in 2011.

Jenny said...

Great list! The only one I've read is Room!! I definitely need to check out the others!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Gah! I've only read Room! Well, The Lonely Polygamist must be mine. I may need to buy it on my Kindle, in the nick of time for my TBR Dare that starts tomorrow!

nomadreader (Carrie) said...

I'm impressed you were able to limit yourself to five books with how many you read! I loved Room too, and I hope to get to The Lonely Polygamist in the next few months. I hope 2011 is even better for you and you find more books you love!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked this post a lot. Lonely Polygamist (audio) was awesome, and I just started listening to The Tiger today, after your great review.

Happy new Year to you; good health and happiness are wished for you.

Trisha said...

I am so impressed you narrowed it down to five! I had major problems getting down to ten. Room almost made my list, but not enough time had passed yet for me to really make a call on whether or not it was a book which would stick with me!

Happy New Year!

Lisa said...

I found a copy of The Lonely Polygamist at Half-Price Books but it was well past the "gently read" stage and I just couldn't pick it up...even if it was only $1! I'm going to have to keep looking for a better copy!

Happy New Year!

Vasilly said...

You are the third blogger this week to put The Tiger on the best of list! I added it to my tbr pile. Happy New Year!

Aarti said...

I am so glad Lions made your Best Of list- it was so good to read it with you!

I have The Lonely Polygamist at school. I will try to read it soon, too!

I think your goal for next year is great- just read what you want, when you want. Don't be a slave to the review books ;-)

Amy said...

Congrats on a fantastic year zibilee. I'm happy to see that I've read one from your list - and want to read the rest of them at some point :) All the best in 2011!

Literary Feline said...

I am guilty of that too, Heather, buying books on bloggers' recommendations and then the poor books sit unread in my TBR room. I'd like to change that this next year as well.

The Lonely Polygamist is one I think I'll be buying for my nook today. Hopefully it won't take me years to get to it!

I hope you have a wonderful New Year, Heather. I've enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to following your blog again this coming year.

Steph said...

So funny that one of your top books (Room) was one of my worst! ;) Normally we are so in synch! Hope you and your family have been having a wonderful holiday season and that 2011 brings you lots of joy!

mynovelreviews said...

You made The Lonely Polygamist sounds great! Happy New Year - I hope you have a lot of great reads in 2011.

Milli said...

I haven't read any of those, but I wish I did. They sound really awesome! Interesting, too. Happy new year!

Darlene said...

I am amazed that you were able to cut your list to 5. I just couldn't - lol. I'm going to download The Lonely Polygamist. I was going to before but you've really convinced me now.

Happy New Year my friend and I wish you all the best in 2011!

Melissa M said...

I loved Room and have added your other recommendations to my lists.

Happy New Year!

Amy said...

I haven't read any of your choices, but they seem like solid ones. Happy New Year, Heather!

Beth F said...

I have Room and The Lonely Polygamist on my shelves. Something to look forward to.

Happy new year.

Jenny said...

I've heard of the Flan O'Brien book, I feel like, but I have no idea where or from whom. Anyway I'm looking forward to your review of it. Happy New Year!

Marie said...

Woo, the tiger! LOVED,as you know :-) Happy New Year Heather! I look forward to sharing more reads over 2011.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I need to read Room! You sent me your copy and I've been stuck in another book right now! I need to read it! Happy New Year to you as well!

Swapna said...

Those are some great stats! The only one on your list I've read is Room, though I really want to read The Lonely Polygamist. I'm going to take a closer look at the rest of them!

Jenners said...

I want to read everything on your list that I haven't read yet!! Thanks for at least making it manageable to do this (and affordable.)

Erin said...

Your top two are already on my TBR list, so I'm excited about that! The others look interesting...they'll probably end up there as well! Happy 2011, and happy reading!

Anna said...

I really am going to have make time to read Room!

Happy new year!

Wendy said...

I'm saving this post, Heather - need to add some of these to my wish list :) Thanks for continuing to enable my reading addiction! Happy New Year ;)

trish said...

I can't believe I haven't read any of these books! Since we have such similar tastes, I'm adding all of these to my list.

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