2010 was a great reading year for me - 59 books, which I think is pretty good with a new baby around!
I hope that my favorites of 2010 add some interesting books to your lists too! Here they are, in no particular order:
1. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
This trilogy was a treat. I couldn't get enough of Katniss and the terrible world she lives in. It's not often that you enjoy all the books in a trilogy and I loved every minute of The Hunger Games, from the action-packed first games Katniss took part in to her introspection and pain in Mockingjay. (Yes, I know I'm cheating by listing these three as one book on my list...)
2. The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn
This was a book I avoided because of the hype and only read because a dear friend said it was her favorite. How I loved the idea that the people you meet in heaven teach you something about the way you lived your life! This is one I'll be re-reading often, I'm sure.
3. What Mothers Do, Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen
The perfect book for every expecting or new mom. Who knew that all the stuff you go through in the first weeks an months isn't strange and that all other moms went through it too? The part that made me feel better was the societal aspect - the fact that traditionally we're not meant to do it all alone, so I could stop feeling guilty for finding it so very hard at times. A real eye-opener.
4. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
A beautifully-written book about the changes you go through as you get older... an amazing novel in stories with unforgettable characters that inspired a whole range of surprisingly real emotions in me. Not to be missed.
5. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
A fun YA novel about a girl named Frankie, who sets out to change some of the male-centered ways of her Ivy League school. Her unique use of language ("I was gruntled") stayed in my mind all year. She reminded me of Rory Gilmore and I loved her just as much.
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The only part I didn't enjoy was the 'Pray' part, but it goes on my favorites list anyway, because the other two were brilliant. Great reading for all women who are trying to figure out where and how they belong and if they're choices are right - which I guess will be most of us. Gilbert has a wonderfully down-to-earth writing style and her ability to laugh at herself makes her someone the reader can totally identify with.
7. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
I love Flavia de Luce, so passionate about chemistry, obsevant of life in general and intent on solving a real murder committed on her family's property. Besides that she's a completely normal eleven-year-old. :-)
8. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
Fascinating popular science book about how big pharma and the media use science to further their own goals and how being misinformed can affect our choices. A book that everyone should read to learn to distinguish between good and bad science themselves - knowledge is power, in this case.
9. Room by Emma Donaghue
The story of Jack and Ma and their life in Room shows how we can adapt to almost anything and what life can look like if we're not aware of the existence of anything else. Told from 5-year-old Jack's point of view, it's a truly unique piece of writing.
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My first Jane Austen and I admit that I was very surprised to have liked it so much! I was expecting a more 'typical' classic and instead I got a story full of great characters and writing full of humor. Now I can't wait to watch the tv and movie adaptations!
Special mentions, or books that didn't make the top ten but were still fantastic:
- The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan - a great way to teach kids about Greek mythology.
- In the Woods by Tana French - I don't read many thrillers, but Tana French kept my interest the whole way through.
- The Wood Wife by Terri Windling - fantasy book with aspects of Native American mythology, very engrossing.
- Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi - graphic novel set in Iran, about a man who gives up on life. Another example of the beauty of graphic novels - the simple drawings deliver a very strong message.
- I'd tell you I love you but then I'd have to kill you by Ally Carter - a refreshingly original take on adolescence, through the eyes of a teenage spy.