My favorite thing in the world to do (besides work and hang out with my family) is to read. I aim to finish 1 book per week and last year (2010), I did pretty good. I finished 50 books. I could finish more if I didn’t have so many magazine subscriptions but I do love the pretty pictures and immediacy of magazines for staying up on trends and news.My favorite books of 2010: Room
This book is a deeply moving, sweetly expressed book about a little boy, growing up in a room. His mom was kidnapped by a depraved man seven years beforehand and he is the product of his nighttime abuse. The storyline is incredibly difficult but the writing (from the 5 year old Jack’s point of view) is precious. The author deals with the practical issues: How do you keep yourself fit in a space the size of a shed; to the more esoteric: How would you view your surroundings if you didn’t know there was more outside? This was my favorite book of 2010.
This book is comprised of thirteen short stories about residents of Maine. The stories are all connected with one or two small threads or characters and end up masterfully connecting in the end to bring the entire book together. I fell in love with some of the characters and the quirky personality of the town Crosby, Maine. This book won a Pulitzer Prize so you have the added bonus of feeling like you’re in the ‘in’ crowd when reading it.
This book is so powerfully written that it reads like fiction though, sadly, it is not. It follows the story of a Syrian born contractor in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He stays to help the citiziens of New Orleans, rowing everywhere, and rescuing many. Yet, one day, he disappears. Both a scathing indictment of Bush’s lack of emergency preparedness planning and a gem of a redeeming story, this book grabbed me and didn’t let go until the very end.
Though a slow starter, this is an epic book for the ages. Fiction is interwoven with real events that took place in Ethopia, a plot device that both helps to develop characters as well as become its own character in the novel. The book follows an entire family for the bulk of their lives, contrasting the story of the poor who are rich in family connections with the rich in America who are poor in meaningful connection.
This book is huge and daunting to look at but it is a worthwhile read. There’s a reason it took Franzen 10 years in between books; this book would have taken that long to craft. It is put together like a masterful puzzle, following a family from each person’s point of view, to tell the story of a 30 year span. The story has no major crescendo to build up to but rather, is a slow weaving of a story that gets more complex and dense as the book moves forward. Even at its lengthy 576 pages, I finished this book almost in 2 days because I found it hard to eat, drink, or want to move while reading it.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Did you ever wonder what happens to the cells that are taken from your body during a routine Pap smear or when you check a mole to see if its cancerous? Yeah, neither did I. Until I read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” This non-fiction book delves into the science behind gene therapy, the race to cure cancer and how we made so many leaps and bounds in medical science studying live human tissue. It turns out that human tissue came from a person, a poor black woman who had the perfect cells to experiment on because they never died. Yet, her family for decades to come lived poor, in obscurity, without health insurance while others profited off of selling their mother’s cells. This book goes into the ethics behind the business of selling cells as well as follows the lives of Ms. Lacks family.
If you’ve ever wondered how a tidal wave is formed or tried your hand at surfing, you’ll be fascinated by this book. Part science book, part biography of Laird Hamilton (the father of big wave surfing), this non-fiction book reads like a novel and is paced perfectly to hold your interest and educate you at the same time. As a sidenote, after reading this book, I am officially a Laird Hamilton devotee.
Though this book is not rocket science (and let’s face it, good advice rarely is), it is just the book you need to start 2011 off right. If you haven’t read a back to the basics business book for a while, this is the one for you. Written by the publisher of Success magazine, this book makes success and its friends (fame and fortune) seem like a few simple habits away (but oh how hard those simple habits are). Indie Beauty is doing an online book club with this book to start 2011 off right. Click here to read about the format for their club and find out how you can participate.
All the live links to books in this post go to Amazon.com and are affiliate links.
If you have any other books that you think I’d love, please post and let me know. I’m always on the hunt for new good material!
I’m just reading “Freedom”, but due to the fact that I can’t find much time for reading except for in the evening, I need a “little” more time than two days to finish it. But yes, I definitely agree that this is one of the best books written in the last couple of years!
Thanks for the recommendation. I totally want to read it =)
here are sme recommendations
“My 66 years in the big leagues by Connie Mack” –a easy read and a wonderful history of baseball
and some from my cousin
Cutting for Stone – enjoyed it when it was first published after listening to an interview with the author on public radio while driving to the grocery store. a goodie
Though a slow starter, this is an epic book for the ages. Fiction is
interwoven with real events that took place in Ethiopia, a plot device
that both helps to develop characters as well as become its own
character in the novel. The book follows an entire family for the bulk
of their lives, contrasting the story of the poor who are rich in family
connections with the rich in America who are poor in meaningful
Aw thanks! I love reading so much and am just glad to have friends to share my love with.
You and me both. I am obsessed with reading but my problem is that I REFUSE to not finish a book I started so I really have to be judicious about which books I choose to read.
I read a great review of that one but didn’t end up picking it up. I’ll need to do that. THanks!
I can’t wait to look that book up – thank you!
I love Jen Lancaster! I’ve read several of her books and LOL every time. Thanks for your other recs! I can’t wait to read them.
I have recently gotten into reading again (got completely burned out in HS & college). Here are a few of my favorite books to date:
Christmas Jars, Christmas Jars Reunion, The Wednesday Letters, Recovering Charles, The Seventeen Second Miracle, The Cross Gardener all by Jason F. Wright (anything by Jason is really good…I highly recommend his books)
Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster (I now love Jen, she is hysterical, and very quick witted. For anyone who has been laid off from corporate American, this is so worth the read. I’m just starting her second book, and I really like it so far)
Columbine by Dave Cullen (a sobering, but very well written book about the Columbine tradgedy…I learned a lot of things I didn’t know)
I hope you find these books as good as I did.
It is REALLY good; I highly highly recommend it. I was NEVER interested in surfing until I read it and now, I’m absolutely fascinated by weather patterns, big wave surfing and freak storms. Her other book, about White Sharks, is also a must-read.
I have a Nook too! Let’s lend eachother books? Email me! Info (at) brambleberry (dot) com and let’s save money. =))) I just bought three books last week and have a bunch in my e-library.
Terri Olson says
I’ve read a couple of these and will have to add a couple to my to-do list! I got a nook (e-reader) for my bday in early December! Didn’t think I would like it (miss the ‘feel’ of a real book) but I am in love…so many books in my purse now!!
I was talking to someone in the cafe I work at about a book they were reading. It was “The Wave” I just saw it up there.
She made it sound so interesting. I am a non-fiction reader. To the extreme that I’ll open my college text books, and read them for fun. lol
When she told me about that book, I was very intrigued. I may look into getting it.
Not from 2010, but a beautifully written book with such fully realised characters- and, surprisingly, the narrator is secondary. More an observer than a doer: Peace Like A River (Leif Enger)
One of my favorites of ’10 was Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman. I found it riveting from beginning to end!
Hello Crafty says
Thanks for posting these, I’m always looking for new GOOD books to read!
I loved them all! Violent but such great reads. Lisabeth is such an interesting main character too – so flawed yet so worthwhile.
Read the Guernsey book – adorable! I think I read it in 2009. Do you think I would like “Art of…” if I don’t have a dog?
You what they say… Great minds… 🙂
Read both of those and really liked them. I am sorta the curator of an informal book club we have through work.
can not believe how many of the same books we have read. I do a little, biitsy movie and book blog, and have blogged on about 2/3rds of the books mentioned.
Our book club loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And a great little book, especially for a dog lover is The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Have you read the girl with the dragon tatoo? All 3 of the books in the series were good.
Michelle Valadez says
Thank you for the book share! I’ll come back to read through all the reviews when I have more time. I’m always the look out for interesting books so I look forward to your reviews!
It was such a tragic book on the one hand and on the other hand, wow, what incredible contribution to science (wittingly or unwittingly). I did love the book so much and found the author to be so invested in the Lacks family. I was impressed with her tenacity.
Oh that’s a good suggestion; thank you! I have always thought that a book log would be a good idea for myself since I go through so many books =)
I read a review of that book and it seemed very interesting! I subscribe to The Economist and I believe it was their review that I’m recalling. Thanks for the suggestion. And, hello from one reader to another =)
Goodreads is a great site to keep track of the books you’ve read and see the reviews of your friends and others on the site. I love it.
You might like ‘The women’ by T.C. Boyle; I may have read thirty books last year and that one was the best. It is a work of historical fiction that revolves around the wives of Frank Lloyd Wright.
I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – I heard an interview with the author, and knew I had to read it. My favorite part was when she was traveling with Deborah, and how they talked about it all.