Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 In Books

This is my fourth year of keeping track of the books I read. While my total for 2010 is quite low compared with previous years (only 31 books completed, as opposed to 50-60 before), I have read a number of enjoyable and interesting titles. And, of course, this doesn't include the thousands of books that I've read to Jude and Ada during the past year.

Here's the link to my full list for 2010.

And here are a few words on my favorites for the year...

Best Parenting Book: Your One-Year-Old, by Louise Bates Ames. This book was recommended by Jude's teacher from last year. While somewhat outdated in terms of current cultural norms, this book did an outstanding job of explaining Jude's behavior as he grew up from a fairly docile 12 months to an emotional 18+ months. E Ben and I both got a lot out of it. I just discovered that she has two- and three-year-old books as well, and ordered them from the library. Runner-up: Your Baby and Child, by Penelope Leach.

Best Sci-Fi: The Sparrow and Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell. Although a bit preachy for my taste, these books had it all: great characters, world-building, engrossing plot. I couldn't put them down.

Best Novel (quick read): Room, by Emma Donaghue. I read too many novels to have a single category. I read this book in just a few sittings. It's the kind of book that sounds like it will be horrifying based on the premise, but the way it is told it is actually not. I was most taken by the spot-on understanding of the perspective of a child of five and also the mother's incredible parenting despite the environment.

Best Novel (historical): Tai-Pan, by James Clavell. In 2009, I loved Shogun, and last year I loved Tai-Pan. Clavell's epic tales set in Asia provide a great understanding of culture and history, and they are also a lot of fun.

Best Novel (favorite author): Last Night in Twisted River, by John Irving. I've read everything that John Irving has ever written, and own all of his books. I really enjoyed this latest novel by Irving and would rank it among his best. Runner-Up: The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver.

Honorable Mention: Private Life, Before I Fall, and Little Bee.

I hope to have more time to read in the next year. My goal is to write a short review for each book that I read. I've tried this in the past, but I think my expectations for myself were too high, and I often fell behind and then failed to keep track. That's why I fell back to the very-easy List. I think I can write a sentence or two about each book I read, though. We'll see if that works out. I'm also planning to re-join my book club this year. I had to drop out for the second half of 2010 because it was just too hard to get out of the house in the evenings.

What were your favorite books of the year?

1 comment:

Alex, Andrea, Lucia, Magdalena Jones said...

I should start keeping a list too, though most of my finished books are ones I listen to via audiobook! However, I did like Three Cups of Tea about an American building schools in Pakistan, and am almost done with Red China Blues - AWESOME book about a Chinese-Canadian's fall from fancy for a Maoist China. I think it is banned in China... oops! ;-)