Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Favorite Books of 2010

Just in case you need some gift ideas for the coming year, here's my list of "Favorite Books of 2010". Enjoy!

  • The Wave by Susan Casey (Non-fiction) An enthralling account of gigantic ocean waves, how they form, where they are, and the scientists who study them. If that sounds dry, it really is not, partly because Casey follows a bunch of big-wave surfers, the best in the world, as they ride 100-foot waves all over the world. (Go to YouTube and type in "surfing big waves" to see what's involved.) One of the most interesting books I read this year.
  • Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (Fiction) Another home run by the guy who wrote "Pillars of the Earth". A lovely, big, fat, historical novel about several families in the years before and during WW I. The first in a trilogy, so this one's a bit of a commitment.
  • Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (Fiction) Heartbreaking and poignant, this novel about a family, a terrible tragedy and the aftermath has stayed with me for months.
  • Black Out by Connie Willis (Fiction) I like the way Connie Willis deals with time-travel; it's a lot less about the science and a LOT more about the history. This story, about historians travelling from 21st century Oxford to London during the Blitz was hugely entertaining. My only beef with it was that it's one of two books, which was not made clear when I started the first one.....that last page was a big disappointment. Fortunately, the sequel, "All Clear" has been published recently.
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleeve (Fiction) A sweet, sad novel told by an young African refugee and the English family who's lives she enters. This story made me realize that I live in a stable, secure and utterly safe place that many in the rest of the world can only dream of.
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Fiction) A quirky and delightful 11-year-old narrator made this murder-mystery a lot of fun to read. The sequel, "The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag" was equally gratifying.
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhonda Janzen. (Non-fiction) When her husband leaves her for a guy named Bob on Gay.com, and she's in a debilitating car accident, the author returned to her parents home, and the Mennonite community she'd left years before. Funny and touching, this story of coming home and putting the pieces of your life back together was wonderful.
  • A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George (Fiction) A story of a musical-prodigy, his family and a mystery that has haunted his family for years. A terrifically entertaining book.
  • Coal; A Human History by Barbara Freese (Non-Fiction) A social history of the fuel. Way more interesting than you'd think.
  • Wide Awake by Patricia Morrisroe. Thankfully, I have no problem sleeping, but reading this book made me realize that lots of people do. Patricia Morrisroe talks about her own insomnia and the multitude of solutions she and thousands have tried, all in the name of getting some sleep. Ironically, I stayed up late reading this.

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