Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 10 Reads 2010

I've devotedly kept a reading journal since May 2010. Since then I have completed reading twenty six books and started but haven't finished three. I've been considering starting a book blog, but feel that's getting a little ahead of myself. I still haven't completely caught up with all the entries in my journal; all the books read are listed with a few notes, but some need more elaboration. Reflecting back, my top ten favorite reads of 2010 that I haven't read before are as follows (in order read):

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - This great YA novel shows the effects of trauma on a teenage girl and how she gradually develops the strength and courage to speak out about it.

2. White Cat by Holly Black - I love how carefully this world and the mystery surrounding the main character, Cassle, is developed. I especially liked the theme of power negotiations within different relationships.

3. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - This is an EPICALLY AWESOME novel. There are so many intricate plot details and characters which all weave in, out, and together. Also, greatly appreciate strong female characters that actually feel like legitimate portrayals of medieval women, not token anachronistic female empowerment characters.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Imagine Gladiator set in a post-apocalyptic world with teenagers as the participants. Add in one bad ass female character named Katniss who is intent on survival, and you have one of the best books ever written.

5. The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier - I really like how Chevalier takes a work of art and creates a vivid, imaginative story around it. She uses this formula often, but the result is always different. I didn't care about the modern portion of the story, and focused primarily on the historical part; I felt the story of Isabelle Moulin is beautifully told and heartbreaking.

6. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen - It takes real talent to tell a good story in first person, and even more to add in a sub plot taking place in the present while the main story takes place in the past. Gruen perfectly achieves a balance between the two. Her characters are what truly make the story wonderful; they are all incredibly fleshed out and real.

7. Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund - I don't think this sequel matched the caliber of its predecessor, Rampant. However, it was still enjoyable to read. I really liked how the main character, Astrid, began questioning her fate as unicorn hunter and decided to take control of her destiny in order to do something else. I do like the emphasis on the difficulty in making the "right" or at least, most ethical, choice.

8. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - I think anything Gaiman writes is AM-A-ZING! I felt this was an early version of Stardust with the two Londons (Above and Below) one without magic and the other full of it; and a "normal" young man brought into the world of magic to help a girl on a quest. The characters are wonderful, and their adventures exciting; that's breaking it down to the basics because I could go on forever.

9. Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe - I thought this story was absolutely WONDERFUL! It's an incredibly complex coming-of-age story. The journey is more important than the end; and every decision made by main character, Wataru is important. Shit gets real in this book; no other way to put it. I think it certainly compares to and rivals Deathly Hallows.

10. Zombies VS. Unicorns Ed. by Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier - Awesome collection of short stories by some of the best writers. There's a 50/50 ration of zombie to unicorn stories. They range from hilarious to dark and introspective. Strong female characters are in abundance! This book was the most fun to read.

1 comment:

  1. Speak is honestly one of my favourite books, even though is is a YA book. It captures realistic, believable, and sympathetic teenage angst SOOOOO much better than Stephenie Meyer could even wet dream of.

    The Virgin Blue is my favourite Tracy Chevalier book. I loved the conflict of both women wanting to fit the mold but decidedly not. Her novels are so delicate but beautiful, with strong characters.

    I also loved Water for Elephants - but the funny thing is her other books are not NEAR as good, it's weird.

    YAY BOOK lists. And you've inspired me to start keeping a book journal myself.