One of the biggest challenges of getting through the books on my 2010 challenge list was that, as I focused more on reading, I discovered just how much was out there that I wanted to read. At times, this made my “should-read” books feel like more of a chore than they otherwise would have, which was often compounded by the additional pressure of library due dates. The following are some of my favorite reads of the year.
Top Ten of 2010
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is one of the biggest page-turners I’ve read in the last ten years. Not only did I stay up late to get through the whole thing, but I put the second volume on hold at the library the very next morning. It’s a shame the rest of the trilogy didn’t live up to this first volume.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This teen novel is suspenseful and intriguing, despite the grim subject matter of teen suicide (don’t do it!). It makes you think about destiny and all the little things that seem meaningless but may have profound consequences.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This beautiful novel of the love between a father and son was one of the shortest I read all year, but it certainly packs a wallop emotionally.
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
This novel is well written, suspenseful, and simply one of the best multi-narrative books I’ve read in a long time. Be prepared to want to read it again from the beginning when you finish.
The Passage by Justin Cronin
A modern take on vampires and what a post-apocalyptic U.S. might look like. My only complaint is its length—it is not particularly slow-moving, but it is unnecessarily long.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
This first novel of what has been dubbed The Millennium Trilogy is exciting and smart, although quite dark. It’s a bit slow in the beginning, but once it picks up you can’t put it down.
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
This book was even better than the first one. The story was much more intricate and developed, while still moving along at brisk pace. Lisbeth really comes into her own here and it’s nice to see such a strong female character, even if her talents seem a little bit unbelievable at times.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
I really liked the conclusion to this trilogy. It is certainly a different book than the others, more of a legal thriller mixed with caper elements than a mystery, but I always love a good caper.
City of Thieves by David Benioff
A thrilling story that takes place over the course of one week during the siege of Leningrad. It is both unbelievable, yet very real.
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin
This novel retells the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the viewpoint of a maid in the household. I really enjoyed this fresh perspective on the story and the glimpses it provides of the life of a servant in Victorian London.
Naturally, there were a few disappointments as well, notably Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, which I was looking forward to, but ended up being a bit of a slog. I also tried a number of graphic novels this year (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, and A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld), but merely ending up reinforcing the fact that I don’t love them as a format.
You can read my reviews of these and other books on Goodreads.