Thursday, January 06, 2011
2010: My Top Ten Books
At first I was going to sneak by without saying anything about Top Ten Books. After all, I thought I'd done a good enough job narrowing it down to twenty! But... since I'd gone to all the trouble (and had all the fun) of those bar graphs and pie charts in breaking down my other reading statistics, I thought I'd have a crack at narrowing down my favorite books of 2010 even further.
These books made the final cut because they all had that little extra that make them truly memorable to me. I would recommend any of the twenty books on my "tops" list to people, but these Top Ten, I would be more insistent about.
Of the ten, only three have settings in the United States, and six are written by new-to-me authors.
Here's my list of the Top Ten Books I read in 2010. They are listed in alphabetical order by title, and I'll include links to my reviews.
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
The setting and time-- South Africa during apartheid-- and what apartheid did to every person living under its rules is what makes this book so very memorable.
Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage
Once again, I was blown away by a setting so alien to my own-- and the savvy policeman who's learned how to fight for justice while working within a corrupt system.
Burn by Nevada Barr
Barr took many fans way outside their comfort zone with this book, which deals with pedophilia and child pornography, but Anna Pigeon has never been stronger or more admirable.
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Gamache has gone to Quebec City in the winter to recuperate from an investigation that went horribly wrong. The author kept me mesmerized by the city and the dual plotlines of past and present investigations. Penny brings a depth, a humanity, to her characters of which most writers only dream.
City of Veils by Zoë Ferraris
I'm still tapping desert sand out of my shoes after reading this one. Ferraris immersed me in the Muslim culture by showing it from the points of view of several very different characters.
Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
If the previous book put sand in my shoes, this one still makes me feel cold, wet, and miserable. The Plague has reached England, and a band of people begin walking cross country to escape it. The ending? I never saw it coming.
Cool in Tucson by Elizabeth Gunn
A murder investigation in Tucson, Arizona, not only kept me guessing but led me to an exceptional cast of characters: in particular, one ten-year-old child.
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin
I still see the ribbons of fog, I still hear the waves lapping on the shore, and I still get goosebumps as a murderer is being sought. Swedish author Theorin can tell me ghost stories any time he likes.
Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson
From the first line Johnson held me in the palm of his hand with this tale of a cantankerous old man and his junkyard. This series can be relied upon for a true sense of the West and the best cast of characters you'll ever want to meet.
Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger
This book transported me to the Greek isle of Mykonos, and when I wasn't learning about the country, I was enthralled by the characters and a killer that I just couldn't pin down.
There you have it-- my list of the Top Ten books I read in 2010. In many ways I think it's one of the strongest lists of the past few years, and that's saying something because I've been reading some wonderful books!
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
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