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!


  1. Cathy - What a great list! I think you chose terrific novels :-).

  2. I haven't read any of these, but I do own Company of Liars. Happy reading in 2011!

  3. There's an article about Gunn today in the AZ Daily Star, and I was absolutely amazed to discover that (a) she is 83, and (b) she didn't start writing at all until she was 70! Wow, that's inspirational!

  4. City of Veils made my top 10 list too!

  5. What a fabulous list of books! The only one I've read as yet is BURY YOUR DEAD (my top read of the 2010), but I own many of the others and really, really intend to read them this year. You had a great reading year, Cathy!

  6. I wouldn't normally go for most of these books on my own but you make them all sound so good!

  7. I'm embarassed to say I haven't read any of your top ten - I will try to remedy that this year.

    Here is my top ten:

  8. Some of those sound so good, I'm going to look at Burn, Cool in Tuscan and The Darkest Room to see what I want to add to the Wishlist.

    Thank you

  9. What an amazing list...I put several of these on my TBR going to start with A Beautiful Place to Die :)

  10. Although I haven't read any of these, several titles or authors are already on my wish list and now I'm adding a few more.

  11. I just got Company of Liars for Christmas, and you've reminded me of why I asked for it!

  12. Margot-- Thanks!

    Anna-- Company of Liars? Oh, you have a treat in store!

    Jill-- Gunn is 83?!? I have to find that article!!!

    Kathy-- It's a wonderful book. I'm glad we share a title on our lists!

    Kay-- I certainly did! And if you own several of the books on my list, you have some wonderful reading in store!

    Amy-- I try, I do try! LOL

    Man of la Books-- Thanks so much for the link!

    Marce-- Oh, you picked three wonderful ones! What am I saying? I think they're all wonderful! LOL

    Patti-- I'm glad I could be of help! :)

    Beth-- It's one of my aims in life to add books to everyone's wish lists! LOL

  13. I haven't read any of these yet but between your reviews and this post I've added a lot to my wish list.

  14. Ryan-- I'm glad! We book bloggers have to keep everyone informed of the best books to read!

  15. I really enjoyed City of Veils this year too. And I have Bury Your Dead and A Beautiful Place to Die in my stacks to read...thanks for the recommendations!!

  16. Wendy-- You're welcome. I thought I remembered your review of City of Veils. Good to see that my rememberer isn't as broke as I thought! LOL


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