Like the movie post before this one, I'll try to keep the book reviews short, seeing how I have already reviewed a number of them. These are the top ten books that I READ in 2010. The publishing date has no affect on this list.
1. The Hunger Games Series - Wildly imaginative, deeply violent and incredibly addicting, these were the reading highlight of my year. Of the three books, I think the second was my favorite. There was a line that made me gasp outloud and tremble with fear/delight. Now that's the mark of a good book. Sometimes I feel despair when I remember that there is only one more Harry Potter movie to go, Lord of the Rings is over, and the last film of the Twilight series is of the worst of the books. Lost and Battlestar Galactica are over, and I'm just not sure what I have to live for anymore (aside from, you know, God and family and friends and travel and all that), but then I remember there are going to be three Hunger Games movies. Yippee!! Guess I'll live after all.
2. Her Fearful Symmetry - This was almost number one. If the Hunger Games Series was the reading highlight of the year, Her Fearful Symmetry was the intellectual highlight of my reading year. It was ghostly, haunting and emotionally shifty. Niffenegger is my favorite contemporary author, and this book gets extra points for having my favorite book cover - ever. It's so shiny and Tim Burton-esque!
3. Helen of Troy - Epic. There is no other word to describe this book. It was an epic journey, an emotional trampling through Greek Mythology and History. Helen was such a rich, flawed and sympathetic character. I loved her, and I loved this book and wanted to weep when I neared the end. The fall of Troy might be one of the most devastating and exciting things I've ever read.
4. The Help - This book came due at the library before I was done with it. I walked in clutching the book, so sad to depart with it before I was finished. I asked the librarian how much the fine was and when she said "10 cents a day", I tucked it back in my bag, because one dollar is totally worth more time with this gentle and socially conscious gem of a girl book.
5. The Kindness of Strangers - For a book about an unspeakable subject (child porn), this fascinating read that made me weep in the power of the human spirit, and the power of a loving family.
6. The Graveyard Book - Quirky, weird, Halloweenish. I am loving Neil Gaiman more and more with each project. He really understands the young adult brain, and a child's fascination with the macabre.
7. Alice I Have Been - A slow climb but a good one. A fascinating look at the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland, and the strange obsession with her that possessed the author, who is both kind and SUPER creepy.
8. The Accidental Tourist - Characters so real, so strange and nuanced that you swear these people live next door to you - and they have a carnival in their backyard. A fun, light-hearted romp. Macon forever!
9. Lucy - It's a story about a girl. A girl who is half a monkey. But more human than monkey. In a very realistic look at what would happen if some crazy scientist were to breed a monkey and a human, we meet Lucy. She is just like an average teenager, only with super strength and the ability to climb trees. And when she meets a cute boy, she propositions him with "I like you. Perhaps we will mate soon." Oh my. It's a weird concept, but a great book for debating ethical questions: Does she deserve to be treated like a human? An animal? What rights does she have? Should she be allowed to have children? All good questions from a very good read.
10. The Other Boleyn Girl - I think I read this in 2010. Sometimes, you just want to watch The Bachelor. This book is the equivalent of The Bachelor - only King Henry is the avaliable man, and if he does not care for you, it's not leaving without a rose - it's leaving without a head. With plenty of heaving bosoms and saucy romantic and family entanglement, this is just a good time - without the brain power.
GAAAHHHHH.....Added Note: I totally forget The Lonely Polygamist on this list, but if I'd have remembered it would have been number three. The story of a man with 4 wives and 30 children was surprisingly sweet. Also, I loved the author's way of using multiple voices (the wives, the children, the house) to tell the story. This was a fabulous and enlightening read.
Biggest Disappointment of the Year: The story does not begin until page 100, and by then you just don't care. By the time the murder mystery actually gets moving, you are too disturbed by the graphic scenes of rape and violence to move on. Two thumbs (and a toe!) down.
Top Ten Songs That Rocked My World This Year, Also known as Songs You Should Download from I-Tunes immediately.
Favorite Song of the Year: Something in the Water by Brooke Fraser. (A cheerful, folksy hymn about how much she loves her husband, this is a song that you hear once and you want to hear it again and again and again..immediately. I think it could also be interpreted as being about baptism.)
1. Enough by The Autumn Film (The lyrics, Tifah's soaring voice...gives me chills.)
2. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga (Jam out every single time I heard it...rah rah ga ga ga)
3. You're Beautiful by Phil Wickham (Such a simple beautiful song about Christ.)
4. The Chain by Ingrid Michaelson (I never get sick of it. Love the overlaying verses)
5. Going North by Missy Higgins (this inspired my sister to go to Europe alone for a month AND my friend Liz to get a tattoo)
6.Lovely Tonight by Joshua Radin (Sarah and Ryan's wedding song - bad if I join in because I love the song so much?)
7. Black and Gold by Sam Sparro (Groove out baby!)
8. When the Saints by Sara Groves (Such a great cover of such a classic song)
9. My Love by Sia (The best part of Edward and Bella's makeout session)
10. Everytime by The Frames (Who knew a Brittney Spears song could be so pretty? Love the Pachelbel's Canon in the background)
Honorable Mentions: Heavenly Day by Patty Griffin, Rangers by a Fine Frenzy, At Last I See The Light from Tangled and Waking Up in Vegas by Katy Perry. Instrumental: The Avatar Soundtrack. Meh movie, aMEHzing soundtrack.
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