Saturday, January 01, 2011

Best Books of 2010

It's time for my annual list of my favorite reads of the year. It doesn't necessarily mean that the book was published in 2010, only that I read it this year. They are not listed in any particular order. Enjoy!

1. The Crocodile's Last Embrace by Suzanne Arruda (6th in the Jade del Cameron series is best one yet)
2. Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon (1st in the Jester's Guild series, I also loved the second one: Jester Leaps In)
3. The Ninth Daughter by Barbara Hamilton (a mystery series starring Abigail Adams=awesome!)
4. The Fat Man by Ken Harmon (a tongue in cheek noir taking place in the North Pole)
5. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Gregory (the second Flavia book is another intelligent and funny mystery)
6. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Summer Knight and Death Masks as well, all in the Harry Dresden series, which seems to get better with every book, a true rarity in series)
7. To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn (the third book in the Chet & Bernie series was so good I have to go back and read the first two, and I NEVER do that!)
8. The Way of the Traitor by Laura Joh Rowland (third in the Sano Ichiro series taking place in 17th century Japan, just a fantastic read)
9. A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin (the latest in the Mistress of the Art of Death series makes up for the weak Grave Goods and the ending left me breathless in anticipation for the next book).
10. Mister Slaughter by Robert McCammon (third in the Matthew Corbett series, the events profoundly change the main character permanently, good read)
Runners up: My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison, The Red Velvet Turnshoe by Cassandra Clark, and Her Highness' First Murder by Peg Herring

Christian Fiction
1. Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Parrish (one of the writers who is changing the face of Christian fiction)
2. Rooms by James Rubart (unexpectedly moving and thrilling)
3. Brilliant Disguises by William Thornton (proving that self-published books can be amazing)
4. The Sword by Bryan M. Liftin (dystopian fantasy in Christian fiction? oh yes!)
5. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman (passionate romance in married couples, thank you Julie!)
6. A Corpse in St Andrew's Chapel by Mel Starr (it's a tragedy that readers didn't take to this, one of the best written medieval mysteries, if not the best, today)
7. Who Do I Talk To & Who Do I Lean On by Neta Jackson (this spin-off from the Ya Ya Prayer Group is even better than the original)
8. Red Ink by Kathi Macias (third in the Extreme Devotion series is the best so far)
9. Havah by Tosca Lee (stunning writing, brilliant take on the Fall of Man. Christian fiction isn't "supposed" to be this intelligent. God bless Tosca)
10. The King by Linda Rios Brook (third in the Reluctant Demon series somehow manages to be humorous, moving, and smart all at once. Bravo!)

Graphic Novels
1. Locke & Key 2: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (love the artwork, the story is creepy. I have trouble waiting for each new volume in this)
2. American Vampire Vol 1 by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, & Rafael Albuquereque (reclaiming vampires as the scary monsters of the night from the sparkly romantic heroes they've become)
3. The Unwritten by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (interesting take on a Harry Potter type character, a dead author, confused son, oh just read the thing! It's good!)
4. Y the Last Man series by Brian Vaughan & Pia Guerra (definitely adult, but entertaining read)
5. Fables by Bill Willingham (fascinating series about storybook characters trying to live in the real world)

Children/YA (this is a list of series that Mia & I read this year and truly enjoyed)
1. Babymouse by Jennifer & Matt Holm
2. Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley
3. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
4. Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
5. Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky
6. Calamity Jack & Rapunzel's Revenge by Dean & Shannon Hale and Nathan Hale
7. On the Runway by Melody Carlson (this Christian fiction YA series Mia obviously didn't read with me, but I've found it to be the rare YA series that is completely enjoyable by adults as well)

1. Abigail Adams by Woody Holton (terrific bio of a historic American woman)
2. John Quincy Adams by Paul Nagel (insightful bio of one of my favorite presidents)
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (it's on everyone else's best of list, and deservedly so)
4. Mrs. Adams in Winter by Michael O'Brien (one of those bios that by focusing on a one part of a person's life sheds light on the whole)
5. Still Life by Melissa Milgrom (yes, it's about taxidermy, but it's fascinating!)
6. I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby (there's something compelling about this memoir)
7. Walking the Gobi by Helen Thayer ( I dare you not to be awed by this woman's journey and struggles)
8. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (this if the best of the Little House on the Prairie memoirs, with plenty of humor and behind the scenes trivia)
9. American Lion by Jon Meacham (great bio of Andrew Jackson, really helps bring him to life)
10. Talking to Girls about Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield (along with the prequel Love is a Mixtape, felt like talking with an old friend about the music we loved best, mixed with terrific insight into life and love)
Runner-up: Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean by Tere Duperrault Fassbender and I am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali.

Christian nonfiction
1. It's Your Call by Gary Barkalow (this is the only book I've placed in the number one slot because it's exactly where it belongs. It's truly a life-changer)
2. 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper & Cecil Murphey (I got chills reading this book, then forced my husband to read it, and I'm working on my son. It's one of those books)
3. Heaven by Randy Alcorn (makes me ready to go)
4. Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge (a marriage book that's about finding out who you are and strengthening your marriage all at once)
5. The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister (I can't tell you how many times I cried reading this. Wish it had gotten more press, it deserves it)
6. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (this man's work with the gangs of LA will break your heart and then put it all back together again)
7. The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson (completely changed my relationship with the Bible)
8. To Those Who Suffer by Sean Nolan (as a sufferer of chronic pain, this book knew right where it hurt and how to apply the healing)
9. Nudge by Leonard Sweet (fascinating, insightful, enjoyable read)
10. Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad by Shari Braendel (helped me redefine the way I dress, so good I "loaned" it to my mother and haven't seen it since!)

This has been a rare year where I could (if I focused on the negative) have created a list of books I wish I hadn't wasted my time on. This year I plan to refine my reading and blogging, reading only what truly appeals to me. You can see it was the year of the Adams family (no, not the Addams family with Gomez and Morticia), as I read bios of Abigail, her son, and daughter-in-law, along with mysteries starring Abigail. Last night as I looked at my bookshelf trying to decide what book to kick off the New Year with, I ended up selecting The First Family by Joseph Ellis, a look at John and Abigail's life through the 1200+ letters they left behind. So I began 2010 by reading a book about Abigail Adams, and I have begun 2011 the same way. I managed to read 468 books this year for over 113,000 pages. My seven-year-old daughter Mia made her way through 134, so she's traveling in my footsteps.

I hope that at least one of the titles I have listed has caught your eye. Check it out, and let me know if you agree with my verdict! Happy New Year!


Cheryl said...

Glad to see Kathi's latest release, Red Ink, in your list. I agree, it's the best one out of that series so far.

Happy New Year!


Kathi Macias said...

I'm honored to see Red Ink in your favorite Christian fiction list. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Read Wolf Hall. It is amazing. Although I have never never admiredThomas Cromwell.

James L. Rubart said...

I'm so honored to be on your list, Christy.

Thank you!