My Books of 2010 Post

So, in 2010, I read a total of 68 books, cover to cover (with one except, though I read four hundred pages of it, so I counted it). Go me! However, if I included the number of books I started and put down for one reason or another, well, the count would be much higher. That makes me sad, for a variety of reasons, but rather than dwell on that, let’s dwell on the good stuff!

I read some fantastic books this year. The standouts for me were:

On the Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta (my favorite book of the year)
Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver
Writing the Breakout Novel – Donald Maass (why oh why didn’t I read this sooner?)
The Pricker Boy – Reade Scott Whinnem (the spookiest book I read this year)
The Magician’s Elephant – Kate di Camillo (magical!)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan
Some Girls Are – Courtney Summers (made me cry)
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (also made me cry, but for very different (yet good) reasons)
Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – Anne Fadiman
Reckless – Cornelia Funke
The Magic Thief – Sarah Prineas

And the rest:
Tam Lin – Pamela Dean
Catwings – Ursula le Guin
Hawksong – Amelia Atwater Rhodes
The Truth Teller’s Tale – Sharon Shin
Return to Bone Tree Hill – Kristin Butcher
Dressage Masters: Techniques and Philosophies – David Collins
A Breath of Snow and Ashes – Diana Gabaldon
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken
An Echo in the Bone – Diana Gabaldon
Coventry – Helen Humphreys
Booklife – Jeff Vandermeer
When the Body Says No – Gaber Maté
The Body Sacred – Diane Sylvan
The War Diary of Clare Gass – Clare Gass
Heal Your Body – Louise L. Hay
Spirits of the Earth – Bobby Lake-Thorn
The Night Tourist – Katherine Marsh
The Natural Remedy Book for Women – Diane Stein
Women Overseas: Memoirs of the Canadian Red Cross Corp – ed. Day, Spence,
Light Beneath Ferns – Anne Spollen
Eating in the Light of the Moon – Anita Johnston
Joan – Donald Spoto
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K Rowling
Song of the Sparrow – Lisa Ann Sandell
Archangel – Sharon Shinn
Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta
Roxie and the Hooligans – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The White Darkness – Geraldine McCaughrean
Maybe – Brent Runyon
The Magicians – Lev Grossman
Mistwood – Leah Cypess
The Line – Teri Hall
Matched – Allie Condie
Prophecy of Days – Christy Raedeke
Hourglass – Claudia Gray
Paper Towns – John Green
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
Nomansland – Lesley Hauge
Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Delirium – Lauren Oliver
Revolution – Jennifer Donnelly
Ravensong: A Natural and Fabulous History of Ravens and Crows – Catherine Feher-Elston
Eating for Acid Reflux – Hill Sklar and Annabel Cohen
Chronic Heartburn: Managing Acid Reflux and GERD – Wendland/Ruffalo
Blood Roses – Francesca Lia Block
Wasteland – Francesca Lia Block
Solving Horse and Pony Problems – Guay/Schlinkert
Dressage Training Customized – Britta Schoffmann
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova (okay, so, I only read 400 pages of this thing – the first 300, and the last 100. I skipped the middle 400 pages…and didn’t miss a thing…)
Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler
Heartsinger – Karljin Stoffels
Witch Child – Celia Rees
Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys
The Thief – Megan Whalen Turner

All in all, I read a lot of enjoyable books this year. There are exciting things happening in contemporary YA, and I think adult fiction could learn a thing or two or seven from what YA authors are doing. It is possible, believe it or not, to write beautiful literary work that is exciting, compelling, and non-navel gazing.

However…(yes, there is a however), I really am troubled by how many books I put down. I’m not going to mention them, because…well, because. But I will say this: maybe it’s because I read and write fantasy, or maybe I just don’t enjoy the paranormal stuff, but, by and large, the books I put down most often were YA fantasy and paranormal fantasy. To me, they read like the same book with different covers, for one. Another other issue is that concept often seemed to trump good writing, and with the ones I did finish, I couldn’t help thinking, “So what?” at the end. Fantasy shouldn’t do that, in my opinion. Good fantasy – the best kind of fantasy – opens a window into ourselves at some level. At least, the kind of fantasy I enjoy (and prize) does. However, there’s no accounting for taste, right?

And, I did have some quibbles about a few trends in YA (trends as a whole worry me), but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m old and jaded, or because I’ve been stuck in the revision trench most of the year, or what. I need to think about this a bit more – a post for a later date, perhaps.

Anyhow, my book shelves are full of new books ready to be devoured. My reading goals this year include reading more non-fiction just for the sake of reading it and not because I’m researching or trolling for story ideas, and to read more historical fiction, especially YA historical, simply because!

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