Top 10 books from 2010

There are tons of books that could have made it on to this list. Definitely some of the books from my other top lists of 2010 were left off this list in order to provide a broader range of books highlighted on my blog.


Quick Synopsis: A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed. The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed "the Surgeon" by the media.

What I thought: I changed my choice for this pick about 10 times. Reading over 260 books makes it tough to narrow it down to 10. Regardless, this book was excellent and very disturbing (which is was going for). I really liked how the book got inside the head of the killer and allowed you to see and hear his thoughts.

Quick Synopsis: Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, and pacifist. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

What I thought: This book was unlike anything I'd ever read. There were pages that had scribbling on them and pages that had single words on them. The way the book was printed definitely added to the very touching story of Oskar as he reflects on his father in a touching story.

Quick Synopsis: Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant in the blink of an eye - that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?

What I thought: A very interesting look at how we think and process data subconsciously. Don't think about it too long though or you might go crazy. Seriously though, very interesting to see how we process data.

Quick Synopsis: Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

What I thought: Following up my top 2 books from 2009, this was the conclusion to the Hunger Games series. While I didn't like this book as well as the first 2, it was still an excellent book and excellent conclusion to the series. Katniss remains herself through to the end and Collins once again shows her willingness to deal with serious issues.

Quick Synopsis: From Truman's small-town, turn-of-the-century boyhood and his transforming experience in the face of war in 1918, to his political beginnings in the powerful Pendergast machine and his rise to prominence in the U.S. Senate, McCullough shows, in colorful detail, a man of uncommon vitality and strength of character. Here too is a telling account of Truman's momentous decision to use the atomic bomb and the weighty responsibilities that he was forced to confront on the dawning of a new age.

What I thought: The longest book that I read in 2010 and it was absolutely fascinating to learn about the events that lead up to one of the most momentous decisions in human history to drop the atomic bomb. Excellent biography by a very talented author.

Quick Synopsis: The Gulag--a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners--was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. In this magisterial and acclaimed history, Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag, from its origins in the Russian Revolution, through its expansion under Stalin, to its collapse in the era of glasnost.

What I thought: Excellent history of the Gulag system in Russia. Having lived and served in Russia definitely added to why I enjoyed this book so much as I had personal ties to what happened during this time frame, but a book that everyone should give a go at just to be well rounded.

Quick Synopsis: Miss Eugenia Phelan ("Skeeter" to her friends) is a young woman of privilege who enjoys her fellow Junior Leaguers but sometimes finds their ways at odds with her own principles. She plays the part of her station in 1960s Mississippi but can't help feeling dissatisfied with keeping house and acting as recording secretary at league meetings, and yearns for something more.

What I thought: This is one of the mainstream best books of 2010 as it was on the bestseller list for a long time (may still be there). It's for good reason too. I fell in love with the characters here and really felt for the black women in the 1960s.

Quick Synopsis: What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last.

What I thought: This book floored me. I wasn't expecting it at all and it really made me step back and look at my relationships and how I interact with people and what I do behind there back. Think Groundhog Day, but well done.

Quick Synopsis: The book tells the stories of two men born worlds apart. They have nothing in common except the same date of birth (April 18, 1906) and a zeal to succeed in life. William Lowell Kane is a wealthy and powerful Boston Brahmin while Abel Rosnovski (originally named Wladek Koskiewicz) is a Polewas born in a situation of great poverty and eventually emigrated to the United States.

What I thought: This book barely made it in right at the end of the year and was easily my favorite fiction novel that I read. The book was quite long, but very touching and Jeffrey Archer brings the two primary characters to life and develops them into characters that feel for by the end. Great literature from over 30 years ago.

Quick Synopsis: This is history on a grand scale -- a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

What I thought: One of the very first books I read during 2010, and the best. This book opened my eyes to the non-fiction history genre. I didn't realize how much I loved reading history books until I finished this one. McCullough delivers an exhilarating read about John Adams. I don't think Adams was the best president or person ever, but this book makes him come to life in front of your eyes.


Bradwich said...

Nice list! Mockingjay is the only one that I've already read, but I think all the rest of them are (now) in my queue.