Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten Reads of 2010

1. Anything But Typical-Nora Raleigh Baskin-Juvenile Fiction
I had my top ten list all figured out earlier this week, but then picked up this book at the library and it changed everything. It had to be added. The story is told from the perspective of a twelve year old boy with autism. Reading it, I felt I was getting a glimpse of what life might be like in 8 or so years. And I loved the boy's realization that he wouldn't change a thing about himself.

2. The Josephine Trilogy-Sandra Gulland-Historical Fiction
Rather than repeat myself, I'll direct you to a post I wrote earlier this year about this series. Excellent.

3. Hunger Games Trilogy-Suzanne Collins-YA Fiction
I don't normally love fantasy, but these were so good. The last one was a little bit of a disappointing ending, but I highly recommend. Kind of a combination of Lord of the Flies and The Uglies (Scott Westerfield-YA Fiction-also highly recommend).

4. The Help-Kathryn Stockett-Historical Fiction
If I had to pick just one, this would be THE best book of the year. I won't give too much away, but it takes place in the Deep South in the early 60's, told from the perspective of a group of black maids. Go and check it out from the library now.

5. Thinking in Pictures-Temple Grandin-Non-Fiction
Much like Anything but Typical, this book is written in first person by a person with autism-only it is non-fiction. Temple Grandin is an adult with autism (who also happens to be PhD in animal science) whose motto is "different not less.". She writes about her different, visual way of thinking and how this has molded her life and career. I often found myself saying "so, that's what is going on with Jakson!!" as I read. Gave me hope about Jakson's future. Loved it and love the Temple Grandin movie as well that is loosely based on this book.

6. Diary of Mattie Spenser-Sandra Dallas-Historical Fiction
Written as a journal, this tells the story of Mattie Spenser, a young bride who is taken across the plains to Colorado. It accounts the trials that she must face as a woman homesteader in the 1800s wed to a husband as a marriage of convenience. If you liked These is My Words, you will love this book.

7. A Boy's Story, A Man's Memory-Oskar Knoblauch-Auto-biography
My friend Holly edited this book, so I had been hearing about it for about a year before I had the chance to read the published version. Oskar writes about his life during the Holocaust as a Jew. It was one of the most intriguing books I've ever read about World War II. Unlike Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank, Oskar is quite angry about the treatment that he received during the war and doesn't mince words. I felt like I was finally reading a "real" person's account, not a saint. If you are interested in the Holocaust at all, this journal-like book is a must.

8. Total Money Makeover- Dave Ramsey-Non-Fiction
I like to try and read a financial/budget book every year to keep me on track and so forth. This one didn't really tell me anything new and profound, especially since I've previously read Financial Peace by Mr. Ramsey, but it was an easy read (everything is in layman's terms, so even I can understand) and a good goal-oriented book. Dave would be proud, we bought two cars this year with cash from our emergency fund and still have money left over!

9. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies- Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith-Fiction
So wrong, yet so right. I thought I was going to hate this book. But it was sitting on our bookshelf, so I decided to give it a try even though I considered it to be Austen blasphemy. I was wrong. It kept to the original classic with a few little diversions to keep up the zombie theme that actually helped explain some things better than the original. I always wondered why Charlotte really consented to marry Collins.... And the book club questions at the back? Priceless.

In Mozart's Shadow-Carolyn Meyer-YA Fiction
I love this author. She writes YA novels about somewhat obscure events and characters in history. This particular book was about Mozart's lesser known, but talented sister and how she dealt with living in her over-the-top brother's limelight. An interesting study in the way women were treated during this time period as well.

Other top 10 book lists:

See a complete list of all the books I read in 2010 here.


Valerie said...

Thank you! I've only read the Hunger Games trilogy (I love SC). I can't wait to check out your recommendations and pass them on to my students! I wish you a happy new year.

Kerry said...

I feel really cool having read 2 (Hunger Games trilogy & The Help) of your Top 10 books, because I know that you're such a reading/books guru. I second your words on The Help. Phenomenal!

Happy New Year!

*katie said...

So really? About Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...I've picked the book up a few times but have always shaken my head at it. Perhaps I need to give it a try:)

Kacy said...

Have you heard about Temole Grandin's pressure machine? She built it and she gets in it like a cattle pen. Interesting!

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