Here are my top favorite books from 2010, and all the rest are listed below, too.
The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life (Leveen)—A book about how to read more books every year and get more out of them. Excellent resource, and how could I not love this book when I read that the author is also an avid audio-books proponent!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer)—This one was a really fun novel written in a series of letters, set in post-WW II. It was light-hearted and very funny. I loved it.
Jane Austen (Shields)—Many biographies have been written on Jane Austen. I really enjoyed this one. The author is clearly passionate about Austen. I felt so much sympathy for Austen, a brilliant, creative, beautiful soul. In her day, to be married was to gain independence. Her story is just like her novels, except hers had no good ending. She was never able to find her “home” or her place in the world. I felt like the barriers of time and distance were removed and I could really identify with Austen’s struggles. This was a really good book.
Organizing from the Inside Out (Morgenstern)—This was an excellent book for someone like me who struggles to stay organized! It was very practical and, since you take one room or one closet at a time, not at all overwhelming.
The Hiding Place (ten Boom)—I had seen several different movies based on this book but was so glad to read the book and was really encouraged by ten Boom’s faith in the face of the most extreme form of evil imaginable to the human mind.
The Namesake (Lahiri)—This was a novel about a young man who comes of age and questions the past traditions and decisions of his parents and is trying to find his own place in the world. I just really enjoyed this book. The words and word pictures in this book were absolutely beautiful and I felt myself enjoyably immersed in this book and hated to see it end.
With the Old Breed in Pelelui and Okinawa (Sledge)—I think every American should read this book. This is the memoir of a foot soldier in the Pacific Theater during World War II. This story is gripping, incredible, and one that needs to be heard. This book makes me so grateful and so proud of those boys and what they did for us.
The Heretic’s Daughter (Kent)—This book was really well written and really gave me a stark view of the time period (Salem Witch Trials). It’s based on a true story. The whole way it’s written is dark and foreboding and very intriguing.
Three Cups of Tea (Mortenson)—This book was really incredible! Not only was I immersed in the mountain-climbing subculture, I also was taken on an amazing journey into the heart of Pakistan and learned about the incredible life and adventures of someone who is a true humanitarian. Greg Mortenson is an average man who has made an incredible difference in the lives of so many people. I would highly recommend this book.
Son of Hamas (Yousef)—This was another remarkable memoir! It gave me a lot to think about that is relevant to current events. It read like a (true) James’ Bond adventure. The author is the son of one of the founders of Hamas and it was intriguing to see his love for his father, even though he strongly disagreed with the choices his father made. One of my favorite reads this year!
The Hunger Games (Collins)—I wasn’t sure if I would like this book because of the genre but I found myself spellbound by the plot and the characters. The author set out this impossible scenario and I wondered how the book could have any sort of satisfying end. The book ends with a cliff-hanger and I think I will definitely get the sequel and read it this year!
Here are the others that I read this year:
The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry (Flinn)—A cooking memoir that was funny and interesting.
Educating the Whole Hearted Child (Clarkson)—A homeschooling handbook
How Reading Changed My Life (Quindlen)—A touching memoir by someone who is passionate about literature.
The Bell Jar (Plath)—A novel about a mentally disturbed young woman that was depressing, especially after (halfway into the book) I read on the flap of the book that the author had committed suicide some years after writing it.
Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education (Bortins)—Homeschooling book written by someone who is passionate about classical home education, and founded the homeschool program we are using.
The Help (Stockett)—A novel written from three perspectives about racial tension in Mississippi in the 1960s, and the inhumane treatment of colored servants. I really liked this book and almost made it a favorite.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Hertzberg)—A really great book on making awesome bread in just minutes. Who doesn’t love fresh bread out of the oven?
The Stone Diaries (Shields)—This book was recommended by someone and, other than the creativity of the author in working her theme (“stones/rocks”) into nearly every depiction, I didn’t really care for this one that much.
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde)—One of my favorite classics, about the constant struggle of conscience, choosing good or evil, the searing of the conscience, and the consequences that result.
Teaching the Trivium (Bluedorn)—A helpful handbook on implementing classical education at home. At first it can be overwhelming, and I definitely don’t agree on every point, but I really appreciated the things the Bluedorns had to say about educating younger students.
The Lovely Bones (Sebold)—Some parts of this novel were really great but it had really disturbing content and a really odd and dissatisfying ending. I can’t recommend it.
What’s a Smart Woman Like You Doing at Home?—I ran out of patience reading all the statistics, but overall this was good affirmation.
Blessings (Quindlen)—I really enjoyed this novel and the word pictures. I loved this author’s style and descriptions. Maybe, too, I was touched by it because I had a small baby about the same age as the one in this book!
How Should We Then Live (Schaeffer)—An excellent book about how ideas (world view) have consequences in all aspects of history and culture. A classic I had sadly never read until this year.
Raising Bookworms (Andrews)—More inspiration to continue encouraging an early love of reading for young children.
The Little Stranger (Waters)—This is a novel about an old house where strange things happen and you’re never quite sure if it’s haunted or not.
The Last Lecture (Pausch)—After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Pausch shares his passions and his advice about living a full life with no regrets.
Lies Women Believe (DeMoss)—Written to help women be more grounded in biblical thinking. I thought this book was helpful but found myself disagreeing with the author at times. I really hate generalizations, especially when it comes to women, because I often feel like I can’t relate.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Larsson)—This book was really a page turner and had an interesting plot, although dealt with gruesome and dark subject matter.
Rise and Shine (Quindlen)—A novel about a two sisters’ relationship as one of their careers is derailed. Not as good as “Blessings” but I like this author a lot.
The Total Money Makeover (Ramsey)—I thought about including this in my “favorites” because it gave me/us a lot to think about. But I think that some of his advice is a little extreme (having only a $1,000 emergency fund, for example), unless you have massive credit card debt and no savings. But it was definitely worth reading.
Every Last One (Quindlen)—My third Quindlen novel this year. This one dealt with a woman who experiences deep loss and tragedy.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)—I finally joined the rest of the western world and have read a Harry Potter book! It was good, but I kept wondering if this was exactly “my” genre. I hear they get better as the series goes on. I think at some point I’ll keep reading!
The Wizard of Oz (Baum)—Not my favorite classic, but I’m trying to get more of them under my belt. I read this to the kids and they enjoyed it.
Life Management for Busy Women (George)—I was hoping this book would be more helpful but it really wasn’t anything profound.
Eat This, Not That (Zincenko)—If you want to be motivated to eat healthier, the descriptions of body fat in this book will probably do the trick! Disgusting! I think this book would have been more helpful for us if I was the type who ate out a lot or bought a lot of pre-packaged, convenience foods. Since I don’t, it was only mildly informative.