favorite reads of 2009 where I picked my top ten reads out of the 64 books I had read. And here we are again, another year (that flew by) of fabulous reads, and only a few of not-so-fabulous reads of this year. At the time of composing this draft, I have read 58 books in 2010 (see my entire review list here). I attempted to slow down this year so that I could focus on prioritizing family and summer fun, which has made this a great year just for that fact alone, and I will continue that trend for 2011 as I embark on expanding my horizons with more cooking, more gardening, more genealogy research, more swimming, etc. And something that I have been dying to do, is to read the books I have been accumulating for my personal pleasure, as opposed to reading according to a publisher's request for review. I have managed to sneak in a few reads in 2010 that were not strictly 'for review' books, but for 2011 I hope to dig into my Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt collection as well as some more of Georgette Heyer's regency reads.
After reading last year's best of 2009 post, how do I feel about the choices of books I picked last year? I still feel those were all great picks and those selected do still resonate with me over a year later, as I am sure the following selections will also. The following selections were all books that I read in 2010 and were sent to me for review, either from the publisher or the author, at my request.
(Please click the book covers or the linked titles to go directly to my previously posted review.)
This year, I read both popular and a little more obscure titles. One of those obscure ones from a debut author was Matthew Flaming's The Kingdom of Ohio (Putnam). It was released on 12/31/2009 so even though it was a 2009 published work there was no way I could have included it in my 2009 list since it was released on the last day of the year. It would have been on the list if it was released just a bit earlier though, because this was an amazing debut, and a fantastic storyline that had me hooked from page one! I cannot wait for this author's second novel, though rumor is it will be an entirely different theme, I am sure his writing will again suck me in. This work itself has some minor issues with it, but the fact that it is a novel that I still think about ten months later proves it is something that is worth a second look. The creativity and the suspense of the book was really something that packed its own punch, as the author really had me believing that there was indeed a lost kingdom of Ohio. And look at that great cover! Classic, elegant and creative, just as the words were on the inside.
I just recently read Désirée: The Story of Napoleon's First Love (Sourcebooks) by Annemarie Selinko, so it is indeed fresh in my mind. This is a reissue for 2010, but it was a moving story that many others over the years have agreed with me on its worth. Désirée became a Queen of Sweden, but how she got there was an extraordinary story of the young girl who first fell in love with Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of the love, and respect, between these two was heartwarming to witness through this novel. This will always be a book that I will not hesitate to recommend as it features much of France's pivotal events after the Revolution. This book was made into a film starring Marlon Brando in 1954 which I am hoping to find somewhere.
opportunity to meet author Leila Meacham when she was promoting her book, Roses (Grand Central Publishing). That book was such a page turner for me, as the fictitious setting of a cotton industry town was close by and the plot was intriguing, inspiring and felt like it was written just to my tastes. I love novels that reach for saga status, and this was one that came mighty close, as some compared Roses to Gone With The Wind (which the author hadn't even read!). Leila Meacham is also the classiest Southern lady I have ever met, and I am so glad that I have had that chance. The paperback releases 1/3/2011.