My Favorite Books – 2010

I read some wonderful books this year, and I’d like to share them with you, in the hopes that you’ll love them, too.  And that you’ll pass on your favorites to me!

In no particular order…

What the Dog Did

In case you don’t know this already, I’m a dog nut.  I’ve  had dogs for almost 40 years, and I can’t imagine living without one.  Despite the fact they’re expensive (don’t let your dog get in an accident – the bill for the veterinarian orthopedic specialist will delay your planned retirement by a decade – or two), smelly (yes, the Boo tangled with a skunk two months ago and still has a slight whiff about her), messy (did I mention the rug in the front hall?) and heart breakers (they capture your heart and then break it by dying way too soon), I’m a hopeless dog lover.

So when I saw that Emily Yoffe, the smart, funny writer of Dear Prudence at slate.com, had written a book called What the Dog Did, I had to read it.  And I cried – with laughter.  She nails it all – the dog who eats your bra, the dog who pees on your bed, the loose eyeballs of the Boston terrier…. a very funny, very well-written book that had me write the author my first fan letter ever.

Inspector Gamache Mystery Series

I gave up on most mysteries a few years ago.  Too trite, too depressing, too poorly written, I couldn’t face them anymore.  But from the time I read my first Louise Penny book, I was hooked.  These books take place in Canada, and are just plain marvelous.  Good writing, good stories, outstanding characters… I can’t wait for her next book.  Start with Still Life, and don’t stop (you won’t want to…).

What the Dog Saw… and Other Adventures

I didn’t start off a Malcolm Gladwell fan.  I thought praise for The Tipping Point was way over the top (talk about a tipping point – the hype about this book proved its own point).  But I’ve come around.  Last year, I gobbled up Outliers, the Story of Success.  And this year, I couldn’t put down What the Dog Saw, a collection of Gladwell essays.  He made the Ronco story – and the “world’s best chicken rotisserie” – into a can’t-put-down story.  His story on Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, was just plain fascinating.  Great book, great read.

Cutting for Stone

My book club chose this novel, and I loved it.  Abraham Verghese brings you into his story with just a few short sentences, and you can’t stop reading until you come to the very satisfying end.  Ethiopia, medicine, a doctor, a nun, twin boys and a compelling story.  A winner from start to finish…

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth

And now for something completely different.  I’m claustrophic.  I don’t like heights.  Dark, airless cramped places make me want to scream.  And yet I loved this book about caving.  It introduced me to a sport and passion I didn’t know existed.  SCUBA diving in caves, 2,000 feet into the earth?  Who knew such things existed?  Go on – be brave.  Read this book.  With James Tabor as your guide, you won’t regret it.

Grab Bag

Other books that made it to the top of my list include The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson, the story of the Great Migration of blacks from the South to the North.  Great writing, great research, compelling stories.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack, by Rebecca Skloot, caught my eye because of all the strong reviews it received.  Not ordinarily a book I would pick up, I fell in love within the first chapter.  An amazing story about the cells that form the basis of so much cancer research. (Yeah, I said it was an unlikely choice, but what can I tell you?  It was terrific.) And let’s not forget The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson.  I couldn’t put this book down – a novel that combines a love story with the supernatural with a mystery.  It was fabulous. Finally, I had the chance to read The Boleyn Inheritance while I was in London this winter.  Written by Phillipa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl, I have to say this was a wonderful book – fascinating and fun to read.  I was sorry to reach the end.

So, boys and girls, there you have it.  It was a good year for reading!  Happy New Year to you, and may you find many hours of pleasure in books that you love. (And don’t forget to pass your recommendations on to me!)

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2 Responses

  1. Not “Precarious”?

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