First order of business: Happy 2011!

The holidays are over, but if you’re looking for something else to celebrate, Valentine’s Day is next month and Mardi Gras is in March. I’m not a hearts and flowers type of chick, so I’ll hold out for the jazz and alcohol-infused fruit drinks of Fat Tuesday. Throw me something, mister!

Recipe and antecdote borrowed with respect but without permission from the Sandusky Review, an artifact of fiction and art, created by Jackson, Mississippi artist gorjus.

But I digress.

Later this month I’ll be posting quickie reviews of my December reads. For this first post of 2011, it seemed appropriate to countdown my top ten books for last year. The ten listed below, for one reason or another, resonated. It could have been story, character, voice, writing, theme, or, as with THE BOOK THIEF, all of the above.

For my very subjective reviews, click on the titles. Or if you’d like to see what books did not make the list, all my reviews can be found under the Book Reviews tab above.

My [fiction] reading goal for 2010 was 45 books. Total number read was 45. Can you believe it? Slid in under the wire! So you won’t think I’m a total slacker, I also read 22 non-fiction works, bringing my reading total to a not-wholly-embarrassing 67 books for the year. Okay, let’s do it.

VR’s TOP TEN

{Drum Roll}

  1. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
  2. ROOM by Emma Donoghue
  3. THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
  4. Those Who Save Us** by Jenna Blum
  5. THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER by Kathleen Kent
  6. THE GIVER by Lois Lowry
  7. HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger
  8. MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS by Gayle Brandeis
  9. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  10. HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins

**Review forthcoming

I was horrified that not a single mystery or thriller made the top ten. My own genre – imagine the humiliation! While I read some competent mystery/thrillers in 2010, there were no stand-outs. If you have a title for a mystery or thriller that knocked your socks off, please share.

On the upside, I was lucky enough to discover James Sallis’s brilliant Lew Griffin books in 2010. This series has a literary bent and in my opinion really shouldn’t be judged alongside casserole cozies and by-the-book procedurals.

The biggest surprise? I read more female than male authors! I’m perversely outspoken about my preference for male penned mystery/thrillers, however, I read so few mysteries in 2010, I guess the scale tipped toward the female side of the equation. A big thank you to Stephanie at Misfit Salon for giving me the idea of looking at author gender. It proved very interesting, indeed.

Okay, I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours. What were your top read(s) for 2010?

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