2010 in Reading: A Retrospective

Well, it's Monday, December 27. I may finish the last two books I am reading before December 31, but I thought I would post my 2010 year-end post today regardless.

2010 was the year I decided to stop avoiding books that everyone else loved. I also picked up a few doorstoppers whose girth had intimidated me in the past. I've read 33 books so far, a number that is so dwarfed by every book blogger I know that I am embarrassed to put it out there. But that's my number.

I revisited a number of authors I have enjoyed in the past (Lionel Shriver, Jennifer Haigh, Curtis Sittenfeld, Jhumpa Lahiri and Carolyn Parkhurst). I tried out some new-to-me authors (Francine Prose, Emma Donoghue, Laura Moriarty). I doubled up in 2010 on Lori Lanssens. I read some debut novels (Girl in Translation, Based Upon Availability). I read some of the books that other people have been insisting for years were must-reads (American Wife, Middlesex, The Kite Runner). I got caught up in the book blogger phenomena that were The Help and Room and The Postmistress. I definitely went backlist in 2010 – more than new releases. I discovered audiobooks – 6 of the 33 books were on audio. I read 5 books by men and the rest by women. (Hmmm.)

I think I can best describe 2010 as the year of reading deliberately. I thought even longer and harder about each next read before jumping in, and paid more attention to what other people thought of books before making the decision to start them. That deliberation paid off – there were very few disappointments among the 33.

In the end, these were the standouts:

  • Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth
  • Lionel Shriver, So Much For That
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
  • Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife
  • Emma Donoghue, Room

Honorable mentions to Girl in Translation (Jean Kwok), When Madeline Was Young (Jane Hamilton), and Baker Towers (Jennifer Haigh).

Overall, it was a great year in reading. It was a very busy year at work, so the 33, in the end, isn't too bad for a slow reader like me.

What were your favorite reads of 2010?