I wanted to list my Top Ten Books of 2010 as I did in 2009 (and I will—see below, if you’re impatient). Then I realized I wanted to write more about each of these books and what they mean to me.
I’m making a commitment to blog more frequently in 2010 and I plan to blog each week about a book I am currently reading. I could post these reviews on Library Thing or Good Reads, the sites my friends are using to keep track of books they’ve read and are reading, and I probably will post there as well.
I read about 104 books last year and I didn’t finish about a third of the books I began this year. I follow famous librarian Nancy Pearl’s rule. She says that up to the age of 50, you should read 50 pages of any book before deciding if it is worthwhile or not. After the age of 50, you can subtract one year for every year you age, so that by the time you are 90 you only have to read 10 pages. Life is too short to waste time reading bad books!
When I made my Top Ten list this year, I noticed that most were non-fiction. Only two novelists made it onto my list. That got me thinking. I realized I go to novels for entertainment and story-telling and these days, I get a lot of those desires satisfied by watching TV. Yes, I am about to come out of the closet about my plebian tastes!
When I want short stories featuring a character with a problem, some conflict and a resolution, I turn to court TV and get two or three of these stories in an hour. If I want to experience a longer journey--about a character on a quest, struggling against obstacles, finding allies and mentors, learning lessons and eventually achieving a goal--I watch reality TV shows, like Survivor or
My reading tastes have shifted in the direction of non-fiction and most of the books on my top ten list are books that changed the way I live or the way I think. I also notice that three out of ten have the word “home” in the title. Not sure about the significance of that but it was a year when I stayed home a lot.
Here’s my list. I’ll do a countdown starting with #10 and working my way up to #1, in the tradition of all Top Ten Lists, over the next ten weeks. By then I should have read enough good books to keep me posting reviews every week all year long.
Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
The Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn: Dog Gone It, Thereby Hangs a Tale and To Catch a Thief
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler
The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant
Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder
Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell
Circumference of Home: One’s Man Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life by Kurt Hoelting
Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science by Carol Kaesuk Yoon
Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien