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Best Books of 2010

31 Dec

I made my goal of reading over 100 books (101 to be exact). These are obviously not all books released in 2010, but books that I read this year. They’re in alphabetical order because I couldn’t rank them.

Top Ten Best:

1. And Then There Were None- by Agatha Christie. I just started reading Christie about a month ago and have found nearly all of her books that I’ve sampled so far to be delightful, but this one was by far the most suspenseful and gripping. Ten people with dark secrets on an island are killed off one by one- each person suspected is the next to die. Runners up are The Mysterious Affair at Styles (her first novel) and  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (if I hadn’t figured it out from the summaries).

2. The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak. I’ve read a lot of WWII novels about children, especially in middle school, but this was definitely unique- told from the point of view of Death! It’s a tear-jerker, so be warned!

3. The Hunter Games– by Suzanne Collins. I’ve put off reading this because it seemed just like Battle Royale, which I was too squeamish to watch and/or read in full. (Just the clips of the movie I saw were too much!). But I bit the bullet and gave it a try and was hooked! True, it did seem to be very similar to Battle Royale, but I’m not qualified to make a comparison because, as I said, I haven’t seen or read the whole thing. It took a while to get used to the narrative style with so many sentence fragments but when The Games themselves began, it really fit. I thought the two sequels paled in comparison to this brilliant opener.

4. The Kite Runner– by Khaled Hosseini. You know the story. It was on my shelf for five years and now I’m kicking myself for that.

5. The Law and the Lady– I don’t know when I bought this book but I almost reordered it this year until I found it when reorganizing my books. Oops! The last Collins title I had read (Man and Wife) I found disappointing so I was pleasantly relieved that this one was just as good as his Big 4, in my opinion. I’ve always loved Collins for writing strong females.

6. The Nonesuch– by Georgette Heyer. I loved almost all of the Heyer books I’ve read, but this one is probably my favorite for the delightful hero and heroine and really, the whole cast of characters. My other favorites are Sylvester and Regency Buck.

7. The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero– by Rick Riordan. It’s a tie! I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. His two new series are off to a better start already than Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which I read last year to fill the void Harry Potter left in my heart and ended up adoring.

8. A Room with a Viewby E.M. Forster. From everything I had seen about the 1985 movie, this seemed like nothing more than a fluffy romance. But I found the book to be so much more powerful and moving story about a girl’s sexual awakening and growth to making her own decisions. Unfortunately, the movie was just what I thought and the newer version went too far the other way, but that’s a different story.

9. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Adventures and Stories Volume 1by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I cheated on this one. I really read three books out of five in one book- The Adventures, Memoirs, and Return of Sherlock Holmes. (I had already read the other two years ago). I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes since watching The Great Mouse Detective and some of the old movies with Basil Rathbone as a child. My favorite of the short stories are “A Scandal in Bohemia” (Holmes outwitted by a woman!), “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (even if Doyle had some facts about snakes wrong), “The Yellow Face” (Holmes overconfident and WRONG), “The Final Problem” (Moriarty!), and “The Adventure of the Empty House” (Holmes returns!).

Honorable Mention: Crown Duel– by Sherwood Smith. I remember checking this out of the school library in eighth grade as two books and loving it. I finally remembered the title after ten years and finding it at the store as one book, which was quite convenient. I loved it even more this time.

Honorable Mention: Sense and Sensibility- by Jane Austen. I had read this title at least a couple times in the past, plus seen the many adaptations, but it wasn’t until this past year that I saw it in a new light and it climbed higher on my list of favorites.


My Wilkie Collins Ratings

20 May

I quite like much of Wilkie Collins’ work, especially his later works and the “big 4.” Why they have not been adapted more is beyond me, since all the suspense and mystery should be great to see on screen!

Basil- I did not find it very memorable. I can’t even remember what happened at the end! 4/10

Hide and Seek- It was alright. I admit, the mystery actually did shock me. 5/10

The Dead Secret- The secret was pretty obvious from the beginning. Found the main characters boring. 5/10

The Woman in White

Book- Found the pretty, innocent Laura boring but Marian was much more admirable. Riveting mystery with deliciously evil villains. 8/10

1997- Okay but much weaker than the book. The supposedly ugly Marian played by beautiful Tara Fitzgerald. Sir Percival’s back story is changed because he apparently wasn’t bad enough. The Count is made from fat and interesting to trim and boring. 6/10

No Name- The heroine could be annoying but I loved how unconventional she was. 8/10

Armadale- One of the Armadales and his love are dull but the other and the female villain are anything but! 8/10

The Moonstone

Book- I was shocked at who the thief was! Well, more in the way the theft took place. 9/10

1996- Much better than The Woman in White one. Loved Greg Wise. Condensed a lot but I still liked it. 8/10

Man and Wife- Tackles the subject of premarital pregnancy and illegitimacy and has a real surprise ending- very unconventional for an unwed mother! Still, I found the “hero and heroine” if they even are that, to be insipid. 7/10

The Law and the Lady- Heroine could be called a female detective! I love how Collins does not give his female characters conventional Victorian roles. One thing that was annoying was her always droning on about how much she loved her husband when there really was nothing special about him. 8/10

I have read a few other shorter stories/novellas but I can barely remember them so I guess I didn’t like them that much.