This was the year I slowly backed out of my book club, wanting to read what I want when I want. Which is good, because I seem to have entered a stage of extraordinary impatience when it comes to the books I read. I don't recall ever putting down as many books as I've been choosing not to finish of late. I'm trying to roll with it, but it's kind of annoying. In fact, I'm trying hard to put down even more books in an effort to find those winners that grab hold of me and don't let go. But it's hard.
What were your favourite and most hated books of the year?
- Best book of 2010?
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout – a beautifully written portrait of a woman as conveyed through tales about her and others. Also: The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins; The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx.
- Worst book of 2010?
Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham. Though I also thought The Gunslinger was a terrible book, the awful failure of John Grisham to bring a kid's story to life makes it far worse than Stephen King's terrible tale. Also: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins (never before have I felt such entertaining writing was such bad storytelling).
- Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It was so hyped and geeks were in such a frenzy for it, but it was amateurish, unoriginal and flat. Also: The Secret Hour, by Scott Westerfeld, because two of my favourite bookish people recommended it and I found it shallow, slow and predictable.
- Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?
The Book of Fires, by Jane Borodale. Though I requested a review copy of this book from Penguin Canada, I was skeptical. It wasn't billed as “women's fiction”, though other women's fiction books I'd received from Penguin made me want to pour lemon juice on self-inflicted wounds. It's a period piece, too, and that's not generally my thing. But this book is lovely. The setting is rich and almost tangible, the characters believable and the story compelling. I highly recommend it.
- Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
The Hunger Games trilogy. Also: Smilla's Sense of Snow, by Peter Høeg, and The Swarm, by Frank Schätzing.
- Best series you discovered in 2010?
Again with The Hunger Games. Read it. Do it now.
- Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?
This is impossible to answer, since I didn't read more than one work (or trilogy) by an author this year. I'd like to read more by Peter Høeg and Annie Proulx, for sure.
- Most hilarious read of 2010?
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, even though I hated it.
- Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?
The Hunger Games and The Swarm, even though the ending of The Swarm was odd and heavy-handed and rambling.
- Book you most anticipated in 2010?
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson (which, by the way, I found unworthy of the anticipation; in fact, I thought it was a full-on disappointment). Also: Olive Kitteridge.
- Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
The Book of Fires (see right).
- Most memorable character in 2010?
Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games trilogy. Also: Abdulrahman Zeitoun, from Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers (which, though an excellent book and an important recounting, didn't match the brilliance of What Is the What).
- Most beautifully written book in 2010?
The Shipping News. Also: Olive Kitteridge.
- Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary, by Samantha Glen, which tells the tale of the sanctuary where I volunteered earlier this month, and is, ultimately, proof that when you follow your convictions, with honesty and integrity and perseverance, you can achieve wonderful things. Also: The Hunger Games, out of its sheer brilliance.
- Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
The Swarm, which I first discovered in around 2007. And The Shipping News.
Book Blogging in 2010 (optional; I decided to go for it)
- New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010?
YA Book Shelf. I've always enjoyed good YA fiction, and I'm starting to properly devote some thought to it.
- Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?
The Hunger Games trilogy. Also, I did have a lot of fun ripping Theodore Boone; I just don't think I wrote as well as I could have.
- Best discussion you had on your blog?
Related to books, it would be two: 1) There was great discussion about the book and films and books and films on my post about the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; 2) There was a ton of questioning and answering in my giveaway post for Shannon Okey's book The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.
- Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?
I have a terrible memory for blog reading! Sigh.
- Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Twitter interview I did with Shannon Okey for her book (see #3).
- Best moment of book blogging in 2010?
I'm not sure what this means, so I'm just gonna skip it.
- Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Reading books electronically. I knew it existed before 2010, duh, but I didn't do it till I got my iPad. And though the iPad's back-lit screen isn't ideal and I've been totally coveting a dedicated Kobo ebook reader to give my eyes a break, I just love it.