2010, what a wonderful year!*

*for reading that is!

2010 seems like the longest year of my life. When I look back to what I was reading at the beginning of the year, I can’t believe that that was still 2010.  You mean I only read Anne of Green Gables this year?!  I only just read and fell in love with Blankets in 2010? That wasn’t last year? Are you sure?

Blogging has had its share of ups and downs this year, but I’m pleased to be ending the year on a strong note, with only more hopes for more excellent reading and blogging in 2011.  Over the past few days I have gone back and reread a lot of my posts from the early days of Regular Rumination and I think that my little blog and I have really come into our own over the last few months.

In terms of reading, there have certainly been some hits and some misses, but for the most part, I would say that my reading of 2010 was great.  So here we are, the 2010 Regular Rumination Awards.  These are the books that struck me as particularly wonderful, that still stick with me all these months later, that I think you should be reading to make your 2011 as excellent a reading year as my 2010 was.

To avoid this just being a normal old top ten list, I’ve added made-up superlatives.

The book that was so good, I had to reread it immediately

Is anyone surprised by this choice?  When I read Blankets back on the 2 of January, I was blown away.  When I turned the last page, I went back and started it all over again.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the night rereading and reliving the relationship between Craig and Raina – in fact, I’m pretty sure I’d like to name a future daughter Raina.

What makes Blankets the best graphic novel I read this year?  The drawings absolutely took my breath away, but so did the story.  Thompson weaves together the story of his relationship with his brother and family with the story of his first love.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and changed the way I read graphic novels forever.  I can’t wait for Thompson’s newest, Habibi, to be released.

Honorable mention: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Best Precocious Child Narrator

This book was a total surprise.  I don’t even know how it came into my hands, other than the fact that we all know I’m enticed by a blue cover with adorable pictures on it.  What I wasn’t expecting was one of the most intelligent, endearing middle-grade fiction books I have ever read.  Bapu is Anu’s grandfather and one day, while they are out walking, he collapses.  What follows is Anu’s journey to find his grandfather again after he has passed away.  This book with simultaneously crush your heart and heal it again.  Anu has such great friends and such a great family and such wonderful insights that somehow never seem out of place coming from such a young person.  I want everyone to read this book, it is wonderful.  It deals with such heavy topics, but is also so funny.

Honorable Mention: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Most Underrated Book By A Book Blog Darling

This is a book that I don’t think I ever expected to end up on this list, but here it is: Flight by Sherman Alexie.  Alexie has had his fair share of coverage on a lot of book blogs, especially for his most recent foray into YA with The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  I loved that book, but this one is better.  Most critics didn’t like it, but I say, they are crazy.  This book is great.

Zits, our narrator, is a homeless and poor Indian boy who, in a fit of desperation, decides to blow up a bank.  Instead of dying when the bomb goes off, he is transported back in time to inhabit some famous historical figures.  Yes, the premise is different, but that is why I loved it so much.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  If I had one complaint it would be that this book is too short.  Probably one of the best compliments you can give a book, now that I think about it.

Honorable Mention: A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Best Book Worth All the Hype

Look, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, is my favorite book of 2010, BUT it is a book that I think is worth the hype it received.  Is Franzen the greatest American novelist? Um, no, but he is a great US novelist.  This book so perfectly captures a specific time in our history and has made me even more eager to pick up The Corrections, Franzen’s first novel.  Maybe that will make my list next year?

Honorable Mention: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Best Book I Want To Put in the Hand of Every Girl/Woman I Know

It was tough to choose between the two Robin Brande books I read this year, Fat Cat and Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, and while I thought Mena was such an amazing role model and the combination of religion and science in Freaks of Nature was brilliant, I had to pick Cat.  Maybe it’s because I saw a little bit (okay, a lot) of myself in Cat.  I wish Cat was real so we could be best friends.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I cannot wait for Brande’s next book, because I know it will be amazing.  It’s as simple as that.  Not enough people are reading these books.  Why aren’t you reading these books?  Hmmm?  Why?

Honorable Mention: Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande and Reading Women: How the Great Book of Feminism Changed My Life by Stephanie Staal
Best Memoir in a Year Full of Excellent Memoirs


I read so many great memoirs this year that I didn’t even get a chance to review them all and going back to pick my favorite was difficult.  I finally decided on Flyaway by Suzie Gilbert because it’s just so unique and I learned so much.  Gilbert is a wild bird rehabber and her journey is just so interesting and full of humor.  I dare you to read Gilbert’s memoir and not be charmed.

Honorable mention: Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli

Biggest Disappointment

I don’t think Great House by Nicole Krauss is a bad book, but I had such high expectation for it and it floundered under those expectations.  I don’t know if that’s my fault or the fault of the book.  It was such an even book that it was even more disappointing.  There was real greatness here, but it was ruined (for me) by the inconsistencies.

Honorable Mention: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

But let’s end this on a happy note…

Favorite Classic of 2010

Mrs. Dalloway is beautiful and contains easily some of the most amazing writing… ever.  I would have quoted the entire book if I could have.  I’m so glad the Woolf In Winter readalong made me read it, because I loved it.

Honorable  Mention: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (a very close second!)

2010 was a great year for reading, but here’s to hoping 2011 is even better!  Happy New Year, everyone!  I’ll see you next year, lolol.


21 thoughts on “2010, what a wonderful year!*

  1. I often experience that feeling of “was that only this year?” with my favourite books. And my favourite music too. I guess they become such a part of me that I can’t believe they haven’t been there all along.

    I want to reach for the shelf and give my copy of Blankets a hug. And I trust you, so I need to read On Chesil Beach asap 😛

    1. I’m pretty sure that the night I finished Blankets, I slept with it in my bed like a stuffed animal 😉 Yes! Please read On Chesil Beach, because I think you would LOVE it.

  2. I agree with you that this year has felt LONG LONG LONG except for me it’s more like OH GOD WHEN WILL THIS YEAR FINALLY BE OVER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. 😀 I’m glad you’ve read such wonderful books this year Lu!

    1. I feel that way a little bit to, I must admit. The books were good, but they weren’t amazing. Of course, all the books on this list (except for the disappointments) were absolutely amazing!

  3. Lu I am right with you when it comes to Blankets. I read it last year and had to run out and purchase my own copy. It is such an amazing and beautiful read.

    I was worried about Great House not being as good as History of Love. Guess it’s a good thing that I skipped it.

    Also, I have never heard of Robin Brande. I’ll have to seek out her books.

    1. Anything by Robin Brande is something I’ve been pushing on people this year. Need a great book to read? ROBIN BRANDE. I hope I see her on more blogs next year!

  4. What a great list of books! And I really enjoy your format 🙂 So many of the books you mentioned, and the ones that got honorable mentions as well, are on my wishlist! Now you make me want to buy them even more.. Especially Harry, A History and the Brande books. I hope your 2011 will be just as good a reading your and more!

  5. What a wonderfully eclectic list! Love your topics and your choices for each category!

    I actually feel like 2010 has flown by but I suspect that is just because I am getting old. With each passing year, things just seem to go faster!

    1. You know, after I had done this kind of organically without thinking about WHO really made the list, I was really pleased to go back and see that I didn’t fall into that same pitfall of more famous “best of” lists that stick to our white, male author friends. I didn’t really try to do that, it just happened. I agree that things have gone by so fast recently, but this year has just dragged by, and not always in a great way! It’s been a lot of waiting around for things to happen. But in the next year a lot of things are going to be happening.

  6. This may sound ridiculously cheesy, but there is a real part of me that feels, “A project I co-hosted led to someone putting Mrs. Dalloway on their best-of-the-year list! My life is now worth living.” (OK, my life was already worth living, but now it’s MORE SO.) Seriously, glad you had such a wonderful reading year, Lu, and I loved your awards format for this post.

  7. Lalalalalalalalala…I have to read Great House for the Indie Lit Awards, so I’m trying to forget what I just read about it. I’m not that excited about reading it to begin with, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a chore. I need to get past that, though, so I can be a fair judge!

  8. I really regret not participating more in Woolf in Winter. But I did get to read To the Lighthouse and LOVED it!

    If you’re interested in another excellent memoir, I recommend Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road, another one of my 2010 reads.

  9. I just got Blankets from the library and hope to read it this weekend. I’m glad to hear you still feel so strongly! I also completely agree about Nicole Krauss and The Great House. I’m looking forward to The History of Love in January, and I hope that one lives up to expectations.

  10. I super loved Blankets, too. It didn’t make my list only because I read some other greater ones, but if I allowed myself to make the list longer it would’ve snuck in there. I also read The Corrections recently and didn’t like it. Although it probably is just me as so many others have loved it. Sad that Great House was a disappointment for you. I still really want to read it because Krauss is just wonderful. Also, I’m so happy that Woolf in Winter has been rewarding for you. That was an awesome two months! Happy new year, Lu! (Whatever happened to Clover Bee and Reverie? Lol.)

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