Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Book Lists Pt. 7: Top Tens

*Back to Introductory Post; Pt. 1; Pt. 2; Pt 3; Pt 4; Pt 5; Pt 6
*Books are linked to my reviews, if available. Otherwise, they're linked to Amazon. I have read all of these books and written reviews for most, but haven't posted many of them yet. As I do, I will update this page.

*The last 2010 Book List posts! It's been so much fun doing them, but I'm so happy it's finally done. I started working on these lists in late November. Since that time, I think I've put at least 30 hours into them. A much more ambitious project than I anticipated. But I've loved doing it. This post is a top ten list of my favorite books and music, since I love music almost as much as books.

Top 10 Books
*Always a special category. One is favorite and it goes down from there (although the rankings are really a bit fuzzy). Unfortunately, I don't have reviews for a lot of these books; I read many before I started blogging.

1. Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Beautiful, complex, haunting, romantic, heart-breaking, uplifting. No single word can describe a book this wonderful. It’s extremely confusing at first, but if you stick with it, you will be in love with Taylor Markham and her world. Taylor represents her school in its annual turf war with the Townies and the Cadets. This year’s war is full of battles, friendships, and new love. Interspersed throughout the book are excerpts of a novel written by Hannah, Taylor’s housemother. You’ll be amazed how everything fits together. (Amazon)

2. Anna And The French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Don't let the awful title keep you away. One of the best contemporary fiction reads in years. Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. Mired at first by culture shock and loneliness, she quickly finds a good group of friends and a really cool guy. St. Clair is one of the most genuine, nice, funny guys in YA literature. Their friendship/relationship goes through as many ups and downs as a roller coaster, but it still manages to feel real and enticing. (Amazon)

3. Paranormalcy - Kiersten White
If the thought of another angst-ridden paranormal romance makes you gag, check out Paranormalcy. Evie: Kick-butt vamp/wereworlf/hag fighter who also loves anything pink and longs to go to high school to have her own locker. Lend: Handsome, smart, intriguing, genuinely nice love interest. Plot manages to be light and fun, but also thought-provoking. Are the “good guys” really good? Who or what is Evie? Who can she trust? One action-packed scene after another. (Amazon)

4. The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
Beautiful tale of grief. You will spend much of the book laughing and crying at the same time. Reeling from her sister’s death, grief threatens to overtake Lenny. She seeks comfort in her sister’s boyfriend Toby in ways she probably shouldn’t. She is also attracted to a new kid, Joe, who can take her away from her grief, if only for a short time. Joe is an incredible guy: sweet, a talented musician, cute...just perfect. Wonderful use of poetry throughout the book. You really feel Lennie’s grief, confusion, and love.

5. At Home - Bill Bryson
Take a tour through Bill Bryson's 150 year old home, room by room. Learn about topics loosely related, if at all, to these rooms, including fashion, cholera, rodent intelligence, and much more. Bryson could make an essay about wallpaper drying engaging and witty. You'll laugh hysterically at all of Bryson's dry British quips and learn a great deal in the process. (Amazon)

6. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
Human falls in love with werewolf. Grace is fascinated by a particular wolf. Sam is a werewolf in his final year of transformation.When they meet in Sam’s human form, their love is instantaneous and immutable. Can they stay together somehow? Beautiful, atmospheric writing. The prose evokes a cold, gray winter day - very fitting with the book's setting. Fabulous use of lyrics and Rielke poems to hype up the romance. Haunting, sad, sweet, angsty, wonderful. (Amazon)

7. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
Samantha is a stereotypical popular mean girl with a perfect life...until it ends. Now, she has to relive her last day over and over until she gets it right. If only she knew what "right" was supposed to be. See Samantha go through the stages of grief - anger, sadness, acceptance. Read as she finds the boy she should have been with all along and try to make amends for the cruel treatment of her and her friends. (Amazon)

8. Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Ethan is entranced with the mysterious, dark new girl. Lena is a caster, a witch, who is on the cusp of discovering whether she is innately good or evil. Full of great side characters like Link, Macon, Amma, and Liv and a warm, slow, mysterious Southern Gothic setting. Ethan learns that his and Lena's worlds are more linked that he could have imagined as the series continues. (Amazon)

9. Cutting For Stone - Abraham Verghese
An Indian nun surprisingly gives birth to twins in an Ethiopian hospital, fathered by a British doctor. When she dies and the father disappears, two Indian doctors raise the twins Marion and Shiva. Told from Marion's point of view, follow his life from turbulent childhood in politically unstable Ethiopia to his young adulthood as a resident in the U.S. Fascinating mixture of Ethiopian and Indian cultures. Three-dimensional characters you'll grow to love - from Ghosh and Hema (the adoptive parents), to eccentric Shiva, to kind, damaged, everyman Marion. (Amazon)

10. North Of Beautiful - Justina Chen Headley
Terra has beautiful hair, a slim, toned body, and a gorgeous face...only it's marred by a huge purple birthmark. She has a horrible, emotionally abusive father, a broken mother, and two brothers who never come home. A chance meeting of Jacob, a goth Chinese-American boy, and his mother changes Terra's life forever. Jacob is funny, confident, happy, and encouraging. He and his mom bring Terra and her mom out of their shells and on the road to self-discovery. Beautiful, lyrical writing that is sometimes painfully real. (Amazon)

Top Ten Covers
*Until I became active in the blogging community I never cared about covers. Now, they have a fairly big impact in how likely I am to pick up a book.
*I haven't necessarily read these books. I'll link to a review if I have one (the only one I have a review for so far is Infinite Days)

White Cat by Holly Black
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Deadly Little Games by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Top Ten Albums (Plus Favorite Songs From Those Albums)

1. Sigh No More - Mumford and Sons

  • “The Cave,” “Little Lion Man”

2. Light Chasers - Cloud Cult

  • “You’ll Be Bright,” “Running With The Wolves”

3. High Violet - The National

  • “Blood Buzz Ohio,” “Lemon World”

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack

  • “Heavy In Your Arms” by Florence & The Machine; “Chop & Change” by The Black Keys

5. Together - New Pornographers

  • “Crash Years,” “My Shepherd”

6. Women and Country - Jakob Dylan (Bob Dylan's son)

  • “Everybody’s Hurting”

7. Gorilla Manor - Local Natives

  • “Airplanes,” “Sun Hands”

8. July Flame - Laura Veirs

  • “July Flame,” “Sleeper In The Valley”

9. Courage Of Others - Midlake

  • “Acts Of Man”

10. I Speak Because I Can - Laura Marling

  • “Devil’s Spoke,” “Rambling Man”
Honorable Mention: Oh My God, Charlie Darwin - The Low Anthem (2009 album but new to me in 2010)
  • “To Ohio,” “Omgcd”

Top Ten Songs (From Albums Other Than The Top Ten)

1. In Sleep - Lissie (Catching A Tiger album)
2. Baby Lee - Teenage Fanclub (Shadows album)
3. Heirloom - Sufjan Stevens (Age Of Adz album)
4. Wait So Long - Trampled by Turtles (Palomino album) - Minnesota bluegrass
5. King Of Spain - Tallest Man On Earth (Wild Hunt album)
6. Beat The Devil’s Tattoo - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Beat The Devil's Tattoo album)
7. Beg Steal & Borrow - Ray LaMontagne (God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise album)
8. Mine - Taylor Swift (Speak Now album)
9. Pappillon - The Editors (In This Light & On This Evening album)
10. Dog Days Are Over - Florence & The Machine (Lungs album)

Honorable Mention: Vesuvius - Sufjan Stevens (Age Of Adz album)


  1. Thanks for the great top tens Alison!
    I love Dog Days are Over...

    The covers you picked are so beautiful, especially Halo and Infinite Days.

    Your blog is so utterly beautiful! I cant take my eyes off it, great job!

    Happy new year and happy blogging

  2. What a great way to end your series of Book List posts! You do have such great taste in books. Jellicoe Road was one of my #1 picks too and Bill Bryson is just so gosh darn hilarious! My husband and I read A Walk in the Woods out loud to each other on our honeymoon and just could not stop laughing.

    Thanks for putting so much time into making such fabulous lists for us all to refer back to!

  3. Yay for Anna and the French Kiss! I LOVED that book so much:) And I quite enjoyed Paranormalcy as well. I'm looking forward to The Sky is Everywhere and Jelicoe Road, everyone has raved about those:) Love the covers you picked too, Firelight has to be my favorite, I can't wait to see what book 2 will look like! Your lists are unbelievable Alison:)

  4. Great books! I've heard great things about Jelicoe Road. Fat Vampire sounds like a funny book to read.!

  5. I love the covers you picked. Halo, Firelight, Pegasus, and Nightshade are some of my favorite covers from last year. Unfortunately, of the two I read I was sort of let down by the books (Firelight and Pegasus).

  6. I have to say I think Halo's cover is one of the prettiest covers out there! I could look at it forever! I haven't read the book yet, I've ordered it and now I am waiting to it to get here. But it's so beautiful!

  7. I LOVE Top Ten's Lists!! haha
    I really don't know why, but they just seem so straightforward and organized :)
    I like all the Deadly Little Secret covers, and Fat Vampire is really cute also.

  8. Just discovered your lists -- and I think my entire evening may just vanish! I totally love lists too!

    Love your blog as well - so pretty! I am a new follower!


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