Top 5 books I’ve read in 2010

I love to read. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this clear over the last while, and if you’re regular reader of my blog you’ll see my many book reviews. I tried to read 26 books in 52 weeks, but it appears that may have been too lofty of a goal – it might have something with me reading books that are 800+ pages too.

Anyway, I think I’ve read enough to compile a serious top 5 list of my favourites. This is a list of the top books I’ve read this year; they didn’t necessarily come out this year. I’ve included a link to the previous reviews I’ve given so as not to repeat myself again and again:

5. The Girl Who Played With Fire

This is the second book in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and I felt the character development of Lisbeth Salander was much better than the first, where she was still a bit of a mystery. Find out more from my review which I posted on July 23.

4. Gratitude

A great World War II novel that takes place in Hungary, which I liked, because anytime I read something, fictional or non-fictional, that happens outside of countries like Germany, England or the United States, I have a better appreciation of what happened during the war. Here’s my review which I posted on February 24.

3. Secret Daughter

An amazing book about the culture clash that occurs between couples coming from very different backgrounds and how that can affect families as the children of those couples grow and want to adapt to one culture or the other. My review of “Secret Daughter” was posted on September 29.

2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

An amazing story about a father who made the decision to give up his first born daughter because she had Down’s Syndrome. He lied to his wife and told her she was a still born, but for years he held the secret, and his wife went into a deep depression, which affected her love for the boy they later had together. You can read the rest of my review, which I posted on May 5.

1. Through Black Spruce

In 2009, Joseph Boyden’s first novel “Three Day Road” made it to number two on my top five list of fiction books, in 2010, he’s improved on that with “Through Black Spruce”.

To steal from my earlier review of the book (my first review of 2010), “This is story is a universal one of self discovery. The path the characters take aren’t ones they’d want to go through, but because of those experiences they have a  stronger understanding of who they are and what’s important to them, in the end.”

I’m anxiously awaiting the planned third book in this series, and who knows, if it comes out in 2011, it may make the top of the pile again!

What is your top book you read this year? Did any of the books I read make it?

My review of Gratitude

I’m starting to think I have a thing for World War II novels. Every time I’m in a book store and read the summary on the back I have the urge to pick it up. This was the case with Gratitude by Joseph Kertes, which is book number 4 in my 26 in 52 Challenge.

Gratitude isn’t your typical America comes to save the day kind of book. It takes place in Hungary, mainly in Budapest, and follows a family of Hungarian Jews who, along with the rest of their country have gone relatively unscathed from the war that’s been going on around them throughout Europe. Eventually though, Hitler and his ever expanding empire begins to take over and life as they knew it was turned upside down.

With a couple of exceptions it feels as if everything is tied off too nicely in the end. I’m not saying the end results weren’t possible, but it all just seemed too convenient (Sorry for the vagueness – don’t want to give anything away). That being said, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I had a real sense of what the characters were experiencing, and the writing allowed me to clearly visualize their surroundings. Whenever I’m looking for a book I look for Penguin Books because I’ve read quite a few well-written, great character-driven novels from them lately.

I give Gratitude a 3.5/5

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