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?

Through Black Spruce: A novel of self discovery

The first book completed in my “26 in 52 challenge” (#26in52 on Twitter) is Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. This one is the follow up to Three Day Road (review here) and takes place in contemporary times.

For me this was quite an adjustment from Three Day Road which took place during the First World War. The beginning of the book was slow-going as I got used to the time change, but thankfully Joseph Boyden’s great characters kept me interested and wanting more.

Penguin Books‘ review of the book summarizes it best: When beautiful Suzanne Bird disappears, her sister Annie, a loner and hunter, is compelled to search for her, leaving behind their uncle Will, a man haunted by loss.While Annie travels from Toronto to New York, from modelling studios to A-list parties,Will encounters dire troubles at home.

Will’s storyline spoke to me a lot more than his niece Annie’s. It was likely because his experiences seemed real and right in front of my face, especially as his past was revealed as the book went on. Annie’s story was a little more complex, searching for this sister that appeared to be a phantom at times, always eluding her. The lack of background story for Suzanne probably lead to that disconnect, and the hints and clues to who she was, wasn’t enough for me to feel as Annie felt.

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.

Boyden says in an interview at the back of the book that he plans on making a third book in this series. I’m excited to see where he goes with the Bird clan. As with this one I still hold out hope that we get to know the story of Xavier a little more. I’d be interested to see how the character transitioned to life after the war, especially since decades separate this story from his canoe journey with Niska. Here’s to hoping.

Have you read Through Black Spruce? What are your thoughts on it?

***Edit: I forgot to rate it! 3.5/5

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