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Books Read in 2010

The new year has begun (and the new decade, which is still hard to get my head around.) What avid reader doesn’t begin the new year wanting to make a list of the books read. Let’s see how long I can keep this up. (I’m betting on March.)

Update, November.

Wow. Um, okay, that’s 100 books. Of which only two on the list were children’s picture books, and they were lengthy-narrative based ones. Book reviewing for the Ledger has kept me busy, and I still have books from BEA on my shelf, and interesting books to review. So, hooray! Let’s see how far over 100 I can make it by the end of the year.

All books marked with a * were assigned by the books editor at the Star-Ledger. Bold are YA

  1. Ruby and the Stone Age Diet by Martin Millar. A fast read, and I’m not sure what I thought of it. Odd, and disjointed, but magical and colorful. I think what made it almost lyrical was the fractured, sometimes mythic imagery, and the fact that Millar seemed never to use contractions, not for dialogue, not for narration.
  2. Under the Covers and between the Sheets: Facts and Trivia about the World’s Greatest Books by C. Alan Joyce and Sarah Janssen. A collection of quotations and odd facts about books and writers (Ernest Hemingway stood up to write at his desk, Mark Twain couldn’t stand Pride and Prejudice) that was probably not intended to be read cover-to-cover. But I did. Fun!
  3. Faces of the Gone: A Mystery by Brad Parks. Set in Newark, and written by a former Star-Ledger reporter, this was a gritty, fun mystery and a fast read. Touches of humor tempering scenes that got somewhat grisly, reminded me of Last Call, by James Grippando. I think it’s the start of a series (what mystery isn’t, lately?) and I’d definitely read more.
  4. * Betrayal of the Blood Lily- Lauren Willig (may have loved it too much to review! ack)
  5. *Decoding Love: Why It Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince, and Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction- Andrew Trees
  6. * Whom Not To Marry- Father Pat Connor
  7. * Us: Americans Talk About Love (edited by John Bowe) A collection of interviews about first love, or most important love.
  8. *Through The Heart- Kate Morgenstern (a mystery that is only sort of a love story)
  9. Rosanna of the Amish- Joseph W. Yoder. Picked it up at a book sale for a dollar. Anthropologically fascinating look at Amish culture and beliefs. Reminded me of Little House on the Prairie with a different religious outlook.
  10. *A Love Alchemist’s Notebook- Jessica Shepherd. Being a book reviewer leads to the oddest reading choices.
  11. *Black Angels- Linda Beatrice Brown
  12. *Sweethearts of Rhythm-Marilyn Nelson
  13. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker- Leanna Renee Hieber. Strangely beautiful indeed! Gothic and magical.
  14. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation- Lauren Willig (a lovely reread!)
  15. The Masque of the Black Tulip- Lauren Willig
  16. The Deception of the Emerald Ring- Lauren Willig
  17. Nothing but a Smile- Steve Arnick. Review here
  18. The Pint Man- Steve Rushin
  19. Dawn of the Dreadfuls- Steve Hockensmith. Prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Review here.
  20. Alone in the Kitchen With An Eggplant– edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler. Here’s my review.
  21. The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie. I reviewed it here.
  22. In the Bleak Midwinter- Julia Spencer-Fleming. Reviewed here.
  23. The Seasoning of a Chef- Doug Psaltis. Reviewed here.
  24. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey Reviewed here. Loved it!
  25. Epitaph Road, by David Patineaude,
  26. The Sapphire Flute– Karen E Hoover
  27. Tender Morsels– Margo Lanagan
  28. To Come and Go Like Magic, Kate Rickard Fawcett
  29. Choppy-Socky Blues Ed Briant
  30. Over The End Line– Alfred C. Martino
  31. Ashes– Kathryn Lasky
  32. Finally– Wendy Mass
  33. Rikers High, Paul Volponi
  34. The Secret Year Jennifer R. Hubbard
  35. Saving Maddie Varian Johnson
  36. The River, by Mary Jane Beaufrand
  37. Two by Mike Lupica. The Batboy, and
  38. Shoot Out, a Comeback Kids Novel.
  39. Spitfire Women of World War II- Giles Whittell. Reviewed here.
  40. Julie and Julia- Julie Powell. Loved it! though aspic scares me.
  41. Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegsar. ARC from Allison at Hyperion. Review coming soon.
  42. On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America
  43. Little Tiny Teeth.- Aaron Elkins. Gideon Oliver mystery, set in the Amazon. Good mystery though I could’ve done without the bit with the spider the size of a beagle. Brr! Taking Amazon vacation off my to-do list.
  44. Plain Kate- Erin Bow. Got an advance copy at Book Expo. It was excellent. Pre-order this if you love a good magical tale.
  45. Girl Parts Review here (posting 8/1/10)
  46. Diary of a Confessions Queen-Kathy Carmichael. Reviewed here.
  47. Shelf Discovery- Lizzie Skurnick
  48. Bewitching Season– Marissa Doyle. Just stayed up WAY too late reading it. Fantastic, sophisticated YA, like a hybrid of Lauren Willig and Tamora Pierce. Smart late-Regency romance, with magic! Totally worth being sleepy tomorrow.
  49. The Science of Sherlock Holmes by E.J. Wagner. Fascinating tracing the roots of forensics and criminology.
  50. Betraying Season- Marissa Doyle. The sequel to Bewitching Season (see above) and just as good. Wish there were more!
  51. The Black Sheep- Georgette Heyer. On a rec from Keri. Once it got going, I loved the banter.
  52. For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage by Tara Parker Pope. Reviewed here.
  53. An Irish Country Girl- Patrick Taylor. Reviewed here
  54. My Life From Scratch- Gesine Bullock-Prado Reviewed here.
  55. The Tenth Muse: My Life In Food- Judith Jones
  56. Little Vampire Women- Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina. I should really write a review of this.
  57. Frederica- Georgette Heyer. More banter and costumes!
  58. The Magicians’ Guild- Trudi Canavan Review here.
  59. The Poet Prince- Kathleen McGowan Review here.
  60. Fever Pitch- Nick Hornby. I may be obsessed with the wrong sort of football to appreciate this, and/or insufficiently male.
  61. The Perfect Summer: England before the Storm. – Juliet Nicolson. Great social history, found in Frank’s book stash.
  62. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress- Rhoda Janzen Reviewed here.
  63. Brain Candy- Garth Sundem Reviewed here. Confession- I didn’t read this linearly, but bounced around the pages, checking out the facts and illusions. So I don’t have a sense of having “finished” it entirely.
  64. I Was Told There’d Be Cake- Sloane Crossley
  65. The Charming Quirks of Others– Alexander McCall Smith. Review forthcoming.
  66. A Fierce Radiance- Lauren Belfer. Review here.
  67. I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti- Giulia Melucci
  68. Barnacle Love- Anthony De Sa. Megan Fishman at Algonquin sent me this. It was magical and engrossing, but I’m still not sure what I thought of it. I owe it a longer review.
  69. Gods Behaving Badly- Marie Phillips. Whee! Such fun!
  70. *Running The Books- Avi Steinberg. Still not sure what I thought of it, but I need to write something!
  71. The Shadow of Albion- Rosemary Edghill and Andre Norton. I wanted to like this. Didn’t. Elements I like (magic, fantasy, Regency period) failed to gel. Am spoiled by L. Willig and M. Doyle.
  72. *Petty Magic- Camille deAngelis. Wow I loved loved loved it. Maybe too much to review!
  73. *The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up by Barbara K. Hofer and Abigail Sullivan Moore
  74. Between a Heart and a Rock Place- Pat Benatar
  75. Arthur: The Seeing Stone: Kevin Crossley-Holland.  Review here.
  76. Starting From Scratch- Susan Gilbert-Collins. The nice folks at Simon and Schuster sent me this to review.
  77. The Novice- Trudi Canavan. Continues where #58 on my list left off. One more book to go- why is everything in fantasy a trilogy?
  78. Prime- Poppy Z. Brite.  Picks up where Liquor left off, with G-Man and Rickey running a restaurant in New Orleans. Mouth-watering descriptions of food, this time steak as well as fusion cuisine. Oh, and good, sordid murder mystery. Finding a mystery this well done is rare.
  79. Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture- Daniel Radosh. Review here.
  80. How’s Your Dad: Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent- Zoe Street Howe Review here
  81. The Purity Myth- Jessica Valenti.
  82. I Still Dream About You- Fannie Flagg. (will be released Nov 9.) Tremendous fun- eccentric midlife ladies running a real estate agency. Cozily improbable plot twists. A fun, fast read that made me smile.
  83. How Did You Get This Number- Sloane Crosley Reviewed here.
  84. Soul Food- Poppy Z. Brite. The third in her series about G-Man and Rickey, two New Orleans chefs. And possibly the one teasing me with food the most. Not only is there good, classic New Orleans fare, but interesting fusion cuisine tantalizing me on almost every page. And a bit of a scandal and mystery to drive the plot. Good foodie lit always makes me want to jump into the pages and eat what the characters are eating!
  85. White Cat- Holly Black. Review here.
  86. Blackout- Connie Willis. Review here.
  87. *Dracula In Love- Karen Essex
  88. *Haunted Legends- Edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (picked this up at BEA and then put it into the spooky books roundup for the Ledger.)
  89. *The Season of Risks- Susan Hubbard
  90. *Frankenstein’s Monster- Susan Heyboer O’Keefe. Resounding…. blah.
  91. The High Lord- Trudi Canavan. Wow! The first one in the series took a while to grab me, but the characters won me over. I think I did not so much read the next two volumes as I inhaled them. That was some good fantasy writing.  Great supporting characters, interesting world politics, and above all, actual motivation rather than Good V Evil.
  92. *Promise Me- Richard Paul Evans. A little bit Wonderful Life, a little bit Lifetime. I’d like, just once, to read a Christmas book that was neither mawkish nor cynical.
  93. *Mischief of the Mistletoe- Lauren Willig So much fun! A Christmas romance for a character who’s appeared in Willig’s other books. Highly goofy and excellent.
  94. Buffalo Gal- Laura Pedersen Review here
  95. *The Christmas Cookie Club- Anne Pearlman. Yum!
  96. *Christmas with Tucker- Gregory D. Kincaid.
  97. *Brain Jack- Brian Falkner. Like YA William Gibson. Fun adventure.
  98. *Monster High- Lisa Harrison. Like… Gossip Girl meets the Munsters. Only more trite.
  99. Don’t Shoot the Dog!- Karen Pryor Review here.
  100. The Blind Side- Michael Lewis. Review here.
  101. * You Better Not Cry- Augusten Burroughs. While I wouldn’t have expected holiday cheer from Augusten Burroughs, the one-night-stand with Santa was a bit much. Pass the eggnog. And the brain bleach.
  102. Night of the Living Trekkies- Kevin David Anderson and Sam Spall. Quirk Books Review coming soon.
  103. The Last Sherlock Holmes Story- Michael Dibdin. Review coming soon.
  104. A Mango Shaped Space- Wendy Mass.  About a girl with synesthesia. I need to think more about this one. I didn’t know the experience of synesthesia meant actually seeing colors with music and numbers. I thought they were just a categorizing associative system. Funky.
  105. Double Negative- David Carkeet. A linguist turns into a detective after being framed for a murder in his department. Phonemes help solve a crime. Yes I bought this before I started spending time with a certain grad student.
  106. Arthur: At the Crossing Places. Kevin Crossley Holland.
  107. All Clear- Connie Willis. Sequel to Blackout. So very good. I think I’ve read a lot of World War II historical fiction this year, but Willis’ workdview is certainly the most innovative.
  108. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and my Journey From Homeless to Harvard- Liz Murray. Liked this more than I expected. It was tough in spots, to read about what she was going through, but the outcome she was writing toward, and her reliance on herself and her group of friends, made this less harrowing to read.
  109. Away From Home- Lillian Carter. President Carter’s mother joined the Peace Corps at the age of 67, and went to India to serve. These letters reveal her dedication, generosity and her vulnerability.
  110. The Midnight Band of Mercy- Michael Blaine. I read this book with a brief interruption. Excellent mystery of 19th century New York. A bit ghoulish in spots. The level of conspiracy theory that drove the plot home turned into a Byzantine tangle that strained belief. Old New York books like this make me want a pint at McSorley’s.
  111. My Most Excellent Year- Steve Kluger. A re-read and every bit as good as it was the first time. I love the characters, the dialogue, and, just everything about this book.

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