Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Recommendations

So I published my Book List of 2010 and received a few interesting comments.

Room: A NovelThe most interesting (!) was from a friend who pointed out a book that I read and forgot to record. (She remembers because I borrowed it from her!) My goodness...that makes 101. And it happened to be a book that I really enjoyed: Room, by Emma Donoghue.

The other comments were from people who suggested that I highlight the books that were "worth reading" or make a top 10 list.

So I've decided to add to my list and create a "top 20" list. I picked ones that I've been recommending to people all year long. I really enjoyed many others (almost all of them) on my list, but I tried to pick "unusual" or different ones - I don't need to recommend the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to you. Good books, but everyone suggests those!
  1. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde - if you haven't ever read his books, they're funny and creative and different.
  2. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah - I thought this was her best book so far. If you've avoided her books because they look like "chick lit", this one steps a little outside that box.
  3. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf - a story about the Muslim-American experience. I personally found it interesting to compare to the Jewish-American experience.
  4. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn - powerful stuff.
  5. Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian - interesting Holocaust literature that isn't really about Jews, and it isn't BY a Jew.
  6. Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht - although many at the book discussion didn't like this book, I found it readable and interesting.
  7. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa - really hard to read, the (fictionalized) story of Israel from an Arab perspective. I didn't agree with most of the book, I found it disturbing and annoying, but it also felt a little bit important to challenge myself.
  8. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan - better than The Help. Grittier, more difficult, but a more compelling story.
  9. Crashing Through by Robert Kurson - non-fiction about a guy who is blind and has his sight restored. Fascinating.
  10. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - one of my new favorite authors. I read through all her books in about one week.
  11. By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan - Inquisition story, well-written and interesting
  12. For the Win by Cory Doctorow - he writes such interesting (fiction) books about technology - this one is about "gold farming" in massive multiplayer online games.
  13. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares - a change from her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a book about reincarnation and memory, a sweet story.
  14. The Red Thread by Ann Hood - novel about adopting from China, tracing the adopting parents and also the mothers who give up their daughters
  15. A Novel Bookstore by Lawrence Cosse - the librarian handed this one to me and it was a challenge but very worth it.
  16. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons - one of my favorite books of the year - a sweet story about trying to fit in
  17. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - well-written and gripping story of Europe before and after the war
  18. The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada - a brief book about how music has such an impact
  19. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner - really enjoyable book set mostly in Madison, Wisconsin
  20. Room by Emma Donoghue - the one I left off the list! Such an interesting perspective in this novel.
So...what do you think? What books are on your top list from 2010?


Jerry More said...

Yes this books is amazing a very worth reading but i havent read all of this...But my favorite here is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, it really catch my attention.

mitchell james kaplan said...

Thank you so much for the recommendations. Lovely to see BY FIRE, BY WATER in such wonderful company. Mitchell

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy a book list. Thanks!

Danielle said...

Thank you! I love your blog and I ALWAYS appreciate recommendations for something to read.