Best of 2010: The Books! [FaN Cheers]

Yay, we’ve come down to my favorite time of the year, when chins hit chests and we spend a week pr two firmly gazing at our navels. Over the course of the next two weeks on FaN, we’ll be weighing in on our favorite books, movies, music, TV shows, and moments of the soon-to-be former year. And we’re kicking it all off with my favorite category; books!

Ernessa says: The good news is that I read 52 books this year, and will probably read 52 more next year because it was such an awesome challenge. The bad news is that it made it very hard to pick one book as my favorite. I’m choosing WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okorafor because it combines a bunch of elements that I really love : a compelling plot, a powerful heroine, sci-fi, and an epic love story. But I’d  also like to give special shout-outs to two pieces of amazing historical fiction: GLORIOUS by Bernice L. McFadden and WENCH by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

Our Fiction Picks

I’m actually a fan of The Hunger Games….I was excited to read the last book of the series MOCKINGJAY.

Alex and Emmy from Dating Ell-A

32 CANDLES :-)  Too brown nosey? (I LOVEd that book though.)  My other favorite book of this year was LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleve.  It is a beautifully written story about really horrible event(s).  I highly recommend.

Amy Robinson from Tall Drink of Nerd

THE HELP because I’ve been hearing about this book for a while and the idea of the book seemed like a subject I wouldn’t enjoy reading. I was wrong. All the characters were interesting and there was a great deal of care in telling this story. I loved it. Also have to give a shout out to 32 CANDLES. It was a major page turner for me and Ernessa wrote beautiful prose.

Debra Goykhman from NewlyNested

CHRONIC CITY. A former child star engaged to an astronaut who is trapped in space gets really stoned with a washed up obsessive rock critic, a squatter’s rights activist turned power broker, and a self-loathing ghost writer in an alt-universe NYC that is being destroyed by a tiger. Or maybe it isn’t. Sounds awesome? It is.

Eric Sims from California Seething

Torn between two YA novels. The first is WHO FEARS DEATH by Nnedi Okorafor, set in post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa about a wonderfully powerful female sorceress who fights to stop the genocide of her people. Okorafor reduced this book from a 700 page draft to a 300-ish page novel. Impressive, no? I’m terrible at writing book reviews, but I can’t recommend it enough. The other book I really dug was The Hunger Games (Trilogy).

Gudrun Cram-Drach from Secret Life of an Expat

HELL HOUSE: THE AWAKENING by Chad Feehan and Ryan Dixon.  This story would have never had happened, had I not intervened all those years ago.  We’ll save that story for a behind-the-scenes special!

Jersey Joe from Kicking Back With Jersey Joe

I have to admit that I’m such a slow reader I spend most of my time reading books that have been published years ago. There’s so much catching up to do, I don’t understand how people like Book Simple’s Amy Brown can hack their way through a new book every week. Excluding homer favorites 32 CANDLES and HELL HOUSE: THE AWAKENING, the one new novel I really enjoyed this year was Johnathan Franzen’s FREEDOM, which I picked up from and listened to. It’s probably a boring choice since everyone is reading it and praising it, but I did find it addictive and engaging. I must have walked 20 miles getting through the last few chapters. Had I been reading it, I wouldn’t have been able to put it down, but listening to it I found that it couldn’t put me down.

Joe Rusin from On the Contrary

Raoul gave me a very adorable children’s picture book for Valentine’s Day this year called HENRY IN LOVE. It is by Peter McCarty. I love his illustrations!

Missy Kulik from Dork Lifestyle

1. THE SERIALIST by David Gordon
2. Aftershock:The Next Economy & America’s Future by Robert B. Reich
3. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

R.B. Ripley from The Indie Chronicles

Along with the canonical masterwork that was Hell House: The Awakening, 2010 was filled with a bounty of great titles. I will always fondly remember reading Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow, Zachary Mason’s The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Ian McEwan’s Solar, Ben Macintyre’s Operation Mincemeat, Adam Ross’ Mr. Peanut, Jon Banville’ The Infinities, David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch-22. However, no single book gave me more reading pleasure per page than David Gordon’s THE SERIALIST. Gordon’s novel about a hack ghost writer who becomes involved in a series of murders after agreeing to ghostwrite a serial killer’s memoir is a dazzlingly mix of comedy, thriller, and post modern game playing that is wholly accessible and totally unputdownable. Read. It. Now.

Ryan Dixon from The Ryan Dixon Line and FIERCE ANTICIPATION

Well besides 32 Candles, I also adored returning to San Francisco by reading MARY ANN IN AUTUMN: A Tales of the City Novel by Armistead Maupin. This new installment is a great addition to the series of books. It was such a treat checking in with all the same characters I have grown to love, and I even got a few surprising visits from the past I wasn’t expecting. I love reading these books. Armistead Maupin paints such a lovely and realistic portrait of my favorite city!

Zack Bunker from Tall Glass of Shame

Our Non-Fiction Picks


THE DISAPPEARING SPOON, which goes through the history of the world using its smallest components — the elements.  It’s a phenomenal read, traveling between Nobel prize gossip to the birth of a star with the same good humor and excellent writing.

Amy Brown from Book Simple

SOCCERNOMICS (it’s like Moneyball, except for, you know, soccer)  The short version is that the U.S will one day dominate.  Yeah.  A close second is Franzen’s FREEDOM, but since I haven’t finished reading it yet I’m leery of giving my stamp of approval.

Josh Pullin from Stay At Home Nerd

THE LOST DOGS: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant. I wish every Michael Vick fan would read this.

Kelli Bielema from Fierce in Seattle

WAR by Sebastian Junger.  Regardless of how you feel about US involvement in Afghanistan, this is a stunning look at the daily lives of soldiers on the front lines.

Michael Kass from Single White Nerd

I choose SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK by David Sedaris. Why? Because he laughed at my joke while signing my book.  I like him.

Roya Hamadani from Fierce Foodie

And I Swear I Didn’t Pay Folks To Say This…

32 CANDLES — but I’m a little biased about it. I read another book called SUPERSONIC, that I enjoyed but I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it yet.

CH from Buy Me This

32 Candles. Don’t look at me that way, it’s true. While Just Kids by Patty Smith was a close second it’s a memoir and I still prefer fiction to biographies.

Kelly Lett from Nerd In Transition

Well that’s a big tres-duh, mon cheries: 32 CANDLES, of course!

Dr. Miro Guldesky from Ask Dr. Miro

32 CANDLES of course! And I am not just saying that because my BFF wrote the book. Davie, the main character, is a trip! I laughed, I cried and I wanted to slap her! I read the book in two sittings and I throughly enjoyed it!

Monique King-Viehland from Political Physics

Click on any of the book titles or pics to buy all of these books at Amazon!

featured image credit: Shakespearesmonkey