A Look Back: 2010 Reading Endeavors

Jaime over at the Perpetual Page Turner created this survey to see what fellow book bloggers had completed this year. Here are highlights from my 2010 literary journey:

1. Best book of 2010? Technically, I'm cheating because I have about 50 pages to go, but I have to say that Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs has captured my heart.  I also found my favorite novel, The History of Love, this year.

2. Worst book of 2010? I started Julia Glass's The Widower's Tale and Paul Murray's Skippy Dies, and couldn't finish either.  I loved Glass's Three Junes, so I was surprised that her story, which I found typical, and rather boring, just didn't grab me.  Skippy Dies featured so many superfluous details that I couldn't imagine finishing. 

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? Daphne Kalotay's Russian Winter.  I haven't completely thrown in the towel with this one. I just haven't been drawn in yet.  I was even more upset because not only did I really anticipate the title's release, but I also WON it on Goodreads! 

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex.  I didn't know much about the novel going in, and walked away very satisfied.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?  Nicole Krauss's The History of Love.  I literally can't praise this novel enough. 

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? I haven't actually had an experience with a series this year.  Shame on me.  This will encourage me to do so the next!

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Again, Nicole Krauss.  Lorrie Moore. 

8. Most hilarious read of 2010? Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close had me laughing out loud.  David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day was also another great read. 

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace. It wasn't so much thrilling, as slightly disgusting, and, yet, utterly fascinating.  I appreciated Coetzee's ability to create such depth in so few pages.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? Nicole Krauss's Great House: A Novel.  I'm still working on this one, but I couldn't wait for this title to be released. 

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? Anthony Doerr's Memory Wall: Stories The hardcover, which I ordered right away, is textured!  It's beautiful AND pleasant to hold.

12. Most memorable character in 2010? Tassie Keltjin from A Gate at the Stairs; Leo Gursky from The History of Love.

 13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? Anthony Doerr's Memory Wall: Stories.  

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?  I absolutely loved The History of Love, and I feel like it evoked the most emotion.  

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? Three books: Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure; Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome; Willa Cather's My Antonia.  All incredible.

I am interested to see what this list will look like this time next year.  


  1. Beth,
    I read Great House largely because I saw you mention it so much on here. I loved it!


  2. @ Brent- I still haven't finished! I've loved what I've read thus far. Did you ever read The History of Love?!? Please tell me you're considering it now!

  3. Great list! Yours is my favorite so far. Like you, I also loved The History of Love and included Leo Gurskey on my list! Also, I've got Middlesex waiting on the TBR pile and now I'm even more excited for it. I also just bought Me Talk Pretty One day and since I also found EL&EC hilarious, I'll bet I'll like Sedaris as well! Anyway, it looks like we have really similar reading tastes!

  4. Brenna- I'm thinking of incorporating Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides in my classics challenge, since I haven't read it or seen the movie. I feel like it could be considered a classic for the 21st century; although, it's very much still up in the air. I really liked parts of Me Talk Pretty One Day and I think it's a great introduction to his work. Looking forward to seeing what you think.

  5. Beth- yes I am dying to read History of Love now. Maybe I can find a used copy once I get back home for the holidays. I've got quite a list going for holiday reading...includes The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer, Catcher in the Rye (which i've somehow never read) and also Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy. Are you going to do a holiday reading blog post?

  6. Brent- Oh! I can't wait to hear what you think about The History of Love- good or bad, even! I saw that you were reading The Castle in the Forest on your goodreads update. Seems like an interesting title. I've never been much for the WWII historical fiction, but let know what you gather from it. I read Catcher in the Rye ages ago, and remember feeling somewhat indifferent; although, I hear people usually either love it or hate it.
    As for a holiday reading post, I'm not really doing much holiday reading, per se, but more like just reading when I can with everything I'm involved in. I am, however, reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister for a Atlanta book group I lead, and we're celebrating with a holiday book swap this Sunday. I'll be posting my review of the title. Thanks for posting! Can't wait to hear about your literary endeavors!

  7. Glad to see you got to read Jude the Obscure this year. I discovered a new to me Hardy novel this year: Two on a Tower. Check it out if you haven't already. :)

  8. I was interested to read your take on books you couldn't believe you'd waited until 2010 to read - mine was Jane Eyre which convinced me to seek out other classics to read in 2011.

  9. I loved Gate at the Top of the Stairs, too.

    Here's my Best Of list:

  10. Nice list. I enjoyed Russian Winter, but perhaps its because I heard the author speak at a conference about the book before reading it.

    Looking forward to reading more reviews from you in 2011.


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