Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Books I Read in 2010

My Ani.

Yes, most of these were not published in 2010, but this is my list and I get to set the rules, right?  (Right)  And thanks to my Goodreads profile I am able to remember all of these titles.

Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Part graphic novel, part film history, part steampunk, this book does so much right and does so quite well.  It's one I'm looking forward to rereading some day.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
A quirky little book, told in sections written by different kids in the main character's school, about The Weird Kid in class who answers the other kids' questions about life by channeling Jedi Master Yoda.  I liked the approach to the story and the "how crazy is he" aspect.

YOU by Charles Benoit
Easily the most intense and disturbing book I read this year.  Benoit uses second-person narrative ("You went to the store.  You looked at the vegetables but bought a frozen dinner instead") to tell his story about a high school boy who can't quite seem to fit in and the new kid at school, who just happens to be a sociopath.  

Leviathan/Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Alternative WWI history meets steampunk in a world divided between the Darwinists (who have mixed DNA strands to create hunking monsters to haul or fly their armies) and the Clankers (who have built elaborate steampunk devices to do the same).  Leviathan was such a good book that I both eagerly awaited the sequel and was worried that the second book might not live up to my expectations.  Happily, Behemoth was every bit as good as Leviathan.

Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space by Philip Reeve
Easily the most fun, most rousing book I read this year.  Steampunk mixed with scifi mixed with British Bravado mixed with a brother and sister joining up with a band of space pirates to save the galaxy.  Huzzah!

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Reeve proves his imagination and writing skills are solid and expansive with this story of a boy and a murderous girl trying to survive in a world where cities are mobile and the largest and strongest devour those smaller than themselves.

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Steampunk. At. Its. Best. 

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
Traveling as one of the first Americans into China must have been fun, right?  But what if your traveling companion has undiagnosed schizophrenia and is unraveling as the journey continues?  Told with insight, humor and honesty, Susan Jane Gilman continues to write amazing books.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
A tale of boy in ancient China, the deformed man who raises him, the potter the boy works for.  A powerful, moving story, all imagined from a single shard of pottery in a museum.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo astounds me.  Her work is so accessible and yet so deep, that I am humbled just reading it.  This story of a broken family, a lonely community and the dog that acts as the catalyst for change is simply great.

Art & Max by David Weisner
I have been awed by David Weisners books (a term I don't use lightly) since my days as a children's libarian.  I still seek out every new book he writes.  Art & Max is a story told without words, using Weisner's expressive, textured artwork to convey character, plot and the wild attempts at solutions to the equally bizarre problem.

It's a Book by Lane Smith
Lane Smith is like me.  He loves books.  Not those digital low-glare, e-ink e-readers, but books.  Books.  Remember them?

Mercy by Jessica Tudor
My one gloat on this list: I've read Mercy before any of you!  When this book is published, you're going to so incredibly jealous.  I'll ask you to remember Mercy and Jessica Tudor now, but in about a year or so when it's published, you wont' have any trouble remembering Mercy or Jessica.
How have I managed to miss this amazing writer/illustrator until just last week?

How about you?  What were some of  your favorite books you read in 2010?  Have you read any of the ones on my list? 

-- Tom