Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Year in Review: Kimberly's Picks

Compared to previous years, I read a lot in 2010 - about 30 more books than I read in 2009.  Last year, I posted a run-down of the memorable books of the year, and I'm doing something similar for 2010.  Once again, these aren't books that were necessarily published in 2010, just ones I read in 2010.

Best Book of 2010
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

This was an easy pick - it's both the best book published in 2010 and the best book I read in 2010.  No other book even comes close to its combination of spectacular writing, important themes, and fascinating plot (I often say that these three things make up the Best Book Trifecta).




Best Book of 2010 - Runner Up
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Published in 2007, this book was such a delightful and refreshing surprise.  It's interesting and oh so funny.  It's not often I laugh out loud while reading, but this one made me do just that page after page.  I can still recall favorite lines, even though I've yet to read it more than once.  Do yourself a favor: read this book and be happy.

Best Audiobook
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

2010 was the year I decided to give the audiobooks of my most favorite books ever a try, and I'm glad I did.  Pullman narrates and the dialogue is brought to life by a full cast.  All the characters sounded right and everything just worked perfectly.  I'll definitely be listening to these again soon.



Best Audiobook - Runner Up #1
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd  

So lovely and heartbreaking - a coming of age story that breathes new life into the coming of age genre.  Wonderful combination of beautiful writing and excellent narration. 


Best Audiobook - Runner Up #2
Feed by M.T. Anderson

The story was good, but the audio production was amazing.  It's also the only audiobook I've listened to that was able to use sound effects without sounding incredibly cheesy.  In fact, the sound effects made the audiobook.  Kelly raved that it was the "best audiobook ever," and that's pretty close to the truth.  Read her Twitter-style review here. 



Worst Narration
Tie: First Light by Rebecca Stead and Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Both pretty good stories (First Light in particular) made almost unbearable by poor narration - bad accents, voices that sound much too old for the characters, hokey inflections.  Too bad.


Best Graphic Novel
Fables by Bill Willingham

2010 is the year I really dove into graphic novels.  There have been some definite clunkers (Scott Pilgrim) but also some definite winners (Brain Camp).  My favorites by far, though, have been the Fables comics by Bill Willingham.  They're full of clever ideas and interesting, three-dimensional characters, and I've been so impressed by how the story has developed.



Book I Most Look Forward to Giving to Patrons
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

This one doesn't publish until 2011, and I'm so excited to be able to tell my patrons about it.  It's a book whose subject matter (dystopian love story) is so in style right now, but it's also not predictable and the writing is excellent.  Look for more on the book from us at STACKED in 2011.

Biggest Disappointment   
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

It wasn't a bad book, but I was so psyched to read it after the stellar first chapter and so let down by the rest of it.  The concept is interesting and the cover is, in my opinion, terrific, so I know this one will sell itself, but I wanted so much more from it.




Worst Book Read in 2010
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

So bad.  Just so so bad.  I know many who love it, but no one could convince me that the book has any redeeming qualities.   The poor narration (I listened to it on audio) made it worse, but I would have disliked it intensely in print format as well.  Honorable Mention goes to Last Summer of the Death Warriors.

Most Anticipated of 2011

I loved the Abhorsen Chronicles when I was a teenager and am so thrilled that a prequel about Chlorr of the Mask is planned for release in 2011.  Looks like I'd better get started re-reading.





Most Anticipated of 20??

Who knows when this will be published.  Sigh.  At least I have the (what looks to be) awesome HBO series to look forward to in the spring.   

5 comments:

  1. I love His Dark Materials so, so much, and The Amber Spyglass is one of my favorites of all time. I should really pick up the audiobooks now!

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  2. I too also really, really disliked Going Bovine. It is just taking up shelf space at my library sadly.

    You're like the fifth or sixth person I know who has said the audio of Feed is excellent. I love the book but really need to try the audio.

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  3. I also loved the audiobook of Feed. Definitely one of the most memorable audiobooks I've ever "read".

    I am ambivalent about Going Bovine. I also listened to the audiobook and while I didn't love the narrator, I thought his accent of the garden gnome/Norse god was hilarious. But yeah, the whole story was just a giant mess. There were a few redeeming qualities, but I did not see how it was a Printz-worthy book at all.

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  4. I have got to get to the Chaos Walking series! This last book keeps popping up on most people's lists.

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  5. Monsters of Men is my #1 of 2010 too!! Patrick Ness is a genius. And Going Bovine really was just awful. Could I please get those hours of my life back? Great list!

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