Monday, December 20, 2010

Favorites Monday: My Best Reads of 2010

This will be my last post of 2010. I'll be taking a break for holiday travel and will return to my more or less regular posting schedule in the new year.

These are my favorites of the books I read for the first time this year. They weren't necessarily published in 2010--in fact, most of them weren't. I've included buy links for all of them, just in case you're doing a little belated Christmas shopping or are looking for something to read yourself.

In no particular order:

The Miles Vorkosigan Series, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Science Fiction) I've blogged about these recently. Well-written, character-driven but with page-turning plots, and a protagonist like no other I've read. Though I have a sneaking preference for Aral over Miles...

Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson. (Nonfiction - History) Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the Civil War era, politics, battles, personalities, and all. If you read one book on the Civil War, this should be it.

The Sevenfold Spell, by Tia Nevitt. (Fantasy - Fairytale Retelling) A novella revisiting Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of one of the spinsters put out of work by the kingdom's ban on spinning wheels.

The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. (Nonfiction) A doctor shows how checklists, when properly designed and followed, enable people and teams to manage complex and often risky tasks, but surprisingly helpful even for those of us who don't fly planes or perform surgery.

When the Stars Go Blue, by Caridad Ferrer. (Young Adult Romance) Carmen in a drum corps, and the one book this year that made me cry.

The Pericles Commission, by Gary Corby. (Historical Mystery) A young sleuth solves a political murder in Periclean Athens.

Fatal Affair, by Marie Force. (Romantic Suspense) I rarely read romantic suspense, but I enjoyed this story of a cop and a political aide working together to solve a young senator's murder.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson. (Fiction - not sure how to classify beyond that) A lovely 1938 book about a middle-aged governess whose employment agency mistakenly sends her to a nightclub singer's home and the adventures and friendships that ensue.

Naamah's Curse, by Jacqueline Carey. (Fantasy) Epic fantasy set in an alternate version of our world, but it's book two of a trilogy so you don't want to start here. Try Naamah's Kiss first, or, better yet, get Kushiel's Dart, the first book set in this world.

The Millers Kill mysteries, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. (Mystery) She's an Episcopalian priest, he's a police chief in a small upstate New York town. They fight crime, not to mention their inappropriate attraction, what with him being married and nearly 20 years her senior. And despite the fact I don't usually read contemporary settings and normally hate big age differences or anything that hints of an adultery plot, I love these books beyond reason.

In For a Penny, by Rose Lerner. (Historical Romance) A fresh take on the well-worn marriage of convenience between impoverished lord and common-born heiress tale, and the best Regency-set romance I've read in I don't know when.

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