My Favorite 20 Books of the 2010s

Earlier this month, I did a post on my favorite albums of the 2010s. Now I’m giving you a list of my favorite books of the 2010s. As I’m usually a year behind in my reading, the only year not represented is this past year of 2019.

By year, here are my favorites:

  • 2010: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • 2011: Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • 2012: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • 2013: Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
  • 2014: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • 2014: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • 2014: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • 2014: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • 2014: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • 2015: Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 2015: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
  • 2016: Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
  • 2016: Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • 2017: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • 2017: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  • 2017: American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • 2018: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • 2018: Calypso by David Sedaris
  • 2018: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

By The Numbers

  • 11 nonfiction
  • 11 women
  • 11 white
  • 9 fiction
  • 9 men
  • 9 other races
  • 8 memoir or autobiography
  • 7 young adult
  • 4 celebrity memoirs
  • 2 poetry

I read most of them in print or ebook with maybe a couple in audio in Bossypants and Yes Please and another that definitely was in audio in The Poet X. Out of the 20, I believe there are two must-reads: Being Mortal and Between The World and Me. The one I enjoyed the most was probably Born To Run, but that might only because it’s fresh in my read from reading this year and also that I went to a local state park several times while reading it. So I also enjoyed the experience of it.

What are some of your favorite books of the last decade?

This Is What And How I Read In 2019

All this month, I’ve been joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. This coming Tuesday’s prompt, which I’m posting today also since it also help me wrap up my year in reading with The Sunday Salon group, is “This Is How We Read –  Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks,hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least).

By the numbers

  • 30 books
  • 15 nonfiction
  • 15 fiction
  • 13 parts of series
  • 10 female authors
  • 7 fiction standalone
  • 6 memoirs
  • 3 collections of poetry
  • 1 published in 2019
  • 0 young adult novels

I actually am surprised…no, not at the low number of books I read this year. As indicated in a previous post on the number of books I’ve read from 2014 to 2019, the numbers per year have been decreasing, especially the last few years: 2016, 48; 2017, 45; 2018, 33.

What I am surprised at is that exactly half of the 30 books I read were nonfiction. I started the year with The Library Book by Susan Orlean and ended the year with The Lord God Made Them All, the sixth in the series, by James Herriot. I also am surprised that out of the crime series that I started, I didn’t particularly care for any of them. I enjoyed Herriot’s nonfiction series more than I did any of the crime series.

I attribute the low numbers to a combination of things from the state of our nation and the world to distractions from social media and streaming services. But I mostly attribute it to things that I discussed back in April and then in May here on the blog:

  • I’m weird in that I like longer stretches of time in which to read. I’m not accustomed to reading in short bursts.
  • To wit, I work during the week and when I get home from work, usually at 8 p.m. since I usually work afternoons, after being on a computer much of the day, one of the last things I want to do is read fine print on a screen or even worse in a printed book. That also is the time I spend with my wife, usually before she heads off to work (she works midnight shift as a 911 dispatcher).

I doubt the lack of reading will change much in the new year, especially since my hours are increasing at the library during the week as the number of hours for full-time employees there also has increased. But I want to read more on both days of the weekend as in the past, I’ve pretty much limited myself to reading on Sundays. My wife usually works two 12-hour shifts, first on Saturday into Sunday, and then Sunday into Monday so since she’s usually sleeping during the day on both days, it is the ideal time for me to read.

I did some of that this past year, reading on both days, especially helped along by events such as Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, 24in48 Readathon, and Thankfully Reading Weekend, to name the main ones. I still hope to participate in all three again in 2020.

As for my favorite reads of the year, I already wrote about that in an early post for A Month of Faves: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019. Since that post, I’d say my overall favorite for the year was Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. I think it was just that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it yet. I had gotten it for my wife a couple of years through a book blogger gift exchange and it has been sitting on the shelf unread (by either one of us) since. Now I really hope she will read it too because she is a huge fan of the Boss.

How was your year in reading for 2019? What was your favorite read of the year?

Extra: After I finished this post and already had it scheduled, I did come across something interesting via Libby, Overdrive, and my library history. My lack of reading wasn’t for wanting to read more than I did as I borrowed and returned 41 ebooks and seven books that I never read. I also put on hold 29 other ebooks that I canceled before even borrowing. So my lack of reading wasn’t due to a lack of appetite. I just was a lot more selective in what I finally chose to read.

#AMonthofFaves 2019: Winter Reading (Or In My Case, Last/First Books of the Year)

All this month, I’m joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They had a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and so far, I have participated in two: Popular Books Worth The Hype and On The Screen or In Your Ear. In addition to this one, I probably will do two more, Challenges and Goals, and This is How We Read. next week. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is Winter Reading – Your fave reads from last Winter, or seasonal reads you love, or books on this year’s winter reading list.

For this prompt last year, I wrote specifically about Christmas books. This year, I think I’ll talk about the books I’ve read towards the start of new years. This seems apropos as I look once again toward choosing a book for my first book of the year and consider what I will be reading to end the year.

In late December of 2014, just before the start of 2015, I read Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World by Thich Nhat Hanh. Then to start the year 2016, I read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz. In early 2017, I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Last year, I jumped off the self-improvement bandwagon to read The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Out of the self-improvement books, the best was The Four Agreements, with the other two fair to middling. The Library Book, despite a slow start for me, was one of my favorite books this year.

This year, I’m thinking about jumping back on the self-improvement bandwagon, but I don’t know yet which book I’ll choose. I have a couple of possibilities:

  • Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott
  • Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dyer

I remember trying to read one Lamott book years ago and not being able to get through it or it not catching me at the time. But I’m willing to try this since right now, like much of the country and indeed the world (I’m looking at you, Great Britain and India), I think we all need hope. The Dyer book, meanwhile, I’ve had on my Kindle for years, but just never had read although my wife has read several of his books and loves the late author’s work.

I’m leaning toward Lamott’s book, but I already started reading a little and enjoyed it, so it might be before then. I’ll let you know, of course.

Before my first book, though, I have to finish my last book or two this year. I’m in the middle of The Lord God Made Them All as I continue to make my way slowly (but enjoyably) through James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series. I probably will finish it by year’s end, but to be honest, this one isn’t “grabbing” me like the others or maybe I’m a little weary of all the cow’s vaginas that he has explored.

In this latest one, he also put in interludes about a trip to Russia, which isn’t breaking up the book in a good way for me either. I’ll finish it, but will be taking a break before getting to Every Living Thing, the last in the series, probably some time in 2020. I can say for certain this final book of the series won’t be my first book of 2020.

So what are some of your favorite winter/seasonal reads? And/or what are you reading to end the year and/or what are you reading to start 2020?

#AMonthofFaves 2019: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019

All this month, I’m joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They have a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and while I don’t plan to have a post for each topic, I do plan on having a post for several of them. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is the fifth for the month: On the Screen or in Your Ear – What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved and did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think? Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat?

I already covered my top 5 books in a previous post for A Month of Faves on Popular Books Worth The Hype, but I thought I’d include them here since it made the graphic below symmetrical:

A few caveats and explanations:

  • On Sunday, I also made a list of My Top 60 Albums of the 2010s, with the four of the five albums from 2019 included in that list. The only one I didn’t, i,i by Bon Iver, is because I chose 22, A Million instead for the decade.
  • I discovered four of the five TV shows through Hulu and found The Brokenwood Mysteries through Hoopla at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • I have not seen Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, The Irishman or Marriage Story yet, but my wife and I both want to see all three in the near future. I have a feeling at least one, if not all three, will change this list or at least be added to the list of my top movies for this year.
  • Powder in Space is technically not an album but a DJ mixtape by the Japanese DJ Momoko Goto, who produces and performs under the name “Powder.”
  • I had all five of the albums on heavy rotation this year and I anticipate that I will have one released last month, MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs, on heavy rotation in the coming year.
  • Four of my top five albums are on the The 50 Best Albums of 2019 list from Pitchfork The Father of the Bride, No. 25; Homecoming, No, 14; i, i, No. 16; Norman F***ing Rockwell!, No. 1, and that last one rightly so at No. 1, in my and my wife’s opinion. I like several of the other albums on the list including especially the ones at No. 2, MAGDALENE; Big Thief’s U.F.O.F. at No. 3 and Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors at No. 4, but I really haven’t listened to them a lot…yet, but I anticipate I will.
  • For all you bookish folks, the one movie on my list you need to see is Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is based on the book of the same name by Lee Israel, portrayed brilliantly here by Melissa McCarthy. I have not read the book, but loved the movie (obviously, to include it in my top 5).

What were your favorite books read, TV shows and movies and/or albums read this year even if they weren’t released this year?