I mentioned on Twitter last night that it looks like I will close out 2010 having read about 60 or so books. A few people asked about my favorites so I figured it would be worth it to wrap up 2010 with a post.
After looking at the list I decided to do so by breaking it out a bit. The list breaks down into three categories which divide my reading into roughly thirds: Young Adult Fiction, Fiction, and Non-Fiction. So below are my favorite reads in each of those categories.
Young Adult Fiction
Yes, I’m a grown man and I read young adult fiction. As I have explained a few times, I do this because I find the YA fantasy fiction genre creative and entertaining. Some of them are just fun relaxing reads (admittedly quick and easy as well) but some of them are complex and imaginative in ways that make the label superfluous. They are just great books.
The List (in no particular order):
- Factotum (The Foundling’s Tale, Part Three) by D. M. Cornish (If you love epic fantasy that is a mix of Tolkien and Dickens you will enjoy this series.)
- Boom! by Mark Haddon (A great little story – action, adventure, intrigue and humor all in less than 200 pages.)
- The Necromancer by Michael Scott (An enjoyable fantasy thriller where you race to read the book only to be forced to wait for the next release to dive back in again.)
- Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson (“An original mix of Robinson Crusoe, King Solomon’s Mines, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Odyssey”)
- Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill (A creative and intelligent mix of myth, mystery and coming of age stories.)
“Adult” Fiction and Non-Fiction below.
Despite my enjoyment of YA I haven’t fully embraced the niche idea and so still read “adult” fiction. A couple of my favorite authors had new books out and I found a couple of new authors as well.
- The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan (Hallinan offer not only the tension and suspense of a thriller but the human insight of a more literary novel)
- The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone (… skilfully captures both the time periods and ages involved as well as the variety of ways humans can find tragedy)
- Peter and Max by Bill Willingham (a creative and entertaining twist on the story of the Pied Piper and a nice introduction to the work of Bill Willingham)
- Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos (walks the fine line between slapstick comedy and insightful spiritual commentary – and in my opinion manages to pull it off for the most part)
- The Last Christian by David Gregory (blends suspense and philosophical and spiritual issues into an entertaining mix)
I didn’t read a lot of non-fiction this year and most of the focus was on faith and spiritual issues. I hope to read more non-fiction this year but focus is likely to remain the same.
- Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief (a glimpse into how grace and faith can overcome the darkest tragedies and how love can overcome more than you can imagine)
- William F. Buckley (Christian Encounters) by Jeremy Lott (a quick and well done introduction to this larger that life figure in American politics)
- Radical by David Platt (Quite simply Platt asks his readers to think about how they might live if they really believed what they read in the Bible)
- Gripped by the Greatness of God by James McDonald (an engaging and challenging study based on the book of Isaiah)
- Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life by James M. McPherson (The usefulness of a book like this is that its succinctness can be perfect for a variety of readers.)
So there you have it. Fifteen books that I enjoyed in 2010 and that I recommend to you in 2011.
I agree with what you say about YA literature. It is the quality of the book, not the marketing category, that determines its value. The Harry Potter series is entertaining, accessible to young people, and a solid work of literature. The inescapable conclusion is that it belongs with the great British classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Often YA is the niche that allows for greatest creativity on the part of the writer.
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Kevin, thanks for giving Imaginary Jesus a nod in your post! I’m working on the sequel right now and hope you enjoy it as much.