Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Best List

Several years ago my "Best of the Year" list consisted of a list of 10 fiction books and 10 non-fiction books I read during the year. This year I have read my all-time highest amount of books. I have also been trying to incorporate more young adult and middle grade books into my reading diet. I have always read these - and get quite excited when I see what is coming out in future months, but by the time I get my library books read, it often seems that those Middle Grade/YA books don't get read as quickly.

This year my "best" lists are divided into three different categories: Women's Fiction, YA/Middle Grade, and Non-fiction/Memoir. Not all the books that I include in these lists are published in 2010. Unfortunately I am always a bit behind and there are TONS of books that have been published in 2010 that I am still just waiting to read.

List #1 - Women's Fiction

1. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman - Loved this coming of age novel. Set in the South, CeeCee, despite her rather sad home life at book's beginning, is taken in by a wise and caring relative where CeeCee learns many important life lessons.

2. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See- the only good thing about waiting so long to read this is that I don't have to wait so long for the sequel, due out in 2011. Two sisters from China flee to the United States where they have already been married off. While things don't turn out like they planned, their life in the United States is interesting and full of opportunity.

3. The Confederate General Rides North by Amanda Gable - this one was on my radar long before managed to get to read it. Katherine's obsession with the Civil War makes her vacation with her mother to various Civil War battlegrounds look interesting and exciting until she finds the real reason for her vacation.

4. The Red Thread by Ann Hood-I have loved all of Hood's books so far and this is no exception. A novel about couples trying to adopt chidren from overseas, it mimics in some ways Hood's own life, as an adoptive parent.

5. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok- another coming of age novel about a girl and her mother who move to the United States only to be put to work in their family's sweat shop. This one is also somewhat autobiographical as the author herself experienced many of the same things as her character.

6. My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera - Mary Sutter wants to be more than a midwife despite the fact that the roles of women during the 1860s don't allow for that. Not one to give up, Mary finds a way to become involved in caring for the wounded during the Civil War.

7. A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer - historical fiction set during the race to discover penicillin. I am now looking for more of Belfer's work.

8. Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel - I loved the Florida setting. I loved following Frances' life through the decades - marriage, motherhood, losing a spouse, while nothing seems remarkable, that is the beauty of this novel.

9. The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber - another historical fiction novel about Rachel, an African American woman, who moves west with her husband as they try to homestead and own their own land.

10. The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard - Suspenseful; Jody Linder has always believed what she has heard about her father's death and mother's disappearance. Finally, after new clues surface, this decades-old mystery is solved.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I loved Saving CeeCee and Girl in Translation. Will be posting my lists tomorrow. Happy Reading in 2011

Anne Bennett said...

Argh...I haven't read any of these and they all sound great. Do you think any would be good book club selections that would generate good discussions?

Beth Hoffman said...

Wow! I received a Google Alert this morning, and was so surprised when I clicked on the link.

Thank you, Tina. I'm delighted that you loved CeeCee's story and it's an honor to be on your list.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I've only read two of the books on your list so far (Stiltsville and Cee Cee). However, I have many of the others in my "must read" pile. You made some wonderful picks I think.

Hope you and your family have a very Happy New Year! I wish you lot of joy in 2011 and lots of good reading!!

Ann Weisgarber said...

Thank you, Tina, for including my novel, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, on your "First Best List." You've ended my year in top form.

I'm delighted that you have a YA list. These authors are often overlooked, but I can't imagine a world without these imaginative works of literature.

Congratulations on reading so many books during 2010. Happy 2011, and happy reading!

Jean said...

Thanks so much for including GIRL IN TRANSLATION on your list! I really appreciate it.