Friday, January 14, 2011


I remember this well: I was about 9 years old and already an avid reader. Mother always read to us when we were small, and in those days it was thought that kids weren't ready to read until first grade, which was when I was taught to read. (Educators later realized that plenty of kids can read at age four!) But once I started reading on my own I made up for lost time. Then, as now, I was almost never caught without a book in my hand. My sister and I walked to and from school each day, reading as we walked. I do remember once walking into a wooden post that held up a bus stop sign and after arriving at school with a big red knot on my forehead, having to call my daddy to come get me because the school nurse thought I should stay home for the day.

Now I don't walk and read any more but I do keep a book in my car. I think waiting anywhere is such a waste of time and it begs to be filled with reading. I generally have at least two books going at the same time. And I rarely go anywhere without a book in a tote bag hanging from my arm.

I know I am not alone in this love of books, so today I've picked out my 20 favorite books from my 2010's list of "Books Read" and will share them with you. Since I am not writing a review of them, just so you'll have some idea of what kinds of books that I read I'll tell you this: I don't normally read romance or gothic novels, westerns, science fiction or fantasy. I read more non-fiction books than fiction. I read lots of book reviews (NY Times, LA Times, and a few online lists) and almost always choose my reading material based on a review. I don't seem to be any good at plucking books off the library shelves. I do follow certain authors, whose names appear almost yearly on my own lists of "books read." And in the non-fiction category, I pick my books more for subjects of interest than for excellence of writing, but I must admit that if a book isn't well written I am just as apt to "quit" midstream as to continue to plow through it.

So with that all said, I'll give you my 20 favorites for 2010:

Ireland by Frank Delaney
Remembering the Bones by Frances Itani
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosely
Oscar Wilde & A Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth

Dorothea Lange by Linda Gordon
The Man who Loved Books too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
We Two: Victoria and Albert by Gillian Gill
188th Crybaby Battalion by Joel Chasnoff
Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter’s Life with Autism by Clara Claiborne Park
Furious Love: Liz Taylor & Richard Burton by Kashner and Schoenberger
Lives Like Loaded Guns – Emily Dickenson by Lyndall Gordon
The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli
Robert College: The American Founders by Keith Greenwood
The Sisters of Sinai:How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels by Janet Soskice
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kernan

So there it is. One of the nicest things about being retired is that I can read to my heart's content. I always have time to talk "books" with anyone who has similar interests in reading matter, and welcome suggestions from any of you for something I've just got to read!


Dee said...

Retirement is great...I am totally spoiled.

marciamayo said...

When I was working on my doctorate at the University of Georgia, I had to commute to class one evening a week after work, 240 miles round trip. One time, driving home in the dark, I read Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. The book was in my lap and I had the interior light on. It was just for a short distance at a thrilling part of the book and along a not well traveled part of the road - but I would advise it.

Olga said...

I also love to read. When I was teaching, I worked with reluctant readers at best. They tended not to believe me when I'd tell them my mother used to tell me, "Put down that book and go outside and play!" or "Stop reading, you'll ruin your eye sight!"