We all have our own ways we unwind, relax and call it a day. For some it’s Dexter and Mad Men, for others it’s a glass of wine, and for many it’s chocolate. I’m guilty of all of those (well, the wine when I’m not knocked up) as well as one more: page-turners. Every night as I crawl into bed with a book and let the words carry me into another place and off to sleep.
My husband and I share a library of e-books on our respective Kindles. I’ve gotten him into reading emotional novels and he’s gotten me hooked on sci-fi thrillers. It’s a weird mix, but it works for me. Below are a few of my favorite reads from the past year, with no accounting for taste, subject matter or literary merit. The books are varied, but what they have in common is that they’ve kept my interest night after night, page after page.
If you’re looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer or a great book to enjoy over the holidays, read on my friends. Lucy also shared some of her favorites of the year if you need a book for a wee one on your list. And I’d love to hear your favorite books of the year in the comments section!
Vampires take over the world and pods of survivors roam the land in hopes of survival. Heard it before? Not like this you haven’t. The intricate tapestry of the plot (I won’t give anything away) combined with Cronin’s expert storytelling make for the definition of a page-turner.
In a bleak future the world has been reduced to twelve colonies controlled by a central capitol. To keep their subjects in check, two children from each colony are annually sacrificed to The Hunger Games, a fight to the death in an elaborate arena full of natural disasters, genetically engineered predators, and twenty three other contestants trying to kill you. Yes, it’s young adult lit, but Katniss Everdeen is no Bella Swan—she’s tough, smart, and will do anything to get out of the games alive.
Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage, among other films) teams up with author Chuck Hogan to pen these thrillers, the first two of a trilogy. A plane lands at JFK and immediately goes dead on the runway—no lights, no radio transmission from the cockpit, no cell phone calls from passengers. The CDC is sent in to pry open the plane. Turns out they should have left it closed. Don’t read alone at night.
If you haven’t heard of The Help you’ve been living in a cave. It’s been a consistent bestseller for good reason: the interweaving stories of African-American maids and the southern women that employ them are at times heartbreaking, at times uplifting, and at times downright hilarious. The movie is coming out soon, but give this a read first. Cross my heart you won’t be disappointed.
Balthazar is a Beefeater, his wife a worker at the London Underground’s lost property office. Struggling to deal with the death of their son, their life inside the creepy, cold walls of the Tower of London borders on whimsical fantasy while remaining grounded in the heavy emotions of loss.
A deceased English aunt leaves her flat to her American nieces. The girls hop across the pond, move in, and soon learn that they have an unexpected and ethereal house guest. From Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Lucy’s favorite books of 2010
The little gal has a list of her favorites too. These are the greatest hits of toddler lit around our house.
There aren’t a ton of words, and often the best stories that come out of these pages are the ones you make up yourself. I think Lucy loves it because she’s like the gorilla: sneaky, persistent, and a kleptomaniac.
An interactive book that gets you lots of smooches. What could be better?
Full of wonderful sounds and the quirky characters that only Mr. Seuss can provide.
The one and only. A classic we read at least once a day.
Pretty watercolor illustrations and a great message: the world is a better place because your child is in it.
Each animal has a fuzzy spot and asks you to pet, scratch or pat them. Cute and fun.
Anything written by Sandra Boynton
I love the silliness of Ms. Boynton’s writing, and there’s something small to learn in each book (counting, animal sounds, opposites) . We own many of these and Lucy never gets tired of them.
Whew. There’s my list. What have been your favorite books of the year, for you or for your kiddos?