Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday... Top books of 2010


It's that time again. Broke and Bookish hosts this every Tuesday.  This week the top ten is: The Top Ten Books of 2010...

Let me start this by saying that this was a slow year for me.  I still work full time and was taking graduate classes full time....so my reading for "fun" came to a crawl.  I have remedied that and went to part time in school, so hopefully 2011 will be a better year of reading. Now for my top 10...
The Bronze Horseman is a story that takes place as the bombing of Russia in WWII begins. Throughout the story you become mesmerized by the war torn Leningrad, the starvation that the people endure, and the fear of being taken out of their homes. You are entranced by the relationship between 17 yr old Tatiana and Alexander who is an officer in the Red Army. The story is one of growth, strength, courage and love. I was completely blown away by this book. Even at its large size I finished it under 2 days, and still 4 months later think about it and its characters. The courage and strength that it took to endure the conditions of that time, the war, and the love will leave one spellbound for a long time after reading the final page
This was a beautiful book that has so many layers among its simple writing. Simple beauty.

Stephen is a Chinese man who is away at college when he is stricken by an illness and is sent home to recover. His parents decide to send him to their family home in Japan to recuperate. It is Japan where Stephen learns that many things in life are not as they seem, the things he once thought were important are irrelevant. Stephen is taken care of by his family's caretaker Matsu. Matsu has taken care of the family beach house all of his life and is the man who shows Stephen things through different eyes. Stephen is introduced to a simpler way of life, to Sachi, who has hidden most of her adult life, and to the beauty that lies within people.

This story alternates between 1942 and present day.  It shows the story of Sarah and her family during the French roundup, of which I knew nothing about until I read this book.  Stories of the Holocaust have always been some of my favorites.  It was such as tragedy during our history and I love learning more about it.  This story haunted me for months after I finished it.  I still wonder what could have happened.
Aminata is 11, she has just seen things that no 11 year old should see. She is then chained, stripped, and forced to walk for 3 months to an awaiting ship bound for America. She now has to learn how to survive.

This was a really wonderful story. It involves heartache, happiness, horror, and everything in between. Aminata may have been born free in her village in Africa, but she quickly becomes a slave. She learns to read and write and becomes the voice of other slaves that she meets and ones that she has never met.

All of the emotions that I went through with this book are, to me, a sign on a wonderful book. I cried with her, got angry with her, grieved with her and rejoiced with her. Her story was truly an adventure. I highly recommend this one.

I really enjoyed this story. The mystery of Nell's past and of her attempt to unravel that mystery made the story move relatively fast. At the age of 21 Nell's life as she knew it changes when her father tells her a secret. She sets out to solve the mystery before her grand-daughter comes to live with her. After Nell's death, Cassandra picks up where Nell left off in revealing the secrets of the past.

The story is full of deceipt, lies, loyalty and mystery. It kept me turning the pages as I wanted to know where each character fell into play. I haven't read any of Kate Morton's other books, but I am certainly looking forward to doing so.

I really liked this book. The historical parts of it were good, but some based on facts, others on imagination. It did bring the gladiators, the colliseum, and the soldiers to life.

Some of the characters I did love, some I despised, some I thought were funny. Some of the comments that were made were great "interesting in a poisonous snake kind of interesting" in describing a child's mother.. was right on T.
I liked this story as it tells of some important things in a teenagers life. You don't always have to be with the "in crowd" or pretend to be something that you aren't. The most important thing is to be true to yourself. I will definitely read the rest of the series. For a first in the series, this one was better than most that I have read. I can only imagine how the rest will evolve into better ones.   
From Goodreads: This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....  
From Goodreads: The epic saga of love and war continues—the heart-stopping sequel to Paullina Simons's beloved international bestseller The Bronze Horseman.

Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.
Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander barely escapes execution, and is forced to lead a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by the Soviet high command. Yet Alexander is determined to take his men through the ruins of Europe in one last desperate bid to escape Stalin's death machine and somehow find his way to Tatiana once again.
This is an autobiographical story of a Jewish woman living in Austria during the rise of the Nazi's power. Edith Hahn Beer was an intelligent and educated woman only one exam away from becoming a lawyer and judge until Hitler implemented a certain rule and she was dismissed from college. The story is an account of the fear, lies, deceit and the surprising people who helped her survive. It is about completely losing the identity that she had held onto, becoming someone she never thought herself to be, and then slowly emerging as a stronger Jewish woman. She tells her story of fear, hunger, pain, love during a dark time in our world history.

A truly wonderful book.

There you have them.... As you can tell, most of my top 10 involved WWII.  What can I say, that is a time in history that I have always been fascinated with.


6 comments:

thebookstop said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! This is a really interesting list. I didn't love Sarah's Key although it was incredibly haunting and I felt I learned a lot about Paris during the Holocaust. I'll check out some of your other recommendations.

Must Love Books said...

I read the Bronze Horseman series two years ago and I still think about it all the time. I was very emotionally connected to those characters. I was going to read more of Paullina's books, but I've been told they aren't nearly as good as the Bronze Horseman series.

readerbuzz said...

Very fun to look over others' favorites lists even when I am not familiar with the titles.

Here is my Top 10 list: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/12/top-ten-books-ive-read-in-2010.html

Misha said...

Yay! You included The Forgotten Garden! I love Kate Morton - all of her books. I really want to read Sarah's Key.
Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

Liz said...

Awesome books! I loved Vampire Academy, The Mortal Instruments series & The Forgotten Garden. I also have all the others (minus 1) on my tbr or shelf at home.

Good luck with 2011!

Jaedia said...

Definitely given me a few recommendations here! Thanks for sharing :)