Ten Years of Great Reads
Even though I've read more than 1100 books during the past ten years, in my estimation only 31 rate as truly exceptional. Recommending a great read is risky; what I have loved you may find a waste of time. With that in mind, only books available from the Washoe County Library System are on this list. More than a few are available in formats different from the hardcover version, sometimes in Large Print, as an electronic download, or an audio CD.
Beginning with 2008, Rick Bragg's Prince of Frogtown, the story of his search for his Alabama father, was both sweet, sad and silly. Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, is a crime novel featuring the continuing characters of attorney Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch in a book I'd describe as Los Angeles noir. Tony Horwitz took quite a trip in his Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World in his adventure that includes “history, myth and misadventure”.
Two more crime novels were praiseworthy in 2009: David Hewson added to his series about Roman detective Nic Costa in Garden of Evil and Val McDermid's Darker Domain was a chilling police procedural set in Scotland. Best book for me that year, though, was Robert Sapolsky's The Primate's Memoir about his study of Baboon behavior in East Africa.
2010 was a good year for great reads. Alan Alda's autobiography, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things I've Learned, vied for first place with Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void about space travel by Mary Roach (if you like informative nonfiction laced with laugh-out-loud humor, check out all of Roach's titles). Aimee Bender wrote a charming novel about family secrets, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Elizabeth George, an American who writes British crime novels, added another Lynley and Haver to her series with Body of Death.
With an unusual title, Started Early, Took My Dog, Kate Atkinson provided a wild novel set in Leeds, Great Britain, for 2011. A pair of nonfiction books rounded out the year. David Farley produced An Irreverent Curiosity: in Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oldest Town; the title almost says it all. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Locks by Rebecca Skloot, tells the true story of an unwitting tissue donor (the descendant of slaves) and questions the medical ethics involved as Locks' cell line continues in medical research to this day.
2012 brought another Dublin murder squad book, The Faithful Place, in the series by Tana French. Rachel Joyce wrote one of my all-time favorite novels with her The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Harold walks from one end to England to the other ... and that's all I'll say about this charming, heartwarming book, saving its charming story for you to enjoy.