We’re currently conducting an interesting exercise at Wellesley Booksmith that I thought some of you might like to participate in as well. This October marks the 10th anniversary of our store’s opening, and as such our front window will be featuring our staff’s individual selections of the best book each of us has read in the last 10 years. (Not the best book published in the last 10 years, mind you, the best book we’ve each READ in the last 10 years. This means we don’t have to get picky about publication dates!) We plan on asking our customers to write to us about their "best in 10" choices too, and will publish their responses in our store’s biweekly newsletter — one or more per week for the next year, just to keep the celebration going.
I’m going to keep this post very short, because I know what’s happening right now — the jukebox of your brain is flipping rapidly through its ENORMOUS storehouse of titles, as you try (what a challenge!) to decide which book is the best YOU’VE read in the last 10 years. I myself have had at least 48 hours to ponder this question and… I’m still debating. My current frontrunner is Jim the Boy by Tony Earley, but I waver every few minutes, thinking maybe I should replace it with another favorite, of which I’ve simply got TOO many!
But how about you? Can you narrow the available choices down to just ONE book you would feel comfortable calling "the best book you’ve read in the past 10 years?" If so, please tell us what it is and (if you want to enlighten us still further) why that was the one you chose!
I’ve read so many books- How can I even begin to choose just one? If re-reading a book counts, then I’d vote for The Phantom Tollbooth. I try to read it every couple of years or so.
Here goes! I’ll probably change my mind as soon as I post. Adult: THE KITE RUNNER Childrens: It’s a tie. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO and HOLES.
The Book Thief, hands down the winner. Beautifully crafted.
The Book Thief was the book that immediately came to mind for me, wrenching and heartbreaking and yet uplifting.
I’ve never really liked labeling things “Best” because often one person’s best Best is another one’s Worst and vice versa. 🙂 But I do have a couple of favorites from the past ten years: For children, ‘Masterpiece’ by Elise Broach. Should have at least been nominated for Newbery if not winning. For adults/young adults: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ by Mark Hadden. He so nailed that boy’s struggles and point-of-view.
For children: Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie Adult: Same Kind of Different As Me
The best or most useful book I’ve read in the past 10 years is Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. A close second is Emotional Intelligence.
“The Thing About Georgie” by Lisa Graff
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
One? ONE! book? You evil, evil, wonderful woman. I’m leaning towards The Sparrow, I think. I THINK.
I’d have to pick my all time favorite, Dealing With Dragons by Patrica C. Wrede.
Tough tough one. Toss up – The Help, Shadow of the Wind, Pillars of the Earth
This question is absurdly hard. I’ve (just barely) narrowed it down to Gilead, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations, but I can’t seem to get any further…
Isn’t this like asking about the best orgasm in the last 10 years? Quality alone will not suffice!
Carol, you slay me! But you’re absolutely right. The first title that sprang to mind was “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” so I’ll go with that before I have a chance to overthink it.
“The Book Thief.”
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Then I heard him speak at a poetry reading for his new book in Seattle. It was my first poetry reading, and I had no idea they were so hilarious…my face ached from laughing.
Tough Choice…can I cheat and say the Harry Potter series?? If no cheating is allowed, I don’t think I would be able to pick just one of that series, so I would then have to go with The Hunger Games.
For me it’s Cold Mountain. Although I agree with Miriam that The Sparrow is an amazing book.
The first book I thought of was also THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET for so many reasons. Brian Selznick developed a visually stunning, brilliantly crafted story that pulls at all your senses. I’ve been saying that it is my favorite book in the last 5 years, but I’ll stretch that to 10.
Laying aside that the challenge is impossibly hard, I’d have to say… Adult lit: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE Kid lit: FEED
When You Reach Me
Elsewhere by Zevin.
This is hard. I would have to say either The Hunger Games or A Tale of Two Cities.
The Book Thief, hands down. [The entire Harry Potter series stands outside of time – was there ever a time I didn’t know that world?] Adult books?: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith second place: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Book Thief, absolutely.
MG Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson PB The Arrival by Shaun Tan adult lit Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
That is a real toughie…so many books which to choose…Too many books to say any one was the best… Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Warrior Heir – Cinda Williams Chima Golden Compass – Pullman Not enough room to lsit al of the great books
I’ve been reading armloads of kids’ bks lately and “A isn’t for fox” just blew me away. I’m SO mad I didn’t think of it myself.
The Golden Compass – an all-time favorite, which happened to fall into this time frame!
Alison’s question highlights my huge problem. How do you keep track of everything you’ve read in the last 10 yrs? I’m past the half century mark and my memory is sluggish.
The Book Thief for sure! This book was absolutely brilliant! I will remember it for the rest of my life! Thank you Markus Zusak!
Adult: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay Children’s/YA: Feed …and i immediately want to list 5 other children’s books.
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman (I may be fudging just a little bit here, as the publication date was 1998)
For kids it would have to be Walk Two Moons or The Invention of Hugo Cabret. For adults -Remains of the Day, but Shadow of the Wind is a close second.
I am going to go with the Harry Potter series. I read them all within the past 10 years. If I HAVE to choose just one, I’ll pick Prisoner of Azkaban. But it wouldn’t be as good without the other 6.
Amazing how many people chose my top one. I gotta go with The Book Thief, too.
It would be difficult to just say one, but one of the best recently was recommended by my brother. The “Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay tops the list of my summer reads. It came out in the 80’s and was made into a movie in ’92. I read the teen abridged version, because that is what I found first at the library and didn’t realize it was an abridged version. It was a very stirring book.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidder
The newest book that I’ve read and that has become a new favorite in these past 10 years has to be Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. Charming, insightful, amazing – new to reread it and the first 2 in the series many more times!
For the adult category, I have to go with the books I always find myself recommending to friends: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Same Kind of Different as Me. Kids book: I have to go with Inkheart and Inkspell (though I hated Inkdeath).
Oy! Tough! Kids: The Hunger Games Adults: The Time Traveler’s Wife
The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. One of the most heart-breaking and beautiful books I have ever read….
YA: The Book Thief Adult: Pride and Prejudice
Hugo and Book Thief. But if you read the Book Thief you have to read Camel Bookmobile. I’m behind in my reading so can’t suggest any more….Oh, Nurk by Ursula Vernon. Octavian Nothing. The Braid and anything by Helen Frost or Amy Ephron.
I have so many favorites. Most recently would be South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Elementary level would be all Skippyjon Jones by Judith Schachner. My all time favorite children’s book is a poem The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Edward Lear!
I do not know if I can committ to just one book that I think was the best I have read within the past 10 years. For me, I enjoyed reading The Glass Castle by Jennette Walls, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, and as far as children’s I would have to say The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.
For adults: A Fine Balance. Fascinating, informative, heartbreaking. A reminder of why I read–to be transported outside of my own environment and experiences. For children: The Pernderwicks
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White
The Book Thief… and because it’s humanly impossible to pick just one, When You Reach Me, Because of Winn-Dixie, and Homecoming
Only ONE choice for the past 10 years? Sigh….if I have only one, I’ll stay away from some recent titles I’ve adored that others have (or surely will) suggest, and pick an oldie that came only recently to my attention: Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron
The Book Thief – Yeahhh!
The Book Thief!