The Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Ten Years

Alison Morris - September 15, 2009

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!

56 thoughts on “The Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Ten Years


    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.

  2. C.

    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.

  3. kk

    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

  4. Hannah

    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…

  5. Spellbound

    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.

  6. Michele G.

    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.

  7. Lynn S.

    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.

  8. Ellen Mager

    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.

  9. Connie Rockman

    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.

  10. Pia

    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

  11. Patty T

    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.

  12. Jenny

    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.

  13. Lesley

    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.

  14. refspec

    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.

  15. soulfixer13

    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!

  16. Michelle Smith

    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).

  17. Candis

    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.

  18. Still Smiling

    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!

  19. Kelly Laffaye

    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.

  20. juliesul

    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

  21. SusanB

    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


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