I’m trying a different approach to the “best of the decade” book list. My list is only going to focus on books that I’ve enjoyed reading in the last ten years, featuring my favorites in several different genres. My Goodreads list actually goes pretty far back, so I’m reasonably sure I’ve got an accurate count. So here are the five best books I’ve read this decade in five different genres.
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
My favorite genre. This came out in 2006, but I didn’t read it until 2011, so it still counts. I’ve read this book at least three times in the past ten years and every time it is a gripping, fast-paced, action packed thriller of a mystery complete with an intrepid reporter (I’m a sucker for those), a plucky law student, and a political conspiracy at the highest levels of government. I was impressed that the movie followed the book so closely. Double points!
Runners Up: Cozys by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swensen series), Leslie Meier (Lucy Stone series), and newcomer Shari Randall (Lobster shop series)
Best Bookish Book
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
This could really go to the whole Thursday Next series. I’m not much into sci-fi/alternate reality books, but this one really grabbed me. I have to say, when I first read Jane Eyre, I hated it. But reading about it from Fforde’s perspective, where Thursday Next actually goes inside the book to find out whose altered it gave me a new perspective. Bookish fun at its best!
Runner up: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Best Quirky Book
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
I love quirky, weird books that have a comical twist and Christopher Moore certainly delivers. I had a hard time choosing between several of his books, but ultimately preferred the tale of Charlie Asher, who shortly after the death of his wife finds out that he has taken on the new role as Death itself. Throw in an adorable daughter, quirky neighbors and relatives, and a standout plot and you’ve got one fun read. It’s not the cleanest book, but it had me falling down laughing at certain points. I didn’t see the ending coming and still find it upsetting but satisfying.
Runner up: Anything from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.
Best Contemporary Fiction
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This kind of fits in the quirky category too, but I think it’s got to be one of the most unique contemporary fiction books I’ve read in a long time. I always like books that are told from varying perspectives of email, notes, and prose and this book pulled it off really well. Bernadette is so high strung she could have come off as unlikeable and self-indulgent, but I found myself drawn into her world. She’s a great character and I loved the story. Not sure if I want to see the movie version, because I’m afraid I’ll get disappointed.
Runner up: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Best Christian-Themed Book
The Church Builder by A.L. Shields (pseudonym for best-selling author Stephen L. Carter
I love a good thriller and was immediately drawn into this story when we read it for our church book club. It’s an intricately plotted book about the struggle between The Garden and The Wilderness as the backdrop for an FBI hunt for a woman wrongly accused of murder. She’s a pawn in a bigger game, and as you read, you think you know who the good guys and the bad guys are. But the lines become blurred and it’s hard to tell whose on the side of righteousness and who the real agnostic/atheists really are. Waiting for a good break in the action of life to dedicate to reading the sequel and getting all the answers.
Runner Up: Love Does by Bob Goff
Other Notable Books
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn
The Mitford Series by Jan Karon
The Culper Ring Series by Brad Meltzer
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Millennium Series by Stieg Larsonn/David Lagercrantz
Still Life by Louise Penny (looking forward to the rest of the series)
Anything by Beverly Lewis
So what about you? Did you agree or disagree with any of the books on my list? Comment below with your favorites!