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What I Read This Year: Fiction

December 27, 2010

Interestingly, over the course of the last year I didn’t share that much about what I read on this blog. However, I’ve been making up for that for the last few posts. So, it’s fitting I end this unintended mini-series with my reading roundup from 2010.

First up is fiction. The first part of the year I read much less, given the fact I was in my first trimester and could barely keep my eyes opened past 8:30 p.m. And in the fiction department, I definitely read less than usual. Although my choice of novels was lack-luster at first, the quality improved as the year went on.

So Brave, Young, and Handsome – Leif Enger**
I really loved Peace Like a River. So I approached this book which much excitement, but quickly got stuck. I just didn’t find it compelling and had a hard time sticking with it. About mid-way it picked up and I enjoyed it, but I was not driven to finish it.

March – Geraldine Brooks***
The premise of this novel was very interesting. It took the character of Mr. March from Little Women and explored what his story might have been. Readers are quickly pulled into the drama of the Civil War as Mr. March seeks to find his place in the Union army. But in many ways this book is more about a marriage, the relationship between Mr. March and “Marmee.” Parts of the book are tough to read, given that the book is set during the Civil War, but the novel as a whole is beautifully written. I also found myself losing momentum with this novel too, but pushed through and was glad I did.

Rule Britannia – Daphne DuMaurier*
I love DuMaurier. Rebecca remains one of my all-time favorite novels. I found this book at a library book sale and since I love the author, I picked it up. Glad I didn’t pay more than twenty-five cents for it, though. It was terrible in many ways. Don’t bother, just read Rebecca!

Possession: A Romance – A. S. Byatt****
Finally! The first novel of the year that absolutely captured me! Possession is gorgeously written. I’d often pause when reading, lean over to Josh, and say, “Just listen to this sentence!” Byatt is a master craftsman when it comes to the English language. She also created a fascinating book that merged history with fiction. The plot is about two academics who follow the clues in old letters to discover a connection and unknown relationship between poets from the 19th century. There are multiple layers of storytelling in this bittersweet story with themes of love, unfaithfulness and faithfulness, and of course, possession. My favorite novel of the year, hands down.

A Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton Porter****
One of my pre-teen favorites and I reread it just for a “comfort” read. For those who love Anne of Green Gables, no doubt, they too will fall in love with Elnora, this novel’s heroine. Elnora goes to high school against her mother’s wishes, paying her way through by selling naturalia and moths from the Limberlost Swamp. The swamp also holds the secret of her father’s death and her mother’s lack of love for her.

Julie – Catherine Marshall***
Another reread from my teen years. A coming-of-age story about a young girl who’s relocated with her family to a new town and helps her father’s newspaper by writing for it. Labor issues, natural disaster, and tested faith are all themes in this enjoyable story.

Christy – Catherine Marshall****
I definitely didn’t “get” all of this book the first time I read it, around the age of 14 or so. Most recently known for the TV series, Marshall’s writing was rich and beautiful. Christy Huddleston leaves her comfortable home to teach school in Cutter Gap, a tiny community in the Smokey Mountains. She goes through culture shock, experiences that challenge her faith, and finds herself involved in a dangerous feud. I found this book a masterfully told story.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett****
This would be my second favorite book of the year! I already shared my thoughts on this book in my last post.

Please share your favorite fiction titles from the past year!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 1:00 pm

    Ooooo, I’m adding Possession and Rebecca to my reading list. I may just have to re-read Marshall’s books and The Girl Of The Limberlost. I remember bits and pieces from when I was a teen but I’m sure I would enjoy them even more now.

    Thanks for your reviews!

  2. December 28, 2010 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll definitely be adding some to my list for this year!
    I didn’t read a whole lot of fiction this year, but The Blue Castle was probably my favorite, so thanks for the loan! I also managed Julie and Wives & Daughters, both suggested by you in days past. I think I’m going to have you make my reading list from now on…;)

  3. December 29, 2010 3:48 pm

    oh, too bad you didn’t like So Brave, Young and Handsome!

    Rebecca is on my “someday” list…just checked and was disappointed to find it’s not available for Kindle, otherwise I’d move it up on the list.

    you’re not the first person I’ve heard rave about The Help – so that’s on my 2011 list too. your mini-reviews of Christy and Possession make me want to check those out, too! my list is going to be even longer than last year’s list, which was already hopelessly unrealistic 🙂

    I’m not sure offhand what’s my favorite novel of the year, but I’ve been keeping track and plan to do a similar roundup post soon.

  4. January 6, 2011 1:27 pm

    You got two of my absolute favs on your list: Possession and The Help.

    I just finished a book called “the Dive from Clausen’s Pier” by Ann Packer that I really enjoyed. It wasn’t anything truly profound, but it was a good read, and I found I couldn’t put it down.

    Man you read a lot of books this year, between all the fiction and non-fiction picks listed on these posts!

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