For the Love of Books, Year in Review

A Decade of Reading| 2010-2019

The 2010s have been a formative year for me as a reader.  I’ve always loved books but I haven’t always been a reader.  It wasn’t until I graduated from high school and was able to choose the books I wanted to read that I truly became a voracious reader.  Then in 2011, I got a part-time job at my local library.  Through that job, I discovered new authors, new series, and even genres I’d never really considered before.  I also met many book lovers like myself.  One of those booklovers, a fellow librarian, introduced me to Goodreads.com and even though I had to leave the job when life intervened, I continued to make discoveries.  In 2015 I started this blog for a couple of reasons but mainly because I missed sharing my passion for good books with the patrons and librarians at work.  It has been a joy share the ups and downs of the reader’s life.  As the decade comes to a close, I thought I’d take the time to review some of the best and most important books I’ve read over the past 10 years.  I’ve tried to narrow it down, but I’ve read a lot of great books during the decade so bear with me.

Romance:   Sometimes you just need the comfort and escape of the modern fairytale quality of a good Rom/Com.  I discovered, however, that not all books that can be categorized as Romance fit into the mold of that stereotype.

Historical Fiction:  I love learning about history and while I understand that Historical Fiction takes liberties with the facts, it is a gateway to learning the true stories behind the fictionalized versions.  And who doesn’t love being transported to another place and time?

Fantasy:  Of all of the genres I read, this is the one about which my feelings have changed the most.  As a child, while I loved a good fairytale story, I tended to gravitate toward the wit and realism of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby series and then the young adult fiction of Judy Blume where the characters and their situations were recognizable.  Then came Harry Potter.  Ever since reading that seminal series, I’ve been searching for more Fantasy fiction that captivates me as Harry’s world did.

Children’s Literature:  It’s okay to look back when it comes to reading.  Whether it’s revisiting an old favorite or discovering a classic I’d missed when I was younger, there is nothing to warm the soul like reading a good children’s story.

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
  • The Star Seed by Mary Alice Fontenot *
    • This one, in particular, transports me back to my childhood.  The author was a local woman who made yearly visits to my elementary school where she would usually read from one of her Clovis Crawfish books.  I loved this sweet telling of the Christmas story as a child but it is difficult to find so a few years ago my friend surprised me with a copy for my birthday ♥.
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Western:  Since reading Lonesome Dove in college, I’ve been on the lookout for another as transporting as that classic.  Plus, when I find a good one, I get to share it with my father and sharing a good book is always fun.

Wide Open
Well-written western about a real-life incident

Mystery/Thriller:  Mystery is another genre I don’t read too much of though I do enjoy the occasional cozy mystery, particularly one set in Britain.  There are a few exceptions though.  I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.

Chick-Lit:  This is another genre that gets a bad rap but it is my favorite genre so it hurts when people put it down based a few crappy wannabe Chick-Lit novels.  I know about those; I’ve read more than my fair share of them.

Women’s Fiction:  Women’s Fiction, to me, is basically the Judy Blume books I loved as a teen all grown up, dealing with issues that all women face from the mundane to the extraordinary.

Fiction:  Some books just don’t fit into the mold of any one genre but I had to mention them.

Classic Literature:  These are the books that have endured in our hearts and minds for generations and make their way onto every must-read list ever compiled.

Miscellaneous: 

 

Reviews

Review: Watership Down

Watership Down
Watership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This falls under the category of ‘I should have read this in school’. Watership Down was a Summer Reading choice when I was in middle school but with a title like Watership Down, I thought it was about sailing. If I’d known it was a tale of rabbits, I might have read it. If I wasn’t daunted by its size (back then I tended to choose my required reading based on size and that rarely worked out for me). Even after I learned that Watership Down is the story of a group of rabbits that bravely leave their burrow to escape an unknown danger based entirely on one rabbit’s faith, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What it is is an adventure tale filled with danger and suspenseful moments.
It is also a well-researched novel, full of facts about the nature of rabbits (and other creatures) and descriptions of their environment. Yet this attention to detail doesn’t make the story drag; they serve to make the story even more real. There are times, though, when it seems to be going by slowly despite the many thrilling predicaments the lapine characters find themselves in. Rather than being a flaw, I feel that this shows Richard Adams’s (RIP) mastery. With the steady stream of dangers, worries, and stories he somehow demonstrated how big the world seems to these small creatures with their many enemies (those they know and those they discover along the way). The main action of the story apparently takes place over a matter of days (a couple of weeks tops) rather than weeks or months and the ground they cover a matter of some few miles. Watership Down explores many themes that are still relevant today – faith, leadership, courage, the balance of nature, and the importance of cleverness and intelligence (as well as many more). I believe that this powerful book is important and will remain so as long as humans live alongside other animals and each other. For more information on the story and the journey of Watership Down, this site has a nice little run down and a map: https://www.tripline.net/trip/Watersh…
View all my reviews