Lake Bluff Library Staff’s Top Reads of 2010

2010 was an eventful year for the Lake Bluff Library—we got a new director, said goodbye to two long-time staff members, expanded our collection to include digital formats, and made plans to move forward with building improvements in the coming year. And of course, there were books. The Lake Bluff Library staff would like to share some of our favorite books that we read in 2010.

Carlen’s Top Reads of 2010

Fordlandia by Greg Grandin (2009—Adult Nonfiction): Very well-received adult non-fiction! Great for guys!

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins (2010—Juvenile Fiction): Teen loses cell phone reception, disaster ensues.

Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill (2009—Teen Fiction): Crazy and humorous! Teen girl “Bug” finds out her car, a classic 1958 Cadillac, is actually owned by the Devil. It’s a literal wild ride to save Bug’s soul and to keep her car!

Stitches by David Small (2009—Teen Fiction): Perfect balance of striking artwork and a heart-wrenching story line. This would be a great read for people who have not read a graphic novel before. It’s also a great book for adults, even though we have it in teen. (See full review here).

Solomon’s Thieves by Jordan Mechner (2009—Teen Fiction): The Crusades meet the graphic novel. Good artwork, and not “girly.”

Fables by Bill Willingham (2003—Teen Fiction): All your favorite fairy tale characters now living in the present but unknown by regular humans (Mundys). The first book is a murder-mystery (exciting)! The storyline increases in depth and keeps the reader interested in the following novels.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (2009—Teen Fiction): A harrowing, realistic view of anorexia from the victim herself. Very well-written and captivating.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (2009—Adult Nonfiction): Marathon runner McDougall examines human evolution with regards to running. The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico can run for hundreds of miles. Also a good guy read!


Donna’s Top Reads of 2010

Stuff of Legend by Mike Raicht (2010—Juvenile Graphic Fiction): In 1944, a young boy is kidnapped by the Bogeyman who takes him to the realm of the Dark. His playthings join forces to rescue him. Outstanding graphics; its themes of camaraderie, betrayal, bitterness, and redemption make this a page turner for all ages. (Recommended: 5th grade and up).

Forever Friends by Carin Berger (2010—Juvenile Picture Book): In the spring, a bluebird wakes a rabbit and they play together every day until the fall comes and it’s time for the bird to fly south with a promise to return in the spring. (Recommended: preschool and up).

Chi’s Sweet Home series by Konami Kanata (2004—Juvenile Graphic Fiction): This series is for cat lovers and manga lovers. It shows the adventures of the most obnoxiously cute kitten ever who finds a new home with a loving family. (Recommended: 3rd grade and up).

We are in a Book by Mo Willems (2010—Juvenile Early Reader): The genius of Mo Willems shines through in his latest addition to the Piggy and Elephant series. The main characters come to life as the reader magically enters the book. (Recommended: kindergarten and up).

Eliza’s Top Reads of 2010

The Hunger Games trilogy (2008, 2009, 2010—Juvenile Fiction): For fast-paced, can’t possibly put it down good reading. (See Eric’s review here).

Enola Holmes and the Case of the Gypsy Goodbye by Nancy Springer (2010—Juvenile Fiction): The final installment of Enola Holmes, who solves the puzzles and ciphers around her mothers disappearance while trying to stay under the radar of her older brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (1937—Juvenile Fiction)—Poirot is a really enjoyable character to follow through the classic beautifully wrought whodunits of Agatha Christie. Love triangles, jilted exes, follies of the rich and murder are on the menu for this one.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (1872—Adult Fiction)—Exquisite use of language and layered stories piled high with rich and extremely complex, flawed but sympathetically human characters. This story follows several families in a small town at a time of change.

At Home by Bill Bryson (2010—Adult Nonfiction): I would read anything this man writes, as he traces history’s footsteps through the house.

Eric’s Top Reads of 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010–Juvenile Fiction): Overcame the middle book slump of Catching Fire to provide a gripping conclusion that defied (rather than caved into) series expectations.

Slow Horses by Mitch Herron (2010–Adult Fiction): It’s that rare espionage thriller that gets the balance exactly right: the characters are allowed to be credibly intelligent spies and are given a credibly thorny problem that they unravel in a well paced and believable way. (See Eric’s full review here).

Echo by Jack McDevitt (2010–Adult Fiction): This is just a great series in general, with archeologists and collectors studying the history of a space traveling humankind 10,000 years from now. (For Eric’s full review, click here).

Work Song by Ivan Doig (2010–Adult Fiction): Okay, so this is the sequel to Whistling Season and if you’ve read that, you can’t pass on this. It stands on its own well enough, though, and Morris Morgan is a fantastic protagonist.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (2009–Adult Fiction): This is a very hit-or-miss book, love or hate, but it worked for me. I liked the universality of the novel and the slow unfolding of the story in lovingly described everyday scenes. (See Eric’s review here; for Carlen’s review, click here).

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems (2010–Juvenile Picture Book): Another book that not everyone loves, but it really worked for me. On the one hand, it’s a story about sharing and how in giving something away it’s possible to end up with more than you had ever imagined. It’s also a tale of growing up, putting away childhood things, and then finding them again when you have children of your own.

Martha’s Top Reads of 2010

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (2003—Juvenile Fiction): One of the most delightfully charming books I’ve read in a long time—this is a must-read for all fantasy fans. (See full review here)

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2008, 2009, 2010—Juvenile Fiction): An excellent trilogy that is as thoughtful as it is thrilling. (See Eric’s review of The Hunger Games here).

The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson (1982—Teen Fiction): The wit and charm of the prose and the well-rounded ensemble of characters made this novel delightfully entertaining and really showcased Ibbotson’s talent with words.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (2009—Adult Fiction): Cherie Priest does incredible justice to an almost dangerously inventive premise. The characters are vivid and the alternate history is well executed and rather strangely realistic. (See full review here).

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (2009—Adult Nonfiction): An intensely vivid account of a Syrian American business owner in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (2007—Adult Nonfiction): I came away from this book wanting to raise my own chickens and farm the front lawn. Highly recommended for fans of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (2009—Teen Fiction): Poignant, thoughtful, and utterly heartbreaking, If I Stay is a beautiful examination of family relationships. Break out the Kleenex box for this one. (See full review here).

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891—Adult Fiction): Hardy’s breathtakingly beautiful prose makes this tragedy powerful and deeply moving. (See full review here).

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (2005—Juvenile Fiction): Ruby Oliver is laugh-out-loud funny, intensely relatable, and a wonderfully well-drawn character. E. Lockhart is a talented author who effortlessly captures the spirit, diction, and drama of high school. (See full review here).

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (2009—Teen Fiction): Sequel to Stiefvater’s Lament (see my review here). I loved Lament, but Ballad was even better. Stiefvater’s take on Celtic mythology is compelling and the narration is beautifully written and uniquely voiced.

Matt’s Top Reads of 2010

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris (2010—Adult Nonfiction)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (2010—Adult Fiction)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008—Juvenile Fiction)

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins (2009—Adult Nonfiction)
Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (2010—Adult Fiction)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003—Adult Nonfiction)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010—Juvenile Fiction)

Regina’s Top Reads of 2010

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (2010—Teen Fiction): Funniest horror story I’ve ever read; clever, suspenseful, and witty.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847—Adult Fiction): Brilliant! First Gothic romance of Western literature laced with proto-feminist ideals.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (2010—Teen Fiction): Present day Paris and Paris of the 1790s collide. Wonderfully researched historical fiction. (See full review here)

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (2010—Teen Fiction): For those who love a dark, truly creepy tale. (See full review here).

Bruiser by Neil Shusterman (2010—Teen Fiction): Raises compelling ethical questions of friendship and sacrifice. (See full review here).

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland (2009—Juvenile Picture Book): Laugh-out-loud illustrations accompany gentle message.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (2009—Juvenile Fiction): Gentle, thoughtful rendering of life of 12 year old Callie at the turn of the last century.

Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka (2010—Juvenile Fiction): Compilation of short stories written by guys for guys. Will appeal to anyone who is a brother, has a brother, been a father, mother, or grandparent, or has male friend—in other words, everyone!

Dr. De Soto by William Steig (1982—Juvenile Picture Book): Classic about the clever mice who out-fox the fox!

Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger (1961—Adult Fiction): Salinger’s classic about two members of the gifted Glass family explores themes of Zen Buddhism, Christianity, modern psychology, and spiritual growth.

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile (2009—Juvenile Picture Book): two boys attempt to “do nothing” but their imaginations get in the way.

List compiled by Martha

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