My Top 50 Books from Last 10 Years

The end of the year and this decade arrived unexpectedly. Well, not completely unexpectedly for the former, but the whole ‘where did the twenty teens go?’ thing caught me by surprise. I’ve been reading and listening to ‘decade in review’ articles and podcasts for the last couple of weeks. Which inspired me to analyze my reading of 965 books over the last ten years.

The following compilation of ‘Top Five’ books for each year starting in 2010, do not include my occasional re-reads of favorites, like the works of Tolkien, Lewis, Jordan, Donaldson and Modesitt.

2010 (read 102) 

  1. Blackout/All Clear by Willis (Hugo/Nebula/Locus Best Novel Awards) 
  2. Under Heaven by GGK 
  3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Stein 
  4. A Civil Compaign by Bujold 
  5. Breath and Bone/Flesh and Spirit by Berg 

2011 (read 75) 

  1. Wars of Light and Shadow (books 5-9) by Wurts 
  2. The Lions of Al-Rassan by GGK 
  3. The Wise Man’s Fear by Rothfuss 
  4. The Empire Trilogy by Feist & Wurts 
  5. Ready Player One by Cline 

2012 (read 84) 

  1. Legend by Gemmell 
  2. Among Others by Walton (Hugo/Nebula Best Novel Awards) 
  3. Grass by Tepper 
  4. The Terror by Simmons 
  5. Archangel by Shinn 

2013 (read 102) 

  1. A Memory of Light by Jordan/Sanderson 
  2. River of Stars by GGK 
  3. Ancillary Justice by Leckie (Hugo/Nebula/Locus Best Novel Awards) 
  4. Transformation by Berg 
  5. Red Moon and Black Mountain by Chant 

2014 (read 136) 

  1. Ancillary Sword by Leckie (Locus Best Novel Award) 
  2. The Guns of August by Tuchman (Pulitzer Prize) 
  3. The Martian by Weir 
  4. The Darkest Road by GGK 
  5. Words of Radiance by Sanderson 

2015 (read 62) 

  1. Ancillary Mercy by Leckie (Locus Best Novel Award) 
  2. Testament of Youth by Brittain 
  3. The Seamstress by Bernstein 
  4. The Emperor’s Blades by Staveley 
  5. City of Thieves by Benioff 

2016 (read 88) 

  1. Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Chambers 
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr (Pulitzer Prize) 
  3. Children of Earth and Sky by GGK 
  4. A Closed and Common Orbit by Chambers 
  5. Red Rising by Brown 

2017 (read 109) 

  1. All Systems Red by Wells (Hugo/Nebula/Locus Best Novella Awards) 
  2. Traitor’s Blade by de Castell 
  3. Destiny’s Conflict by Wurts 
  4. The Children of Hurin by Tolkien 
  5. Alexander Hamilton by Chernow 

2018 (read 104) 

  1. Murderbot Diaries by Wells 
  2. Islandia by Wright 
  3. Oathbringer by Sanderson 
  4. A Town Like Alice by Shute 
  5. The Fall of Gondolin by Tolkien 

2019 (read 102) 

  1. Master of Middle-earth by Kocher (Mythopoeic Scholarship Award) 
  2. The Return of the Shadow by Tolkien 
  3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Towles 
  4. The Calculating Stars by Kowal (Hugo/Nebula/Locus Best Novel Awards) 
  5. The Future is Female anthology edited by Yaszek 

Final Thoughts

My focus the last couple of years has been Tolkien because I’m deeply involved in the local Smial of the Withywindle (aka the Tolkien Society of Kansas City). I tried to keep my Tolkien obsession out of the list above as much as I could (barring the current year). Setting aside Tolkien (while difficult for me), returns me to my absolute favorite read for the decade. However, it’s not a single book. Rather, it is an entire series by Janny Wurts, the Wars of Light and Shadow, all ten published books, all of which I read more than once over the last ten years. Janny is currently writing the fifth and final arc, Song of the Mysteries, and I anticipate re-reading all ten books before publication.

An honorable mention and the only addition to my favorites shelf since I created it in 2008 should go to Martha Wells and her Murderbot Diaries series. I’ve read all four published novellas multiple times and I purchased both the ebook and audiobook editions, something I’ve only done for Tolkien (and would have done for Janny had audio editions been available). Her next installment, Network Effect, is due to be published in May 2020, is a novel (not a novella) and will be my first pre-order of the new year and the new decade.

What were your favorite reads of the twenty teens? Post them in the comments.

For now, I’m off to my finish my current reading adventures before starting my first new read of the new year and next decade. Ironically, the next book in my queue is Hard Times by Charles Dickens, a book club selection to be discussed next week in my home town library.

2 thoughts on “My Top 50 Books from Last 10 Years”

    1. So was I, especially in the year where I only read three books that made it to my ‘loved-it’ book shelf on GoodReads (I believe that was the year I only read 62 books – two per month – all year). My selections, of course, are entirely subjective and often involve entire series (even if those ‘series’ comprised only two books, aka as a duology – like Blackout/All Clear by Willis in 2010.

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