January 11, 2011

This year we've decided to seek out an impartial judge for determing our picks for DDG's Top Books of 2010, none other than The Year 2010 herself!

Kenny:Congratulations on completing your term of service. I hope you get some down time now.
The Year 2010: Thanks Kenny. It is a big relief! The Council keeps the most recent Year of Record pretty busy though, new kid on the block and all that.
Kenny: No hazing I hope?
The Year 2010: Oh no, mostly PR stuff.
Kenny: Yes and we certainly appreciate a moment of your time in that regard!
The Year 2010: Of course. Now you asked me to reveal the top books of my year in six categories. For Hardcover Fiction you probably noted that two books got the most critical attention, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Justin Cronin's The Passage.  Freedom has gotten more award attention since it fits pre-set norms of being A Great American Novel and all that tosh, but The Passage is more fun and a better book.
Kenny: Totally agree.
The Year 2010: As for Non Fiction Hardcover, there were certainly a number of stately historical biographies, Washington, Colonel Roosevelt, Franklin And Eleanor, and so forth, and they are worthy books, but were they more fun or more informative than The Wave? Not in my ledger.
Kenny: Yes worthy books all but I think your choice is the right one.
The Year 2010: For Paperback Fiction I'm going to go with a paperback original, The Long Ships, which is a shout out to The Years 1941, and 1945, when it was first published in two parts in Sweden. For Paperback Non Fiction, my pick is a shout out to the Year 1979, the lovely reprint of John Fowles' splendid The Tree.
Kenny: Great what about Young Adult and Picture books?
The Year 2010: Well, those are difficult, of course, but I think The Quiet Book is such a marvel, and for YA my choice is Crunch, we Years think a lot about the quality of timelessness and Crunch really embodies that.
Kenny: It sure does. Thanks Year 2010!
The Year 2010: My pleasure.

Hardcover Fiction and Non Fiction
The Passage

The Passage
By Cronin, Justin
2010-06 - Ballantine Books
9780345504968 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.00 - Your Price: $21.60


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If you're a fiction lover you want a big book that's big fun, and The Passage is all that. A calamitous future, fascinatingly developed over a broad span of time, characters you grow attached too, lots of unexpected twists and turns, flashes of grand style set amidst a hurtling pace, is just the thing to spend some time hunkered down with. ...More

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean
By Casey, Susan
2010-09 - Doubleday Books
9780767928847 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.95 - Your Price: $22.36


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Casey follows a unique tribe of extreme surfers as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave. In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Laird Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves. ...More

Paperback Fiction and Non Fiction
 
The Long Ships

The Long Ships
By Bengtsson, Frans Gunnar
2010-07 - New York Review of Books
9781590173466 - Paperback
List Price $17.95 - Your Price: $14.36


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I'm sure we can all agree that masterpieces of historical fiction set in the Viking Age are one of life's great pleasures. Now if you had spent time yesterday railing against the fact that the two best of these, E.R. Eddison's Styrbiorn The Strong and Fran G. Bengtsson's The Long Ships, were out of print, while Haggard's entertaining The Saga of Eric Brighteyes is only available as a dubious print on demand version, you would have been on solid ground. That was last year. This year a lovely new edition of The Long Ships hits the shelves, with an introduction by Michael Chabon. Yes it's still not a perfect world when it comes to Viking Age Historical fiction reprints, but we're better off than we were yesterday. Huzzah! ...More

The Tree

The Tree
By Fowles, John
2010-10 - Ecco
9780061997778 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $13.99 - Your Price: $11.19


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A subtle reminder that books can themselves be works of art this lovely reprint of British novelist John Fowles autobiographical essay on the interdependence of wildness in nature and creativity in human nature is itself a perfect blend of form and substance. As much a pleasure to hold in the hand as it is to read, The Tree, has grown rather than receded from relevance over time. ...More

Picture Book
 
The Quiet Book

The Quiet Book
By Underwood, Deborah
2010-04 - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
9780547215679 - Library Binding
List Price $12.95 - Your Price: $10.36


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The Quiet Book is a wonderfully simple exploration of one complex idea, all the different kinds of quiet, such as "Hide-N-Seek quiet, Right before you yell SURPRISE Quiet, First snowfall Quiet, and Lollypop Quiet." Each page is a world unto itself. Gentle and evocative drawings convey the emotional range of being quiet in a manner which will make for a truly thoughtful read aloud experience for reader and child. ...More

Young Adult
 
Crunch

Crunch
By Connor, Leslie
2010-04 - Katherine Tegen Books
9780061692291 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $16.99 - Your Price: $13.59


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Crunch is a wonder of an old fashioned read aloud story for the whole family. As our own Amy Graham writes of it, "All my favorite elements are here: siblings who stick together, a strong sense of community and place, innovative problem solving, and an appreciation for the good things in life (a bike ride, dinner with friends, satisfaction taken in an honest day's work, self-expression through art). And that's not to mention the deftly imagined gasoline shortage that has turned highways into bike paths." ...More

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