Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best of the Decade: Laurel's Picks

As the Collection Access (aka “Cataloguing”) Librarian at HPL, I see a lot of books, CDs and DVDs as they make their way out into our library branches. Although I’m usually a chick lit and romance reader, I really enjoy reading any kind of fiction, if the story line catches my interest. Romance or mystery, I tend to gravitate toward fiction that feels “real” as if it could really happen or is based around true events or situations. If I do stray into non-fiction, they tend to be memoirs.

In compiling this list, I’ve realized that in the past 10 years, my reading habits have changed. While still a fan of the romance genre, I have found myself moving out of my self-defined reading patterns, exploring new genres, authors or topics. In particular, I’ve started exploring Canadian fiction and authors.

While the titles on my list are primarily fiction, they cover a broad range of topics and authors. I’ve done this on purpose, listing a variety of books I’ve read in the past ten years, rather than the “best”. Each book was chosen with care because, in their own way, each has influenced my reading habits of today.

Ava Comes Home by Leslie Crew

But wait…it was at this point in writing and thinking about this blog post that I realized that while 5 books came easily to mind, coming up with an additional 5 was nearly impossible. Confession: while I read a lot of books, many are purely for the sake of relaxation. Wanting to make this list meaningful, the five that I’ve listed above are books that stayed with me after I read them. So, while I’ve read more than 5 books published in the last 10 years, these are the most noteworthy to me!

So, the following 5 titles are books that I want to read based on reviews, have made a major “splash” in the literary world (or at least in my literary circles), or books that friends highly recommend.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Attack by Yasmina Khadra

The Lovely Bones: a novel
by Alice Sebold

*Fox Girl by Nora Okja Keller (HPL only has this title in Korean at this time, but we are
attempting to obtain an English edition too)

At first I thought this was going to be easy. The first couple of titles were, but trying to make it to 10 wasn’t as simple as I thought. What about you? When you really think about it, what are the top 10 books in the past 10 years that have influenced you, had an impact or have you considered the “best”?


  1. I like this post for its honesty. I was asked recently via Facebook to come up with the 10 books I've read that have left the biggest impact with me over my whole life, not just the past 10 years, and I had trouble! Like Laurel was saying, I've certainly read more books than that during that time, but sometimes the list of truly memorable ones is shorter still...

  2. Thank you for your comment! It's a bit hard to admit, as a librarian, that I can't come up with 10 books that are really meaningful. Does that mean all of the books I've read aren't any good? Not at all. I enjoy most of the books that I read, but it takes a special book to stay with you long after you've read it. I wonder, though, if that is the product of the mood you're in when you read it, or the skill of the author? Hmmm...any thoughts?

  3. sometimes the list of truly memorable ones is shorter still...