Category Archives: Book Lists

This Must Be the Place for Great Books: Massachusetts Must-Reads

A friendly summer challenge from the Massachusetts Center for the Book: Read and discuss the 12 Must-Read titles in each category (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/YA) before winners are announced in the fall.
The Must-Read lists are beautiful! You can print them and take them into the library or local bookstore, or post them as reminders that Massachusetts has champion writers as well as sports teams.

Book lists from the Massachusetts Center for the Book:

Print Version of Must-Read Fiction 2011
Print Version of Must-Read Nonfiction 2011
Print Version of Must-Read Poetry 2011
Print Version of Must-Read Children’s/Young Adult Literature 2011

I’m in the middle of This Must Be the Place, a first novel by Kate Racculia, an Emerson College grad living in Boston, and will be posting to the MassBook Facebook discussion REALLY soon.

Best of 2010 Book Lists

>The best of 2010 lists have started! A music and culture blog, Largehearted Boy, will help you keep up with daily updates to a list of “Best of 2010” book lists, from specific lists like Chess Book of the Year and Best Cookbooks of 2010 to general lists from Amazon, Booklist, the Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, etc. There’s even a link to a list of the 10 best “Best of” books of 2010 on the Jacket Copy blog.
General “Best of 2010” book lists imply that all books published that year have been sifted through and all possible finalists shortlisted and read. An impossible task, even with a committee working on the list. Maybe that’s why The New York Times publishes a “Notable Books” of the year list in addition to a “10 Best Books” list. These lists usually come out in December as a gift-buying guide. (Click here to see the New York Times Best Books of 2009 list. Ouch! I only got around to reading one of the five recommended fiction books — A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore — but it was one of my favorite books last year, so I’m glad it made the list.) How many of the best books of 2010 can we read before the 2011 books start appearing? Which to read first?
So far, my personal “Best Novels of 2010” list includes, in order of most recently read:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (yes, along with most everyone else!)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (first in, apparently, a very long trilogy)
The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst (author of The Dogs of Babel)
Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott (Canadian author)
The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller (playwright’s response to 9/11)
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (linked stories)
So Much for That by Lionel Shriver (terminal illness)
Blackout by Connie Willis (sequel out now, All Clear, time travel)
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris (disturbing neurological condition)
The Privileges by Jonathan Dee (rich people and their problems)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (young adult fantasy, prequel)

    Others that I would like to read are showing up on many lists:

    The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
    The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
    The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
    To the End of the Land by David Grossman

      Room by Emma Donoghue is a recently published novel I don’t know if I will read, although it’s showing up on several best books lists. It’s about a five-year-old boy who lives caged up in a small room with his mother. Read the New York Times review here to see whether you want to try it.
      What 2010 novels or short stories do I need to add to my must-read list?

      Audiobooks for Everyone

      Booklist audiobook blogger Mary Burkey has posted a list of family-friendly audiobooks perfect for car trips. For older kids and teens, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, has also posted its list of Amazing Audiobooks for Teens.

      It was a running joke in my family that whenever my husband or one of the kids came in while I was listening to an audiobook in the kitchen, the opening to an off-color scene or an impressive string of swears would invariably issue forth from the speakers before I could reach the remote. These lists of family-friendly audiobooks come too late for me, but may be helpful to others.
      A young adult audiobook I have recently listened to and liked was the Full Cast production of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. It’s a good introduction to the steampunk genre for kids, and a rollicking adventure that adults will also enjoy.