Turn it up to 11 – My favorite books of 2010

Turn it up to 11 – My favorite books of 2010

‘Tis the season for year end top 10 lists.  I don’t want to be left out, but also don’t want to just follow the herd.  So, with thanks to Nigel Tufnel, I have decided to put together a list of my favorite 11 books from this year.  You might call it the 1st Annual Word Zombie Top 11 “Books That Bit Me” List.  (Wow – that just rolls off the tongue like honey, doesn’t it?).  For the inaugural list we have a little bit of everything – global warming, impending financial collapse, ancient love affairs, unspeakable evil entities, literary sharks, short story super heroes, secret societies, beautiful covert operatives, disappearing industrialists, a telepathic super squirrel, and of course – zombies.

So, without further ado, I give you the 1st Annual Word Zombie Top 11 “Books That Bit Me” List.  (It doesn’t roll off the tongue any better the second time.  Oh well, I have a whole year to come up with a better name for next year’s list…)

11. “The Raw Shark Texts” by Steven Hall

Few books made me think more this year than “The Raw Shark Texts”.  It was built on an incredibly original idea and delivered as a multimedia experience I would not have thought possible on just the printed page.  With it’s discussions on the memories and echoes that we leave in the world, it’s a book I will visit again in the future.

10.  “A Gathering of Crows” by Brian Keene

Keene writes with a comfortable, natural style I likened to “a cold beer on a warm summer day” in my review.  This book is definitely not for the faint of heart – there are buckets of blood to be had – but it’s a must read for any self-respecting horror fan.  The further exploration of the broader “Keene mythos” is the cherry on top for longtime readers.

9. “Exponential Apocalypse” by Eirik Gumeny

Without a doubt, the funniest book I read all year.  I shouldn’t have liked it, but it made me laugh out loud.  As I said in my review, it was absurd to the point of being profound.  How can you not love a book that includes Timmy the telepathic super squirrel?

8. “20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill

I only just discovered Joe Hill this year, and devoured all three of his published works.  I decided to include the first that I read, his short fiction anthology – “20th Century Ghosts”.   There are some hits and some misses in the collection, but it’s worth reading just for “The Cape”.  It was the best short story I’ve read in a VERY long time.

7. “The Great Global Warming Blunder” – by Roy W. Spencer

One of only two non-fiction books on my list, “The Great Global Warming Blunder” helps examine and explode the myth of man-made global warming.  Roy Spencer lays out his case and then asks only that it get a fair hearing – a return to the objective evaluation of data that seems to have been tossed aside in the global warming debate.  Take his advice -read the book, and make up your own mind.

6. “Search” by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

As I said in my review of “Search”, if you like your mysteries ancient, your societies secret, and your action pulse pounding – this is the book for you.  If it were just an entertaining paperback read for that cross-country airplane flight it would be worth the time – but it also works as a more layered look at the relationship between science and religion.

5. “Feed” by Mira Grant

This is that rare combination of a great STORY, that also happens to be a great ZOMBIE story.  Mira Grant constructs a world filled with characters and zombies that allow us to look at not only what the zombie apocalypse might look like, but also forces us to ask the question – in a world full of danger, loss, and fear; how important is the truth?

4. “The Athena Project” by Brad Thor

It was a tough choice for me as to which Brad Thor book to include on the list for this year – “The Athena Project” or “Foreign Influence”. Both were great reads.  In the end, I think “The Athena Project” opens up an exciting new avenue for Brad Thor.  While not as political as his other novels, this one offered up and exciting new blend of action and science.  If you’re not a Brad Thor fan yet, you should be.

3. “Ysabel” by Guy Gavriel Kay

This was the most enjoyable fiction book of the year for me. Guy Gavariel Kay writes with a lyrical prose that both respects his readers and rewards them for their engagement in the story.  Whether you have read Kay’s prior fantasy work or not – “Ysabel” will not disappoint you.

2. “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand

This was the hardest, and in some ways most rewarding book I read this year.  Dense with both words and ideas, it’s not a book to be approached lightly.  Stick with it and you will be rewarded with an examination of what makes this country great as well as a warning about the evils of progressivism and collectivism.

1. “Broke” by Glenn Beck

One of the absolute best non-fiction books I have ever read.  If you have any concerns about the financial, political, or moral problems this country is facing – you should read this book.  Beck puts together a compelling case not only for where we have been and where we are, but also for where we should be going.  Beck fan or not, do yourself and favor and read this book.

So there you have it – my 11 favorite books of the year.  I’m curious about what you think.  Did I leave something off?  Disagree with the order I have them in?  Let me know if you have any suggestions for books to read next year – I would love to know what you think.   Until then – Happy New year!

© 2010 – 2011, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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