Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Top Reads

Every January I reflect on the past year's reading and draw attention to a few special books so I hesitated at participating in this week's list at first.  I wouldn't want to make my annual review sound repetitive, but I don't think it has anything to worry about.

Top Ten Top Reads

This book immediately came to mind as soon as I read the weekly topic. If I did a 'Book of the Year', this would be it. Mann reexamines the civilizations of the Americas, asserting that they manipulated the environment to suit their needs just as heavily as European nations

I have read three fictional biographies and two or three conventional biographies of Jesus, and this is the best of either category. Despite being written to amuse, Moore's Jesus is more believable and sympathetic than any I've yet read.

Essays, news articles, and poems condemning the United States' role in Cuba and the Phillipines,  quite useful to a student of the period or American expansionism in general. 

I have found philosophy a stalwart ally in living a quiet, happy life, and Irvine's work makes one of the better philosophical worldviews both understandable and relevant to the modern mind. 

5. Red Emma Speaks, Emma Goldman

Red Emma Speaks collects essays and other opinion pieces by anarchist and social activist Emma Goldman, who regarded as inhuman most of which society holds dear --  states, capitalism, organized religion, and marriage. She was a great defender of human rights. (Speaking of which, this book was in my backpack when a police officer searched both myself and my car back in January. He was a small town cop, though, so I don't think he knew who she was.)

6. African Exodus: the Origins of Modern Humanity, Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie

Essentially a history of human evolution; I especially enjoyed the chapters on human and Neanderthal interaction.

7. The Lady Elizabeth, Alison Weir

The first of many reads by Alison Weir this summer, being the story of Queen Elizabeth's childhood. 

8. The Iron Heel, Jack London
One of the first dystopias, and one predicts in part the rise of fascism. This is the story of Ernest Everhard, Marxist revolutionary who takes on the corporate police state. It was written in 1907 -- a decade before the Russian revolution. 

9. Lost Souls, David Mack
The stunning conclusion to the incomparable Destiny trilogy, which sets the stage for an entirely new generation of Trek literature.

I was very impressed by this book when reading it. I had no idea how influential coal has been. 

Honorable Mentions:
1. The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs
2. Captain Horatio Hornblower, C.S. Forester
3. Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell
4. Revenge of the Sith, Matthew Stover
5. La Belle France, Alistair Horne


  1. A good list. I'm planning something similar - the Top 5 books of 2007-2010 - in the next few weeks (once I've got my review pile down to a reasonable level.)

  2. Very diverse list. I've added Stoic Joy to my wishlist at Amazon.

    Here is my Top Ten of 2010 post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/12/top-ten-books-ive-read-in-2010.html

  3. I always love your lists! So glad to see Lamb on someone else's list as well! Such a great book!

  4. Top 10 Books I Read in 2010

    1. The Trophy Bride's Tale by Cyrilla Barr
    2. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
    3. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
    4. Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown by Jason Dawes & Grant Wilson
    5. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner
    6. A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story by Charles Franklin Emery III
    7. Citizen Mitten by William Voedisch
    8. High on a Mountain by Tommie Lyn
    9. Expiation by Greg Messel
    10. A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore

  5. @CyberKitten: That sounds difficult. I've pawed through your book archives a time or two, and there's some good stuff in there!

  6. Completely intriguing list! I'm adding Coal to my TBR pile for sure and Stoic Joy too probably.

    thanks!! :)

  7. I just got a copy of Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir. It'll be my first book by her.

  8. This is an awesome list! I liked LAMB very much, too. :")


    Frl. Irene Palfy

  9. African Exodus seems to be the book I would like to read from your list.

  10. Wow, great list. Love Alison Weir. Haven't read Lady Elizabeth, but Innocent Traitor made my list.

    1491 has been on my to-buy list for a couple years now, but something else always seems to trump it.

    Also, the Year of Living Biblically just missed my list, too. I especially love when his wife sits on every chair in the house out of spite.


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