Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Posted May 15, 2012 by in Top Ten Tuesday / 30 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was originally supposed to be “Top Ten Authors I’d Like To See On A Reality Show,” but then some feedback about its difficulty made Jamie give us a Freebie Week, as well. Thank goodness, because–and I’m in no way judging anyone who enjoys them–I can’t stand those reality shows and I would be mortified to see any of my favorite authors participating in them (not only because some of them are dead). Just thinking about it makes me shudder.

So, since today is also a freebie, I thought I’d look back over all the books I’ve read so far this year and give props to my ten favorites. They are listed in the order I read them, and clicking on a linked book title will take you to my review of that book.

My favorite books so far this year:

  1. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  2. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
  3. The Bee-Loud Glade, by Steve Himmer
  4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
  5. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (review to come) — If you love Thoreau’s Walden, you’ll love Dillard’s Pilgrim. If you aren’t crazy about Walden (or if you’ve never read it), but enjoy nature writing, you’ll still love Pilgrim.
  6. In One Person, by John Irving
  7. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski (review to come) — Super creepy. One of a kind. I’m having a hard time deciding how I’d like to review this one, but don’t take my silence as a bad thing. This book is excellent. Did I mention that it’s creepy?
  8. 11/22/63, by Stephen King (review to come) — I enjoy Stephen King’s science fiction/fantasy novels much more than his straight-up horror novels, and 11/22/63 is really good. In fact, I think I like this better than Under the Dome.
  9. All of Toni Morrison’s fictionThe Cambridge Companion to Toni Morrison — I know this is cheating, but I recently finished re-reading all of Toni Morrison’s fiction in anticipation of her new novel that was just published on May 8th, and I couldn’t leave any of those books off this list. Her new novel, Home, is also great. I will be writing up something about The Cambridge Companion sometime soon, but for now I will just say that if you love Toni Morrison, the companion is a must-have. It’s fantastic.
  10. Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead

If you had to list your favorites so far this year, what would your list look like? Share your favorites in a comment–I’d love to hear about them!


  • I love your Top Ten Tuesday! I spent so many years reading for school or work, that reading for pleasure seemed oxymoronic to me. I have a lot of catching up to do now, because I’ve renewed my love affair with reading for ME. So, I adore your lists, because they include great books from then and now!

    • Thank you! I’m glad you’re getting back into the habit of reading for enjoyment. I didn’t do much of that when I was in college, either.

  • Reblogged this on Into the Mouth of Madness.

  • 11/22/63!! I’ve gotten half way through it, but have been loving it!! 🙂 My TTT

    • Great! I love how Stephen King puts his own spin on everything, even if they’re well-used ideas like time travel. He’s got such a great imagination.

  • Erica Drayton

    What if you’ve only read 8 books so far this year? :-/…I’m trying to read one book every 3-4 days but work/life have been preventing me from this goal!

    • I know not everyone has the time to read as much as I do, and I’ve actually been able to read a ton more this year than I did last year.

      I think eight books is still a good amount–I mean, that’s about two books a month! Do you have a favorite or two out of those eight?

      • Erica Drayton

        Well I read Jenny Lawson’s book which had me laughing till I was crying! I actually bought it for my Aunt as a Mothers Day gift. I wrote a little review about it in my blog. I also enjoyed Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore. I have every single one of his books and I got to meet him at a book signing for his latest book Sacre Bleu (which I will eventually get to read in my LONG list of books that are ahead of that one…)

        • Jenny Lawson’s book made me laugh a whole bunch, too. That woman is hilarious.

          It’s really awesome that you got to meet Christopher Moore! I haven’t read any of his books, but I hear so many good things about them. Once my huge TBR pile goes down some more, I’ll have to give his books a shot.

          • Erica Drayton

            If I may make a recommendation…start with Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

            It will NOT disappoint whatsoever! Fool and The Stupidest Angel are also just as good 🙂

          • You may always make book recommendations here. When I get to him, I will definitely read those three first, in that order. Thank you!

          • Erica Drayton

            Any time. I must say I love your blog. I’m working on my own ( and it’s not easy trying to find my own voice in a sea full of so many voices already. Would you mind imparting some advice on me? I’d be most appreciative.

          • I will email you. 🙂 Your site looks great, though!

  • You’ve had a fantastic year! I can’t even think of my favorites for this year though I did enjoy The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

    • Thanks, Vasilly! That one is on my TBR pile, and lots of people have really liked it. I have so many books I want to read. Sigh. Hahaha!

  • My favorite this year has definitely been The Awakening by Kate Chopin’s for back to the classics challenge. I must say your reading list is inspiring.

    • Thank you, Karen! I read The Awakening a long time ago, and I think I should re-read it (I can’t remember a whole lot about it). I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for reminding me!

      • You’re welcome.

  • Heather! You’ve done so much reading this year! and amazingly you have managed to review most of it. I read The Sense Of An Ending, and some Toni Morissons too (and I’m going to buy Home this month)
    Also, I started the new stephen King novel. hope to compare notes with you with that one.

    Oh, I shifted my blog to its own website. please do visit!
    and please do follw. I reviewd The Help there yeatserday

    • I’m even amazing myself with how much reading I’ve been able to get done so far this year. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on HOME and 11/22/63.

      I subscribed to your new site by email. For some odd reason, I’m not able to add it to my blog reader. Hmmm…

  • Pilgrim’s been a favorite of mine for many years. Nice list.

    • Thanks! I fell in love with Annie Dillard and her writing last year when I read An American Childhood. A good friend gave me Pilgrim for my birthday last year–I don’t know why I waited so long to read it. It’s like Walden + Dillard, so I knew I would love it.

  • Heather, how much King have you read? He’s one of my favorite authors! I was really disappointed with the ending of Under The Dome – I had hoped it had the potential to be a new The Stand (probably my favorite King novel ever – I just love it) but I felt the ending was just … lame … and lousy … and way worse words, not starting with l 😉

    • I have read a whole bunch of King. His Dark Tower series is my all-time favorite series. I’ve read a lot of his horror stuff, but I don’t really get into that stuff so much. I have not read The Stand, I’ve only seen the movie (I will read it one of these days). I really enjoyed Under the Dome, but I agree with you about the ending. I was a bit disappointed with it, myself.

      • If you liked the Under the Dome, I think you’re going to love The Stand. There are a lot of similarities between the two and as far as I can understand, the main baddie in The Stand is also a huge player in Dark Tower.

        • A few of the characters in the DT series are from his other books, which I think is great.

          • Yeah, me too. I love how sometimes he just mentions briefly a character from another book and lets us know what happened later. There’s a guy reading through all King’s novels in chronological order at The Guardian and these connections between books is some of the things he focuses on. It’s very interesting – I think he has read through the three first novels so far.

          • Oh, cool. I’ll have to look up what he’s written about them so far. Thanks for the heads up!

          • Here’s the link: (Better late than never, huh?)

          • Thank you!