best books of the decade

Favorite Books of the Decade!

Picking favorites is always hard. Nearly impossible. There have been so many incredible books over the years, I had a hard time narrowing it down! Here’s just a sampling of what I’ve read from 2010-2019.

I’d love to know your favorites.  Find me here and let me know which books stood out to you!

2010

The Man Who Risked It All by Laurent Gounelle was a lovely, thought-provoking, positive story. It’s not a self-help book but you will glean some wise gems from inside of this fantastic novel.

Looking down from the Eiffel Tower, Alan Greenmor stands on the edge, determined to end it all. As he prepares to jump, his thoughts are interrupted by a cough. To his right is a mysterious stranger in a dark suit, smoking a cigar. This is Yves Dubreuil. The person who will change Alan’s life.

Dubreuil convinces Alan to reconsider his plans, with one caveat: instead of ending his life, he will give his life over to Dubreuil. In return, Dubreuil promises to teach Alan the secrets to happiness and success.

And so, Alan embarks on a wild ride of self-discovery. From a humiliating fiasco at a Parisian bakery, to finding the strength to assert himself in his company’s boardroom, Alan learns to overcome his deepest fears and self-doubts, face life’s unexpected twists and turns, take crazy risks, and fully accept himself in the process.

I’d like to read everything the author has written but almost all of his books are in another language and have not been translated!

Find the book here.

 

2011

True crime is a genre I enjoy because oftentimes, truth is stranger than fiction. The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal is a fascinating look at Clark Rockefeller, a grifter who essentially talked his way into high society.

The story of Clark Rockefeller is a stranger-than-fiction twist on the classic American success story of the self-made man-because Clark Rockefeller was totally made up. The career con man who convincingly passed himself off as Rockefeller was born in a small village in Germany. At seventeen, obsessed with getting to America, he flew into the country on dubious student visa documents and his journey of deception began.

Over the next thirty years, boldly assuming a series of false identities, he moved up the social ladder through exclusive enclaves on both coasts-culminating in a stunning twelve-year marriage to a rising star businesswoman with a Harvard MBA who believed she’d wed a Rockefeller.

The imposter charmed his way into exclusive clubs and financial institutions-working on Wall Street, showing off an extraordinary art collection-until his marriage ended and he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter, which exposed his past of astounding deceptions as well as a connection to the bizarre disappearance of a California couple in the mid-1980s.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It was sent to me for review when it was first published and I wasn’t as into true crime as I am now but the story captivated me. I went on to recommend this book to numerous people and lent the book out so much that eventually, I just didn’t get it back. I hope whoever has it now enjoyed it as much as I did.

Buy the book here!

 

2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was all the rage back in 2012 when it came out. I was so eager to read it and my expectations were sky-high.

Upon reading the book, I wasn’t overwhelmed… until I finished and took the time to reflect on the characters and the plot, the way the author structured the story, the twists, and turns. Its on my favorites list because I am in awe of how with this novel, Gillian managed to usher in a new genre, that of the domestic thriller.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Less intense than a horror, easier to read than a police procedural, and extremely entertaining, this book opened the door for many writers who pen domestic thriller/suspense, dark stories with unreliable narrators.

Buy it here.

2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was a treat to read. Yes, I did cry after reading it! And I hate crying.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

This book is the perfect combination of an emotional storyline plus a quirky and loveable main character with a huge problem. It’s warm and lovely and heartbreaking and I don’t think I will ever forget Louisa and her striped tights.

Find more about this book here.

 

2014

I remember starting The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin one night and reading so late into the wee hours of the morning because I was completely hooked on the journey of Mr. Fikry.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.

This is such a wonderful story and it has humor and its quirky and the characters are so well written, it was a joy to read.

More here!

 

2015

Kristin Hannah’s AMAZING and extremely loved novel, The Nightingale is as perfect as a book can get. This five-star read is set during World War II. It details the story of two sisters in German-occupied, war-torn France. This historical novel has everything from romance to suspense to a storyline that keeps you turning the pages.

The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

It’s just fantastic. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t absolutely love this book! And it will be turned into a movie which I am so excited about!

Buy the book here!

 

2016

Love Warrior By Glennon Doyle Melton was an Oprah Book Club pick which is how it was brought to my attention.

The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.”

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out―three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list―her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

What I loved about this book was how beautifully and honestly Glennon writes. Her story is raw and rich and detailed and she is a truly gifted writer who can evoke emotions through her words.

More on this book here!

 

2017

THIS BOOK! Wow. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne was a stunning story. He is another writer who just knows how to string along beautiful sentences and descriptions to the point where I read and reread his words. And the story of Cyril broke my heart again and again.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

Buy the book here.

2018

Force of Nature by Jane Harper is atmospheric suspense that kept me on my toes from beginning to end. What a gifted writer she is and what a gripping story this was! One of my favorite plots is when a group of people are put in an unfamiliar place and they either have to survive the elements or survive each other. Or both.

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

I loved this so much and look forward to everything the author writes in the future.

Get it here!

2019

This year was INCREDIBLE for books! I surpassed my Goodreads challenge of reading 90 books in the year and will finish with reading almost 200! Yes, I trimmed down my TV watching and yes, I have been going to bed way past my bedtime. But the sacrifices I’ve made were well worth it, hahaha!

How could I choose a single favorite book for this year? I really can’t. I will be writing a post on my favorite books of 2019 soon, but I decided to choose a non-fiction title for this feature.

As I have mentioned, I love the true crime genre and always enjoyed books by Ann Rule, the queen of true crime writing. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago. It definitely takes a certain skill to pen a true story with facts, police and FBI files, interviews, and chilling details.

American Predator by Maureen Callahan is the gritty story of serial killer Israel Keyes who I first learned about from listening to a Crime Junkies podcast.

 The names of notorious serial killers are usually well-known; they echo in the news and in public consciousness. But most people have never heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as “a force of pure evil,” Keyes was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried “kill kits”–cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools–in remote locations across the country. Over the course of fourteen years, Keyes would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home to Alaska, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter.

When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years–uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous, randomly committed crimes in his wake–many of which remain unsolved to this day.

To be able to take such a serious topic and turn it into a page-turner was a giant feat by the author and I salute her for a job well done. I hope Maureen continues to write in the true crime genre.

Get the book here!

 

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