Throughout the year we devote most of the space on our blog to discussions about writing. But like most writers, I'm also an avid reader. Occasionally, I hear a novelist or editor say they don't have time to read fiction, and honestly, I don't get it. I know time is precious, but I'd give up an hour (or more) of sleep a night before I'd give up reading fiction. It's the nightcap I look forward to. In 2009, I began keeping a log of the novels I read throughout the year. So far in 2010 I've read 52 novels. The total will probably be close to 60 before the year is through. Plus I read all the entries for our Audience with an Agent Contest, and judged 21 entries for the ACFW Genesis Contest. That doesn't count the non-fiction books I read, or the books on the craft of writing, which I place in a division all their own.
This year I added a grade score to each of the novels I read. Of the 52 novels on my list, 15 received an A, which includes plus and minus; 18 received a B; 9 received a C; 3 received a D; and 7 received "no grade," because, in my mind, anyone who has the tenacity to write a novel and get it published deserves not to get an F, even if I don't care for the book.
So today I'm going to put on my reader's hat and share with you my favorite novels from 2010, those that received an A in my book. I have to start with Where the River Ends by Charles Martin, because it received an A++ from me, as do almost all of his books. Charles is one of my favorite authors, and this is an excellent novel. He's interviewed this month on She Reads, our sister blog. You can read the interviews here, but be sure to scroll all the way down to get all the installments, including a great interview with Charles' wife, Christy.
I'll also add A Conspiracy of Breath by our own Latayne Scott, which also received an A++ from me. Sorry, it's not yet published. (Don't mean to tease.) The others I'll list alphabetically by author:
Try Darkness by James Scott Bell
What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (read 2 x in 2010; gave it an A both times ; )
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
The Sea Wolf by Jack London (I've read at least 5 x over the years)
To Dance in the Desert by Kathleen Popa (3rd time)
The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers (3rd time)
They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti (2nd time; 1st time I had the privilege to read an endorser's copy)
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2nd time)
Some Wildflower in My Heart by Jamie Langston Turner
On my wish list for 2011: (believe me, this list is only in its infant stages)
Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer
Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth
Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs (loved his Bug Man series)
Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello
Listen by Rene Gutteridge
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Resurrection in May by Lisa Samson
Anything by the amazing women I blog with
The last page of my WIP
So what about you? What were your favorite novels in 2010? And what title/author would you add to your wish list?
As a thank you for your invaluable contribution to the discussions here, I'd like to offer Every Good & Perfect Gift, Lying on Sunday, and/or A Heavenly Christmas in Hometown for $8 each between now and December 15. Email me through my website if you'd like to place an order.