Friday, December 31, 2010

My Favorite Reads of 2010

OK, everyone else is doing this today, so why shouldn't I? 2010 wasn't a great reading year for me in terms of quantity, but in quality there were some high points. (Most, but not all, of these books were published in 2010.)

My Favorite Novels of 2010:

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler (contemporary fiction). Like all of Tyler's novels, this is a deceptively simple story with characters who linger with the reader.

Secrets of the Tudor Court by D. L. Bogdan. A first novel about Mary Fitzroy, Duchess of Richmond, and her relationship with her father, Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk. I found this novel to be a haunting one, and I especially liked the character of Norfolk, a figure who could have easily been treated as a cardboard villain but came across as complex and even somewhat sympathetic. I'm looking forward to Bogdan's upcoming novel about Mary's parents.

Mary the Queen and Bloody Mary by Hilda Lewis. The second and the third novels in a trilogy about Mary I, these books are an excellent and insightful psychological portrait of England's first queen regnant.

My Favorite Nonfiction of 2010

Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams.

We Two by Gillian Gill.

Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock.

Elizabeth's Women by Tracy Borman.

Catherine of Aragon by Giles Tremlett.

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen.

All of these were exceptionally well written and engrossing--proof that nonfiction can be as page-turning as fiction in the right hands.

Books I Didn't Read Straight Through but Enjoyed Dipping Into:

She-Wolves by Helen Castor

The Wars of the Roses by Michael Hicks

Richard III by David Hipshon

Edward II by Seymour Phillips

Favorite New Toy of 2010:

Hands down, Mr. Kindle!


As for my plans for 2011, I'm going to be chugging away on my Tudor novel (it's slow going at the moment, but I take comfort in the fact that The Queen of Last Hopes was slow going at this time last year too, and it's due to be published tomorrow!). I've got some blog posts planned on a variety of subjects, including Guildford Dudley, Elizabeth Woodville's son the Marquis of Dorset, the will of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and more, so keep stopping by!

I hope all of you have a great 2011, and that the New Year is especially good for those of you who have had a rough time during 2010. I've never been the best at offering comfort and advice, but my thoughts have been with you.

Happy New Year!

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Happy New Year to you as well! I really enjoyed looking up this list of books and adding a few to my wishlist - although the Publisher's Weekly review had a bit of a scathing ending to it. The topic does sound interesting, however, so I plan to go ahead and read it!

I attribute my lack of creativity at this time of year to all the hype and then let down after all of the hectic activity, so hopefully your muse will begin to visit you again once the dust settles a bit.

Svea ~Muse in the Fog said...

Have a wonderful New Year! I hope 2011 is filled with some amazing experiences and all around happiness :)

Ragged Staff said...

Interesting list, Susan. I hope you have a great year as well. And you know, it's often the people who feel they're not good at offering comfort and support who do it best! I'm sure you'd be surprised to know how important you've been to me this year. And as I'm positively hopeless at expressing appreciation, I'll leave it at that. :-D

Anerje said...

Happy New year Susan! Erm, 'Secrets of the Tudor Court' didn't make it anywhere near to my list of recommendations, and that's all I'll say :>

Marie said...

Happy New Year to you, Susan... I LOVED TQOLH so I have no doubt you'll be more than fine with your Tudor novel in progress.. I have to agree with you on your picks, of the ones I had read.
Borman's was my fave of 2009 since I had read it earlier.. and I also enjoyed Whitelock's book this year.
Bogdan's was a fave of 2010 for me as well.
I hope to read Reisen's someday, and I used to love Anne Tyler's books many moons ago; I may have to revisit her.
Thanks for your Faves post, it is always interesting to see what our own fave authors are recommending!

ashleyjanik said...

Hi Susan! I am a big fan of your work, and couldn't agree with you more on your list of favorite novels for 2010! Especially the non-fiction section--yes, it is true, non-fiction truly is just as engrossing and exciting as fiction. I especially liked We Two by Gillian Gill.

I hope that 2011 has been great for you thus far, and I can't wait to read your next piece. Keep up the great work!