Favorite Books of the last decade   2010 - 2019

You know, it's pretty difficult to narrow down favorite reads over TEN years! But, we gave it our best shot. It's kind of fun to go back and review those old lists and be reminded of great books - it's kind of like looking through old picture albums (or at the oldest pics on your phone), a great walk down memory lane. (At the end of each description is TP if it's a Terrie fave and DW if it's a Donna fave.)


It started out as a list in no particular order then we realized that's pretty impossible to navigate, so it's alphabetized by title. Happy book wandering.

our top twenty books of the decade

11/22/63, Stephen King, published 1989, 849 pages  (read 2012)

One of King's best stories, a reimagining of the death of President Kennedy, complete with some unsavory characters and time travel. - TP

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles, published 2016, 496 pages 

A young count is sentenced to house arrest in a tiny attic room within a luxury hotel in Russia. He makes a life for himself and forges friendships and relationships in spite of the restrictions he encounters. - DW

And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini, published 2012, 404 pages  (read 2013)

A fabulous family saga set in Afghanistan. - TP

Ask Again, Yes,  Mary Beth Keane, published 2019, 400 pages  (read 2019)

An amazing, emotional story of two families torn apart by an accidental tragedy and yet love manages to survive. This heartbreaking but heartfelt story tackles some difficult themes: alcoholism, mental illness, forgiveness, broken families.  - TP

Be Frank With Me, Julia Claiborne Johnson, published 2016, 287 pages  

Reclusive literary legend holed up in her Bel Air mansion hires a full-time companion for her eccentric 9-year-old son when she is forced to write another book when she ends up broke. You'll fall in love with Frank (the son)! - DW

Beartown #1, Fredrik Backman, published 2016, 432 pages  (read 2017)

My favorite by Backman to date and possibly my fave of the decade. An unforgettable story of a small town that revolves around its hockey team and what happens when a player is accused of sexual assault. As the town chooses sides, everyone is given a voice and what an amazing voice Backman has. - TP

Brunelleschi's Dome, Ross King, published 2000, 192 pages  (read 2016)

A fabulous nonfiction quick read about the building of the dome of the duomo in Florence, Italy. Over 28 years a single man's vision and inventiveness redefined the rules of architecture in an amazing way. - TP

Doc (#1), Mary Doria Russell, published 2012, 404 pages  (read 2015)  and Epitaph (#2), published 2015, 597 pages  (read 2015)

The well researched and highly entertaining, mostly true, story of the friendship between Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp as you've never read it before. - TP

Dogtripping, David Rosenfelt, published 2013, 278 pages 

A memoir of Rosenfelt and his wife moving their 27 rescue dogs from California to Maine. They have rescued thousands over the past 18 years, all larger dogs (MANY golden retrievers, which are their faves) that are old and/or disabled and giving them happy end-of-life years. It's amazing and inspiring, written with lots of humor.  - DW

Enchantment, Orson Scott Card, published 1999, 422 pages 

A fairy tale that switches between present day and ninth century Russia (evil witch, talking bear), and the man that finds himself living in both worlds and ultimately marries a princess. Very good fantasy!  - DW

Harry's Trees, Jon Cohen, published 2018, 432 pages  (read 2018)

A stellar novel of loss, love, recovery, and making new connections - all among the trees and a with little magical help.  - TP

Kite Runner (The), Kahled Hosseini, published 2003, 371 pages  

An excellent novel of a boy growing up in Afghanistan and then the US and the lives of people around him.  - DW

Midnight Rose (The), Lucinda Riley, published 2013, 496 pages 

Spanning four generations, the story of a 100+ year old Indian woman's life as she reflects on her life, travels, and loves.  - DW

Night Circus (The), Erin Morgenstern, published 2011, 391 pages 

A debut novel, this imaginative story is about a magical circus, love between two young magicians, and how they meet their destinies.  - DW

One Plus One, JoJo Moyes, published 2014, 368 pages 

Struggling, poor mom taking care of a stepson and young daughter who is a math genius meets a wealthy man who has troubles of his own. In a week both of their lives are transformed. I loved this book filled with characters that you care about.  - DW

Pillars of the Earth (The) #1, Ken Follett, published 1989, 976 pages  (read 2010)

Set in rural England in medieval times, the epic novel is ostensibly about the building of a cathedral, but is as much about church corruption, civil war in England, and how people come together in hard times to create something magnificent. - TP

Rod, The Autobiography, Rod Stewart, published 2012,  394 pages  

One of the best autobiographies I've ever read; very funny and honest.  - DW

Secret Place (The) #5 Dublin Squad,Tana French, published 2014, 464 pages  (read 2014)

Set in an all-girls school in Ireland, mischief and murder is afoot and the detectives have to figure out which girls are guilty. Fabulous characters and plotting; can be read as a stand-alone book.  - TP

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts, published 2010, 936 pages  (read 2011)

Loosely based on his life, an Australian escapes prison and goes to India where he lives in a slum and helps out as a doctor, joins the Indian mafia, makes friends, falls in love, gets caught by the authorities and goes to fight in Afghanistan; a good slice-of-cultural-life novel. - TP

Time of Departure, Douglas Schofield, published 2015, 336 pages 

This page-turner debut novel is a mystery about a prosecutor who opens an investigation into a string of abductions that took place before she was born. She meets a retired copy twice her age who uncannily knows much about her and is convinced she can solve the crimes. There are lots of twists as the past / present / future intertwine.  - DW

Honorable mention

Bartender's Tale (The), Ivan Doig, published 2012, 387 pages

Set in Montana, a coming of age story as a bartender dad and his son find their way as the past becomes the present; book is full of colorful characters.  - DW

Cloudstreet, Tim Winton, published     (read 2012)

A family saga set in Australia as a family who has inherited an overly large house take in a God-fearing family as tenants. As the lives of the two families blend over drunkenness, marriage, death and more, the magical house is there to note it all. - TP

Good Guy (The), Dean Koontz, published 2007, 386 pages

A nice guy is mistaken for a contract killer. He tries to stop a killing and falls for the woman/potential victim. The story moves back and forth between them on the run (humor, light romance, heroics) and the killer (really bad guy).  - DW

Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, Gail Caldwell, published 2010, 209 pages

The author's beautifully written, emotional book is about friendship, death, drinking, dogs, and being alone.  - DW

Lion Is In (The), Delia Ephron, published  2012, 304 pages

Fun story of two young girlfriends who pick up an older woman hitchhiking and they all end up stranded in a small town with a circus lion. I absolutely fell in love with Marcel, the lion!  - DW

River (The), Peter Heller, published  2019  (read 2019)

Friendship, adventure, danger from Mother Nature as well as human. A quick but gripping novel that I could NOT put down. - TP

Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (The), David Mitchell, published 2010, 479 pages  (read 2011)

An epic historical novel about the Dutch East Indies Trading Co settlement in 1800s Japan. An unassuming bookkeeper travels to Japan intending to earn enough money to marry but in the corrupt and confusing settlement, falls in love with a Japanese midwife and trouble ensues. - TP

Copyright Information

© Bookshelf Journeys, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terrie Purkey and Bookshelf Journeys with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.   2019

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